I’ll Really Start Scrimping — Soon

Sure, consumers are economizing. But if you doubt their hearts are in it, a new Information Resources Inc. report will support your suspicions.

One part of the polling (fielded in March) listed money-saving actions people might take and asked whether they’d done each on their most recent shopping trip and/or would do so in the coming year. Sixty-three percent said they’d brought coupons along on their last trip to the store — but significantly more, 82 percent, said they’ll do so in the coming year. There was a similar gap between those saying they’d stocked up on sale items on their last trip and those saying they’ll do so in the coming year (57 percent vs. 75 percent).

The pattern was repeated with respect to buying brands other than one’s usual choice because they were on sale (37 percent last trip, 50 percent coming year) and buying store brands to save money (44 percent last trip, 52 percent coming year).

One moral to be drawn from these numbers: More than a year into the recession, strict economizing seems to remain more an intention than an unvarying habit for a significant number of consumers.