Mindful Spending - Good for Consumers, Bad for Retailers: WSL  7/21/2016


The improved economy has enabled many consumers to feel more financially secure and has increased their willingness to shop. However, retailers, from mass to luxury, continue to struggle with store traffic and sales, according to WSL Strategic Retail’s 15th biennial How America Shops MegaTrends research study, titled, "Buying Happiness."

“The reason why retail sales growth continues to be challenging is that American shoppers are now spending differently based on a new set of priorities,” said Wendy Liebmann, WSL’s CEO and Chief Shopper. “They want to be more financially responsible, lead a less stressful life and spend more time with family. This is US retail’s new competition for dollars.”

This study reveals that Americans are now more interested in shopping at retailers that satisfy their new priorities, and that make them feel good and smart about spending. WSL’s results challenge traditional consumerism:

  • 55% women say their #1 spending priority is paying off debt, followed by saving (48%), then vacations (35%).
  • Shoppers are now simplifying their everyday routines which is impacting their spending: 8 in 10 said they are simplifying how they take care of their homes, and are making easier meals, 7 in 10 are adopting simpler beauty routines, 2 out of 3 are staying home more, 6 in 10 are spending less time shopping, and half say they are are cutting back on social media. 
“Americans across demographics are not spending as they did on traditional categories and in retailers as they have in the past”, says Candace Corlett, WSL’s president. “They are buying happiness rather than buying more stuff. That is especially true of millennials.

According to the study, the Top 10 “feel good” retailers rated by shoppers were (in descending order): Amazon, Publix supermarkets, Victoria’s Secret, Costco, Sephora, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Ulta, Aldi, and Bath & Body Works.

This study, conducted as a nationwide online survey of 1,700 shoppers, is an instrumental tool for companies to understand shoppers’ attitudes and behaviors. It analyzes consumer demographics behind spending and what drives people to purchase, and where.

Click here to download the Buying Happiness Report Preview.

To learn more about How America Shops MegaTrends 2016, or to speak to Wendy Liebmann or Candace Corlett, contact gsimmons@wslstrategicretail.com

About WSL
WSL arms retailers, manufacturers and brands with the tools required to stay ahead of the market and motivate shoppers to purchase. The company tracks the mindset, attitude and behavior that shape shopper trends, and predicts how they transform brands and retailers throughout the U.S. and globally. For more information, visit www.wslstrategicretail.com

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