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America's Research Group Reports On The State of the Reluctant American Shopper

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With back-to-school shopping now in full swing during August, American shoppers revealed money-saving shopping habits and views about their economic health in the latest BeemerReport.com survey conducted by America’s Research Group (ARG):

  • Consumers continue to be very sales driven with 74.3% saying they watch for more sale ads by their favorite stores.  That is up from 72.4% in a survey conducted in May 2010 and 67.5% in March,
  • Over half of consumers (52.2%) also said that they only shop when there is a really big deal being advertised.  This is up from May (45.5%) and March (48.9%),
  • When asked how to describe themselves, 27.1% of consumers said that due to bills and debt they have cut back on spending, up from 24.8% in May.

“Consumers are still very reluctant to revert to old buying habits or to shop with any enthusiasm,” said consumer trend expert C. Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of ARG.

Other consumer-spending trends of the past months are holding with 15.9% not seeing much in the stores they want to buy (up just slightly from 15.5% in May) and 24.7% wanting to buy only when they see items on sales at 40% to 50% off (similar to 24.4% in May).

Also, 17.0% of consumers have postponed or delayed a purchase of $500 or more in the past month.  In July 2009 when the economy was very bad, 18.8% had delayed a $500 purchase, only slightly higher than the figure this July.

Even though consumers put 60% or more of their income tax refunds on bills and debt, 33.4% say their family’s current debt level is not a problem.  That number is up slightly from 32.0% in March, a figure that should have dropped due to the billions of dollars paid on bills and debts.

“I am very surprised that consumers view their debt levels in the same way after putting so much money from the tax refunds to paying bills and debts,” said Beemer.  “As few consumers are seeing any economic recovery locally, 37.1% are reluctant to spend their hard-earned dollars,” he added.

The survey consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews conducted July 5 to 8, 2010 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC.  The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%.

BeemerReport.com, a largely video-based website, features constantly updated poll data.  The site includes a minimum of 10 new research findings per month on a variety of topics.  Beemer is one of the nation’s foremost experts in consumer behavior.  Known for his detailed reports and honest opinion, Beemer is frequently quoted by major broadcast and print media.

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