"PAYBACK Consumer Monitor" – consumers even more price-conscious

Huge cutbacks on furniture, consumer electronics, DIY and clothing

Second survey shows crisis has changed consumer behaviour – huge cutbacks on furniture, consumer electronics, DIY and clothing – more spent on travel and household appliances

Munich – The PAYBACK marketing platform has followed up its initial survey in February 2009 with a further survey among its members to ascertain to what extent they have been affected by the economic crisis and to determine their resultant purchasing behaviour. The "PAYBACK Consumer Monitor" in July shows that the more than 2,700 customers participating in the survey have become much more price-conscious over recent months. Sectors such as consumer electronics, furnishings, DIY, clothing and footwear have seen a further slump in sales. Only travel and household appliances have bucked the trend, with sales up on the February level. "Companies operating in at-risk sectors have to understand that they must do more than apply traditional marketing techniques such as flyers or classical advertising," explains Burkhard Graßmann, management spokesman for PAYBACK. "Relevant offers and targeted communication are needed", he adds.

Overall, the number of respondents fearing for their jobs is slightly higher than in the February survey. Major investments are being postponed and hopes of the situation stabilising quickly have dwindled significantly. PAYBACK’s "Consumer Monitor" differentiates between four target groups: "Crisis deniers", "Crisis resistors", "Smart shoppers" and "Crisis victims". There have been major shifts in these groups since the beginning of 2009.

Whilst the group of "Crisis deniers" (do not feel threatened by the crisis and even see it as an opportunity for business) has shrunk from 22.4% in February to 16.9%, the proportion of "Crisis resistors" (the crisis represents a threat to business and others but not to me personally) has increased from 4.9% to 24.8%. Looking at the purchasing patterns of these two groups, even "Crisis deniers" are now more aware of the amounts they purchase – but overall their purchasing behaviour is still stable. "Crisis resistors" meanwhile are not restricting their purchases to the same extent as in February. It is now clearer to them whether or not their particular sector and thus their own job is at risk.

The proportion of "Smart shoppers" (shop at discount chains and local stores, use bonus schemes) – still the largest group of PAYBACK customers in the first survey – has fallen from 30.4% in February to a current level of 27.9%. This group has become more cautious still and is even more aware of prices and the amounts they purchase.

The results of the survey for the fourth target group, the "Crisis victims" (see the financial crisis as a major, existential threat, fear for their jobs, are cutting back wherever possible) are alarming. This group has grown by 2 percentage points to 30.3%. Crisis victims are cutting back even further and are extremely price-conscious for all product groups.

"While there is constant migration between the target groups where consumer behaviour is unstable, the personal situation of those in the segments with more stable behaviour has become clearer over recent months", says Graßmann. "Our Consumer Monitor helps the affected retailers identify actual consumer needs and specific situations, and respond accordingly", he concludes.

About the PAYBACK Consumer Monitor:
PAYBACK is conducting comprehensive surveys among its members at regular intervals to enable its partner companies to press ahead with effective marketing campaigns, even during times of economic crisis. The "PAYBACK Consumer Monitor" is thus a dynamic tool providing information on the attitudes, concerns and purchasing behaviour of customers during times of economic crisis. It opens up a new, flexible segmentation approach for all the marketing activities of PAYBACK and its partners. Companies can target the different "crisis types" directly and adapt their promotion strategies and range of products according to demand – for instance by strengthening their store brand strategy, offering special discounts or launching voucher campaigns.