Shifting Consumer Responses – July 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of Euromonitor International’s global consumer tracker designed to help you keep in touch with consumer responses to the recession all over the world and more crucially to map signs of recovery via shifting consumer purchasing behaviours and attitudes in 50 developed and developing countries as they emerge.

We explore the latest news within consumer themes including the newest thrift news, shifting consumer loyalty and downsizing and the extent to which consumers are trading up or back to normal.

THRIFT UPDATE/FRUGALISTA NEWS

Expensive medicines lead Mexican consumers to explore traditional alternatives

A survey conducted during early 2011 by the Mexican Health Foundation has found that Mexicans tend to be very different from their Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) peers in terms of their healthcare habits. They tended to pay much more for medicines and often lacked adequate insurance, which reduced their consumption and made them more inclined to resort to traditional healers and remedies. The report found medicines in Mexico were priced at just over twice the OECD average.

Kiwi consumers urged to shop around for cheaper electricity

A new government campaign launched in New Zealand this month is encouraging consumers to use the Internet to snap up the best deals, particularly for utilities. According to the Electricity Authority of New Zealand, the average family could make savings of at least NZ$150 (US$122) a year on their electricity bill by shopping around. Carl Hansen, chief executive of the Electricity Authority, said 50% of people would change providers if they found a better deal, but many do not know what is available: “It really is up to consumers to shop around and be proactive,” he added.

SHIFTING CONSUMER LOYALTY (TAKING IN LUXURY/BRAND NOSTALGIA/PRIVATE LABEL GOODS)

Chinese travellers seek out duty-free luxury in Hainan

The growing demand for luxury goods in China is increasingly influencing domestic travel patterns. The Labour Day holiday during early May saw a significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists heading to Sanya on the southern island of Hainan, and this was due in part to the opening of a duty-free store selling luxury items. “These tourists prefer to buy products related to their travel needs, such as branded sunglasses, clothes and diving equipment. They cost several hundred yuan less [in Sanya] than if they were to buy in Shanghai,” said Bian Xiang Guo, assistant general manager at travel agency Spring International. Airlines are already increasing flights to Hainan, and travel agencies are tailoring their itineraries to meet the demands of luxury shoppers.

ATTITUDES TO PLASTIC, OTHER FORMS OF CREDIT AND SAVING

Debt repayment a struggle for Poles

A report released in June by Credit Information Bureau (BIK) and the Polish Bank Association (ZBP) has revealed that more than 2.1 million Poles are finding it difficult to meet their loan repayments. It found that the average Pole owes around US$4,977. “Over the past three months, arrears have increased by 6% [in comparison to the three previous months],” Mariusz Hildebrand, head of BIG InfoMonitor said. According to the report, the biggest debtors are men in their thirties in the regions of Mazovian and Silesia.