Buyer Trend Study (2009) from Performics

Last week Performics released findings from an eight month study of consumer behavior which showed that Generations X and Y (consumers age 18-44) were assisting the economic recovery by continuing to splurge on certain types of purchase and looking to the future with optimism.

Performics questioned consumers about their confidence in their economic situation and areas where they may have splurged in 2009. On average, more than half of the respondents think their current household economic situation is the same or better this year compared to their situation a year ago. While consumers cut back on a variety of expenses in 2009, rising consumer confidence throughout the past two months has positively affected reported spending, while the disparity of behaviors and attitudes among age groups has clearly emerged.

"We hoped we would see this positive shift in consumer confidence months ago, and that was part of the reason for Performics' extensive eight-month study of consumer behavior and attitudes during the recession," said Michael Kahn, SVP of Marketing at Performics. "The study's November findings indicate a substantial uptick in positive attitudes, shopping behavior and buying intentions, with younger generations, Gen Y and Gen X, fueling the optimism behind this uptick."

Looking ahead to 2010, Generations X and Y show greater signs of increased spending:

- 18 percent of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more overall in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, vs. 13 percent of those ages 45 and up.

- 24 percent of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more online in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, vs. 10 percent of those ages 45 and up.

"Regardless of who spent money offline or online, consumers were emphatic about the Web's role in helping them make smarter purchase decisions in 2009," added Kahn. "Consumers have long turned to the Internet to check prices and identify the best products to buy and merchants to patronize, but this year's economic situation pushed this practice front and center. As we expected, consumers will gladly conduct some online research to save a few dollars here and there, let alone to save hundreds or thousands on big ticket items."

Online price checking can reduce the likelihood of buyer's remorse for a consumer either by confirming a good deal or identifying a better one, and this rang true for all age groups. When it comes to finding the best deals, nearly half of consumers found the best deals online. In fact, 45 percent of respondents said they found the best deals online in the past month versus only 34 percent of respondents who said they found the best deals in-store.

Also true for all age groups, consumers identified select elements of a website that positively affect their willingness to purchase online. Some of the key factors included free shipping, free returns, home page discounts and consumers generated reviews.