Will consumers become even more frugal post-pandemic?
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Ollie’s, the closeout chain, found 54 percent of Americans consider being called “cheap” a compliment at times and 53 percent are proud of being labeled a bargain hunter.
“We’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love a bargain,” said John Swygert, president and CEO at Ollie’s, in a press release.
The survey comes as the pandemic has seen an extended period of healthy full-price selling across many retail channels due in part to lean inventory levels tied to supply chain disruptions as well as the benefits of federal stimulus funds.
Other surveys have likewise explored whether the pandemic would result in a change in the frugalness many had embraced since the Great Recession.
A survey last December from wealth management company Personal Capital found that many people started to tighten their belts and adopt more frugal habits over the pandemic, whether that was out of necessity due to hardship or out of the fear of the unknown.
By the early months of this year, however, reports arrived that many Americans were finally emerging from the pandemic eager to splurge on everything from travel and sports events to restaurants, especially those able to trim their debt over the last two years amid record low unemployment rates across many states.
Inflationary pressures related to pandemic-driven supply chain disruption, however, have also been leading consumers to restrain spending in other areas.
According to a Forbes Advisor survey that came out in mid-June, a full two-thirds of Americans say they are dipping into their savings as prices for goods and services spike, including 31 percent who have substantially or completely drained their savings.
Jungle Scout’s “Q2 2022 Consumer Trends Report” found 59 percent of consumers buying less expensive brands to cut costs and 48 percent more likely to shop from a brand that has consistently lower prices.
A Washington Post article from June 18 found households cutting back on not only big-ticket purchases, but eating out, vacation plans and routine non-essentials such as manicures and home cleaning appointments amid rising prices and increased recession warnings.
Douglas Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, told the Post, “The consumer is coming under stress.”
- Most Americans are proud to be labeled a ‘Bargain Hunter’ Saying Finding Great Deals is a True Mood Booster – Good News Network/Ollie’s
- Calling all Cheapskates … Ollie’s Wants You! – Ollie’s
- Coinstar Survey Shows Consumers are Developing Good Budgeting and Saving Habits During COVID-19 – Coinstar
- Survey: Have Americans Become More Frugal? – Personal Capital
- 2 Out Of 3 Americans Say They’re Blowing Through Savings to Cope With Inflation — Do This Instead – Forbes
- Report: 59% of U.S. Consumers Are Buying Less Expensive Brands to Combat Inflation – JungleScout
- Americans are starting to pull back on travel and restaurants – The Washington Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think consumers are likely becoming more frugal or less so post-pandemic? Do you see inflation, job/wage growth or some other factor particularly determining whether price-consciousness increases or decreases?