US: Shopping habits to be more balanced in 2010

Environmental and ethical issues will play a large part in rebuilding brands in 2010, a new forecast says, as consumers re-shape their lifestyles following this year's global economic recession.


But if businesses are to rebuild brands through ethical efforts then they will also need to pull out all the stops to gain consumers' trust, since shoppers will demand more proof and results on ethical claims than ever before.


According to Mintel, a balance in both spending and consumption is likely to dominate shopping habits in 2010.


"Balance has become the new mantra," explains Richard Cope, director at Mintel.


"While in 2009, fear played an important role in shaping consumer behaviour, 2010 will see a return of confidence and adaptation to overcome the restraints previously imposed on consumers."


As well as a resolve to learn new skills, Mintel believes shoppers will continue to look for value and savings in 2010.


"Value initiatives are hot" it says, adding that consumers will purchase more expensive products if they are convinced of their value.


But brands that engage their customers also stand to be successful next year even if they're not competing on price - the case in point being that 4m UK shoppers say they now buy fewer, but better quality, clothes.


Mintel also predicts that in 2010, brands will need to be even more accountable, especially as people are tracking more areas of their lives through micro-blogging sites like Twitter.


This also means firms must work harder next year to truly engage, attract and interact with consumers, as media quickly evolves.


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