A new study by Unilever says that consumers are adopting a wide range of measures to cope with recent economic downturns. Among other things, they are looking for more creative approaches in packaging, such as different sizes that sell for less.
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Unilever says the study reveals how different demographic groups will change their shopping habits as belts continue to tighten during challenging economic times.
According to the study, called Winning Shoppers in Turbulent Times – A Unilever Trip Management Report, 30 percent of consumers are eating at home more and eating out less. The report also says that 40 percent of consumers feel worse off than a year ago as they grapple with managing their budgets during uncertain economic times.
“Consumers are clearly feeling the effects of a perfect storm of challenging economic events such as the mortgage crisis, stock market volatility, and rising energy costs,” said Lisa Klauser, Vice President of Consumer and Customer Solutions, Unilever U.S. “They are reacting by taking a new approach to shopping as our study found that quick trips to the grocery store are declining and major stock-up trips that allow consumers to replenish their cupboards for a long period of time are on the upswing.”
The study also showed that consumers would like manufacturers and retailers to be creative in product packaging and sales approaches. There were several shopper preferences including introducing larger pack sizes, smaller package sizes at lower price points, and modestly reduced package sizes with the same price point. The least preferred option – the introduction of slightly lower quality items with the same price point.
“The reality is that consumers still need to feed their families during these tough times,” said Klauser. “The challenge for them is how to get it done in the most economical way possible without sacrificing quality.”