A significant group of consumers, identified as, "recession shoppers," indicated in a recent study that they will do more shopping online this year if their financial situation worsens. They represent 26 percent of the 800 consumers surveyed in a study conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB), a market research and consulting firm. The study was sponsored by LinkShare Corp.
"They see online as part of the solution to the challenges they face right now," said Mark Kirschner, chief marketing officer at LinkShare. This group of recession shoppers consists of consumers who are already heavy Internet users. For example, they are 17 percentage points more likely to research products or services online several times a week than the average consumer surveyed. They are also the most likely group to bank online. A significant 59 percent of them bank on the web. That may be related to their penchant for saving money, said David Ginsberg, president of PSB.
The survey suggests that both frequent online shoppers and the newly dubbed recession shoppers are receptive to promotions. More than two thirds of recession shoppers and 79 percent of weekly web shoppers said they had purchased something online they wouldn't have otherwise, because of a coupon or discount.
Of recession shoppers, Ginsberg said, "This is a group that's already conducting a tremendous amount of research online. There's just one last step to get them to purchase, and coupons are a tremendous way to reach out to them." Recession shoppers tend not to be affluent. Their average annual household income is $63,000, compared with $77,000 for those who shop online every week. More than half are under the age of 45, and 56 percent do not have a college degree.
One fifth of the recession shoppers and 18 percent of weekly shoppers plan to purchase more apparel online in 2009 than in the past. This compares with one percent of all those surveyed. In the computers and electronics category, 11 percent of recession shoppers and 17 percent of weekly shoppers said they will buy more online this year, while the average shoppers' purchasing in those categories will be flat.
The category most likely to suffer this year is jewelry. Fourteen percent of all those surveyed said they plan to purchase less jewelry online this year. That includes seven percent of weekly shoppers and 12 percent of recession shoppers.
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