Ten Consumer Trends That May Hurt Your Business

A recent Harris poll confirms that Americans are doing whatever it takes to cut back on spending. For some that means forgoing name brands for generics, for others it means letting their hair get a little longer before having it cut.

In any case, here are a few of the consumer trends to note for your small business. These trends may help explain why business is still slower than you’d like. You may even get ideas about how to cut a few expenses of your own.

Ten Consumer Spending Trends…

1.  Almost two-thirds of U.S. (65%) adults say they are purchasing more generic brands to save money

2.  Almost half of Americans (48%) say they are brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it to save money

3.  Two in five U.S. adults each say they have switched to refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottles of water (39%)

4.  Two in five U.S. adults are going to the hairdresser less often (38%)

5.  One-quarter (24%) have cut down on dry cleaning

6.  Three in ten U.S. adults (31%) have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions and just under one in five (17%) have cancelled a newspaper subscription

7.  One in five Americans (22%) have cancelled or cut back cable television service while an additional 22% say they have considered doing so

8.  One in five Americans (22%) have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning, while 12% have begun carpooling or using mass transit

9.  15% have cancelled their landline service and are only using cell phones

10. Cell phone usage is also changing as 15% say they have changed or cancelled cell service to save money

Understand the trends. Listen to your consumers. And, create a plan to keep your business competitive even in these challenging times.

What happens in the future with these small changes will be interesting to watch. It could be that once these numbers start going in the other direction, the economy has turned the corner. Or, as some economists are saying, the culture of saving and cutting back will remain after the economic recovery.

Note- The results referenced above are from The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

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