Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Consumer Fatigue

"Consumers are fragile, fatigued and fed up," said Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS. Global Insight, citing wage stagnation, food inflation and high gas prices.[1] 
I found this quote in the Wall Street Journal and it pretty well sums up what all consumers are probably feeling right now. This is particularly hard to hear when you’re in the jewelry business.

No one wants to hear that consumers are suffering from a new frugal reality, but when consumers start cutting back on food, gas and other necessities, it really makes jewelry look like a nonessential. Some of the statistics stated include 75% of shopper use a list; this is up from 45% in 2008. I find it hard to believe that there is a 30% increase in shopping with a list since I have always shopped with a list. I don’t want to forget something that I need and the best way to do this is with a list.

The article also states that 20% of grocery sales are private brands, now I’ve always shopped private brands and I only pick the name brand if the private brand turns out to be a dud. While 44% of America is now shopping at bulk food stores, I’ve found them to be a boon for those items we use over and over again. I guess what I’m trying to say is my spending habits have not changed considerably, it appears that the average consumer is now getting in line with my spending habits. 

While many are changing their spending habits due to a job loss or stagnant pay, I’ve always been a little frugal. To me it has always been about value. Am I getting sufficient bang for my buck? This is particularly important when considering purchasing jewelry. Jewelry is a personal purchase; we buy jewelry for a variety of different reasons. Jewelry purchases are significant because of an emotional involvement. When purchasing jewelry for a gift, we want to make sure the recipient will love it. When purchasing jewelry for ourselves, we want to love it. Whether it’s a splurge to make us feel better, an apology gift or a happy anniversary, there is an emotional attachment to each piece.

If we purchase a piece of jewelry and it is something we love, we will wear it forever, this makes us feel good, this is good value. While I am not advocating the complete disregard for a budget, one should know when to make that special jewelry purchase. Besides, if we shop carefully enough each month those savings add up. After all, why shouldn’t a girl have an entry in her budget for jewelry?


[1] Ann Zimmerman, Shoppers Unable To Trade Back Up, Wall St. J., Oct. 4, 2011, at B1.

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