IRI Consumer Connect Survey Finds Uncertainty About Presidential Election Leaves Consumers Feeling Cautious as Holiday Shopping Season Approaches

IRI Survey Points to Upcoming Holiday Sales Remaining Steady Compared
to Last Year

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IRI® today announced third quarter results from its IRI
Consumer Connect survey uncovering that nearly two-thirds of
U.S. consumers believe their financial health is poised to deteriorate
in 2017 regardless of who wins the presidential election this year.
Despite relentless campaigning, this remains consistent with their
second quarter sentiment. This financial uncertainty is setting the
stage for an upcoming holiday shopping season in which 55 percent of all
consumers surveyed say they will spend the same as last year this
holiday season.

“The uncertainty associated with the presidential election, particularly
this unconventional election, is coinciding with the holiday shopping
season, adding to concerns about keeping the financial ship afloat
during and after the transition in the Oval Office,” said Susan Viamari,
vice president of Thought Leadership for IRI. “As a result, consumers
are really taking a cautious approach to the holidays this year.”

The survey reveals that 47 percent of consumers already feel that their
household finances are strained, and two-thirds of these people feel
things will get worse before they get better. As a result, 54 percent of
those with strained household finances will spend less on 2016 holiday
shopping than they did in 2015, and 34 percent with strained finances
say they will spend the same.

Celebrating With Restraint

Consumers still want to make a splash with holiday celebrations;
however, the general inclination this year is to put on the best meal
possible while keeping costs down. With this less-is-more approach,
pre-planning and deal seeking will play a major role in money-saving
efforts. Among those feeling their household finances are tight this
season:

  • Holiday Dining: 41 percent will cut back on food and beverage
    spending, and 34 percent will keep the budget the same as last year.
    For the general population, 24 percent will cut back, while 57 percent
    will spend the same on food and beverages.
  • List Making: 73 percent will prepare a shopping list at home
    before shopping compared to 69 percent of overall shoppers.
  • Coupon Clipping: 61 percent will clip coupons from circulars
    and newspapers, 44 percent from email and 16 percent from social
    networking sites compared to 55 percent, 37 percent and 14
    percent of the overall population, respectively.
  • Deal Seeking: 31 percent will take advantage of promotions
    found online compared to 28 percent of the overall population.
  • Brand Buying: 41 percent will rely on private label solutions
    to save money compared to 35 percent of the overall population.

Tapping Into Opportunities

“Even though many consumers will be keeping a close eye on holiday
expenses this year, there are still opportunities for retailers and
manufacturers to drive volume and margin,” added Viamari. “Finding these
opportunities, though, is all about getting granular. Retailers really
need to invest to know their customers and personalize their offerings.”

By targeting deals and messaging, retailers and manufacturers can dial
in on shoppers to drive basket size and margin this holiday season. By
addressing programs to high-potential shopper segments, retailers will
up the odds of winning:

  • Bulk Purchasing: 25 percent of those with strained finances say
    they will purchase products in bulk this holiday season to save money.
    Select shopper segments are even more inclined to make bulk purchases:
    households with kids (36 percent), shoppers ages 18-34 (37 percent)
    and Hispanics (41 percent).
  • Impulse Buying: 13 percent of those with strained finances will
    buy additional/unplanned items upon seeing in-store deals compared to
    17 percent of the overall population. Those more likely to buy on
    impulse this season: households earning $55,000-$99,000 (21 percent),
    households earning $100,000-plus (20 percent) and singles (21 percent).
  • Gourmet Splurging: 2 percent of those with strained finances
    will buy gourmet/premium items compared to 9 percent of the overall
    population. Meanwhile, 11 percent of younger boomers, 10 percent of
    males and 12 percent of white-collar workers will splurge on gourmet
    items as they prepare their holiday celebrations this season.

“Retailers and CPG manufacturers really need to be savvy this holiday
season,” concludes Viamari. “We are firmly planted in a time of change,
and consumers are concerned about what the new year will bring, so they
are adjusting their budgets accordingly. Retailers and manufacturers
that help shoppers keep these holiday resolutions will enjoy the
bounties of the season.”

About the IRI Consumer Connect Survey

The IRI Consumer Connect™ survey is a new quarterly survey
designed to gauge consumers’ financial confidence and understand how
their financial situations are impacting the way they shop for, purchase
and consume CPG products. It is an online survey of more than 2,200
nationally representative respondents. The Q3 2016 survey was fielded
the first half of October. For more information about customizing the
research for a particular category or industry, please contact IRIMarketing@IRIworldwide.com.

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and
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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
E-mail: Shelley.Hughes@IRIworldwide.com
Phone:
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