Archive for January, 2009
I’ve searched a bit to find the key consumer trends for 2009. You know it’s a different kind of year when any projections prior to December really don’t cut it. The economic downturn, the depressing Holiday retail season and the Obama election all mean pre-November trends don’t cut it. So here are my predictions on what consumers are thinking, born from a sense that these trends have come to life since November.
1. I MUST keep my job. It’s the first sentence out of people’s mouth…we are/are not/maybe will have layoffs. As this feeling permeates the workforce, workers are working hard to do a good job, putting in overtime and keenly watching their bosses to gain any info on their own status or the company’s actions in this tough market. If a family had one family member in the workforce, more members will start searching for part-time work or second jobs. More teens will enter the workforce earlier. For Marketers: low cost fast food options will still do great… as people work longer hours they justify the costs. Anyone not working will help bring low cost, homemade meals back in fashion… including the teens in the household. Cooking classes will do well … from basic to ethnic cooking, as these skills are woefully inept across the country. Low cost re-entry services and re-training have a heyday.
2. We gotta pay the mortgage and eat. Budgeting is in full swing, making sure each month that there’s money for these essentials. Economical meals are flying off the shelf…like $1.25 Totino’s Pizza for that always hungry pre-teen boy. Home cooking is back and entertaining turns homeward, with potlucks back in style. For Marketers: Messages around value meals abound. Homemade crowd-pleasers will extend beyond the Super Bowl. Coupons have a resurgence. Food budgeting is in the forefront, with Wal-Mart SuperCenters and ALDIs doing extremely well.
3. The only extras are for the kids… except I can’t control my husband, Women are taking charge, saving more and cutting back on extras to make the mortgage payments. Their nurturing drive means the kids’ needs, especially around food and education support, will be met and possibly then some. But Moms own needs will fall by the wayside. The extras may keep coming for the Dad …it’s hard for him to give up some of his favorite toys and experiences. For Marketers: women’s luxuries go in the tank. Kids little luxuries will be fine, especially around food (lunch box treats, for example) and education-related activities. The Dad splurges… well, let’s all watch and see the power struggle in the couple over the budget cuts.
4. Obama Effect #1 – You say Hope but I say HELP! Americans want the Hope President to turn into the HELP ME President. Bailouts have demonstrated that the Government will pick and choose who to help…why not us? Hope abounds with the Inauguration festivities fast approaching. With the pain at the individual level, there’s a search for the personal help the government can bring. The Obama presidency is fueling this with the new economic package, which Americans believe will be delivered immediately, if not in his inaugural speech. For Marketers: the basics still apply, but even more so – the big spending times will be on the 15th and last day of the months. Capture opportunities of when the government adds money to consumers’ pockets.
5. Obama Effect #2 – I too can change. For the first time we have a presidential role model who takes being in shape and being technologically savvy seriously. We’re seeing these image images everyday of a fit, tech savvy nerdy celebrity. And we just lived through making major changes to our driving habits…and we haven’t gone back. There are daily reminders and a sense that I can change for the better. For Marketers: Health claims will keep having high growth. The focus will grow on obesity and the twin disease of diabetes. Brand messages supporting personal change will show up beyond the two week long New Year’s diet season (it’s not just for Special K anymore!) Adoption and use of tech tools by the 45 + crowd will grow, not to the level of the younger crowd but usage and competence will increase. Use tech marketing tools to reach a key target group!
Let’s keep watching… it’s a roller coaster out there!