Consumers - stricken by rising food and commodity prices, high unemployment and slow wage growth - are finding it a challenge to meet the spending numbers noted as recently as last year. The result may take a toll on retailers too, as they are forced to take on novel pricing strategies in response to their own cost increases.
The most recent Accenture Pricing Shopping Survey found more than four out of five consumers in the U.S. are concerned about food prices going up this year. More than half claim they've been eating out less often over the past year. Another 37 percent of respondents have opened memberships with daily deal websites to augment their savings.
"Understanding how different types of customers will behave for each category is going to be the key to pricing consumer goods," said Tom Jacobson, senior executive of pricing and profitability strategy at Accenture. "Although rising food prices have outpaced wage increases, more than a third of the survey respondents have not altered their food-buying patterns."
Changing how consumers shop and what they buy may be one of the most impenetrable barriers facing retailers and marketers, Jacobson added.