Shoppers Globally Reduce Spending
Shoppers' preference for less expensive and store-branded products is going global with the deepening recession.
A new Nielsen Co. gauge of consumer behavior across 11 of the world's largest economies found consistent shifts in consumer activity soon after a country's economy turned down.
The research firm's findings suggest that consumers globally are rapidly adopting less expensive brands.
'Consumers can be pretty gradual in their change of behavior,' said James Russo, Nielsen's vice president of marketing.
'But what this recession has showed us is that consumers are making changes quickly.'
Spain, whose economy has been hit hard by a housing downturn, showed a particularly sharp change between December and January in consumers quickly cutting back on spending as the recession worsened.
Globally, the study found consumers cutting back on purchases and moving to store brands as confidence weakened. They also showed signs of cutting back on the number of trips to stores, showing moderate signs of stocking up on products they need.
But parts of the world have been slow to shift toward store brands and cheaper products. Japanese consumers, for instance, have long maintained a strong brand mentality that put private-label products at a disadvantage, said Frank Badillo, senior retail economist at Retail Forward, a consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio.
Chinese consumers also showed a preference for name brands given the questions about product safety.
'Brands are looked on as a source of credibility -- it's quality, it's safe and it's going to last for me,' Mr. Badillo said.
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