Forever Frugal? Survey Confirms Persistent Frugality

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50% of Americans had reduced their electronics and apparel expenditures in the past 12 months, according to a survey conducted by management consulting firm, Booz & Company. They sum up their findings saying that "the impact of the brutal recession of 2008-2009 has resulted in lasting changes in consumer behaviors, and disruptive changes in the consumer goods and retail landscapes." they go on to suggest that these, "self-reported changes in consumer behavior, even among wealthy consumers, appear to be sticky." Concluding;

"The frugal consumer is here to stay."

What is exactly is a frugal consumer?

Well, "Frugality is the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal." according one definition used by Wikipedia.

"practising economy; living without waste; thrifty" are the phrases used by to describe frugal.

But we prefer the more positive spin employed by who suggest, "Frugal Living is all about living a simpler less wasteful life whilst keeping more money in your pocket."

Either way, this survey of 2,000 US consumers implies that frugality is likely to become more entrenched in American society than it was just a few years back. But only in some buying categories. For example, over 20% said they'd increase their apparel, footwear and electronics purchasing in 2011 compared to the 2009 and 2010. Apparently in trading down price or brand in these categories has not been a satisfactory result for many survey respondents. However, in other categories 'consumers increasingly feel "unpunished" by buying private label and will continue to increase purchases of these items.'

As Booz and Company point out,

"The longer these behaviors, which were initially born of necessity, persist, the more likely they are to accelerate and perhaps become permanent, particularly in those areas where consumers feel they have little to lose."

The complete survey results are available a PDF download. Forever Frugal?
2010 U.S. Consumer Survey Confirms Persistent Frugality

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