Walker Smith writes:

A ‘new normal’ is emerging among consumers in the wake of the financial crisis and the recession:  ‘considered consumption’. This trend, which we noted last year, has now been reaffirmed by our latest Global MONITOR survey, which has just been released. One of the consequences is that the focus on price which was so strong immediately following the financial crisis has started to weaken.

Two data points stand out. The first is that 53% of consumers – taking a global average across all 20 countries – agree that ‘price is more important to me than brand names’ (down from 59% in 2009). The second is that 39% agree that ‘it’s best to buy famous brand names because you can rely on their quality’ (up from 34% in 2009).

Although these changes are small, they are notable. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that consumers who are still tightening their belts also want the reassurance of name-brand quality.

And while there’s been a lot of talk about consumer frugality, what’s actually happening is that they’re practising prioritization. Consumers will stand up for the things that matter to them. But brands need to play their part as well. One of the other trends tracked by Global MONITOR is about interest in brands that practice social responsibility or deliver innovative wellness benefits. That’s been climbing, albeit slowly, over the past three years.

Global MONITOR is The Futures Company’s syndicated insights service. It encompasses an annual quantitative global survey of more than 27,000 consumers in 20 countries; the Global Energies, our consumer trends framework; and Global Streetscapes, our interactive database, continually refreshed, of consumer and brand behaviour. For more information, please contact Jennifer Childs in London or Simon Kaplan in the United States.

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