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    Nielsen Report Finds Shoppers Changing Habits due to Gas Prices

    Consumers are looking to limit time behind the wheel.

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- According to a recent research report from The Nielsen Co., parent to Convenience Store News, due to spiking gas prices nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of consumers are reducing their spending, marking an 18 points jump since June 2007 and 14 points over the last six months.

    "With gas prices passing the $4 per gallon mark, consumers are altering their driving and spending habits at dramatic levels," Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer and Shopper Insights for The Nielsen Co., said in a released statement. "While discretionary spending is likely to be a challenge for most low and middle income shoppers, even affluent consumers are looking for ways to make their dollars go further."

    Nielsen's latest research concludes that 78 percent of polled consumers are combining shopping trips (78 percent), with 52 percent cutting down on eating out.

    The report, which polled approximately 50,000 Americans, found that increased fuel prices are leading to an increase in customers using coupons with 32 percent of respondents saying yes to clipping. This marks a 25 increase from December 2007. Nearly 30 percent of those polled said they are combining shopping trips by frequenting stores offering a wide range of products.

    "Consumers tell us that they are using more coupons, an opportunity for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers to align coupon and other promotions in stores serving consumers feeling the greatest impact from high gas prices," Hale said in a released statement.

    With no relief in sight, retailers are encouraged to be creative and try new ways to gain market share. "Swings in fuel supply will continue to have a tremendous impact on consumer shopping and buying behavior," Hale said in released report.

    He continued: "Retailers can take a creative approach to promotions, pricing and partnerships, such as aligning themselves with gas retailers to reward loyal customers with less expensive gas, while manufacturers can minimize the impact of high gas prices by targeting products and advertising around at-home or at-work meals and at-home entertaining."

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