Consumers still wary about economic outlook, NPD reports

It appears that a thriftier consumer may be emerging from the recession, according to The NPD Group. A new report by the Chicago-based market research company reveals that many consumers feel their financial situation will not improve or will be worse over the course of the next year. The food and beverage study finds that after two years of cutting corners, consumers have learned to get by with less and say they will continue to practice thriftiness at least for the next six to 12 months and perhaps well beyond that.

“What’s Next on the Road to Recovery,” which explores how consumers’ habits related to food and beverage purchasing and usage have been affected by the recession, finds that nearly one in five consumers expect to be worse off 12 months from now than they are today, and half of all consumers expect their financial situation to be the same as it is today. Looking ahead, nine out of 10 consumers say they will plan and watch their spending on food and beverages outside the home.

“There are encouraging signs that the economy may be heading for recovery, but according to our findings, consumers, especially those with lower incomes, continue to struggle,” says Dori Hickey, director of product development at NPD and author of the report. “Most consumers have unquestionably felt the sting of tough economic times and have cut back on spending and adopted thriftier behaviors; behaviors that may become entrenched the longer the recession continues. Our findings suggest we may be looking at a new ‘normal’.”

Among the thriftier behaviors consumers say they will do more often than now over the next six months are decreasing spending on groceries (especially those with household incomes under $35,000); using coupons for food and beverage items from newspapers or magazines; stocking up on foods and beverages when they are on sale; searching store circulars for low prices on food or beverages that are on sale; buying less expensive brands of foods and beverages; and searching for manufacturer coupons online.

For more information about The NPD Group, visit