TORONTO — That trip to the local restaurant is off the menu for consumers today, as are furnishings and electronics, Empathica reported on Thursday, citing its latest Consumer Insights Panel survey of more than 6,500 U.S. consumers. One-out-of-3 shoppers surveyed reported that the economy is still very much top of mind for them. But "need" items — gas, pharmacy and grocery — are not seeing declines in purchase intent compared to findings from this time the previous year, the report noted.
“The economy is affecting American consumers just as we expected with specific segments continuing to be challenged,” stated Gary Edwards, chief customer officer at Empathica. “The economy as a whole is still on the mend, and although we are starting to see an uptick in the job market, it doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are eager to spend. Uncertainty still remains among consumers with continued caution around spending on nonessentials.”
Survey results show that consumers are cutting the least on gas with nearly 9-out-of-10 consumers spending the same or more. When it comes to grocery, only 1-in-5 consumers reported a spending reduction versus 25% who expect to spend more. The survey also found that 1-in-4 consumers are cutting spending on pharmaceuticals, with 60% spending the same and 15% actually spending more.
Top segments where U.S. consumers are cutting spending include:
Fine dining (71%);
Department stores (55%);
Casual dining (50%);
Home improvement (49%);
Convenience stores (45%);
Quick service/fast food (42%);
Supermarket/grocery (18%); and
Gas stations (16%).
The survey revealed that the to