Executive Briefings

Despite Still-sluggish Economy, Survey Finds Consumer Sentiment Is on Upswing

Five years after the onset of the global recession of 2008-2009, the sluggish pace of recovery and worries over employment and financial security continue to weigh heavily on consumer sentiment in developed economies. Consumers remain highly concerned about their jobs, personal finances, and economic future. Yet amid the lingering angst expressed in The Boston Consulting Group's 2013 Global Consumer Sentiment Survey, there are also encouraging signs.

Consumerism has proved to be remarkably resilient. Yes, people from the U.S. to France to Japan said that they plan to forgo some luxuries, eat out less, and save more. But consumers in the world's richer countries also said that they intend to upgrade their consumption in the product categories that they care about most. Consumers, especially those members of the Millennial generation who are 18 to 34 years old, continue to place a high importance on brands. And they do the same for consumerism: majorities of those surveyed said that buying makes them happy and that spending is good for the economy and society.

Our findings suggest that the fears of a few years ago"”that prolonged economic crisis could permanently scar the consumer psyche and usher in a generation of retrenchment"”have failed to materialize. It is true that consumers in developed economies are still tightening their belts, and we don't expect the retail exuberance of 2006-2007 to return in the near term. But this is a symptom of the present economic condition, not some fundamental shift in peoples' desire to buy or a wholesale rejection of consumerism.

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Keywords:  consumerism patterns, retail growth, consumer confidence, Millennials' buying habits, value chain, retail supply chain

Consumerism has proved to be remarkably resilient. Yes, people from the U.S. to France to Japan said that they plan to forgo some luxuries, eat out less, and save more. But consumers in the world's richer countries also said that they intend to upgrade their consumption in the product categories that they care about most. Consumers, especially those members of the Millennial generation who are 18 to 34 years old, continue to place a high importance on brands. And they do the same for consumerism: majorities of those surveyed said that buying makes them happy and that spending is good for the economy and society.

Our findings suggest that the fears of a few years ago"”that prolonged economic crisis could permanently scar the consumer psyche and usher in a generation of retrenchment"”have failed to materialize. It is true that consumers in developed economies are still tightening their belts, and we don't expect the retail exuberance of 2006-2007 to return in the near term. But this is a symptom of the present economic condition, not some fundamental shift in peoples' desire to buy or a wholesale rejection of consumerism.

Read Full Article


Keywords:  consumerism patterns, retail growth, consumer confidence, Millennials' buying habits, value chain, retail supply chain