Recession and Consumer Spending Behavior

A lot is discussed now-a-days about India being geared up for economic downturn and consumer spending not observing any major shift as compared to its earlier pattern. Well, to some extent it’s true and being a marketer myself I understand that one needs to be optimistic about the market and consumer purchasing power but when I think of myself as a consumer I do feel that my spending behavior has undergone some major changes in last 3-4 months. Call it the effect of this phrase “onset of downturn” or the effect of phrase “save cash for those bad times” I have definitely changed my behavior towards lots of purchase decision which were not thought through earlier by me or my husband. In fact some of these were never so called purchase decisions rather they used to be just one of those impromptu expenses. But now we do think before spending on such things and I can observe a similar pattern amongst my peer circle as well. As a salaried class consumer, here is a list of my top five curtailed expenses which used to be regular affair earlier:

  • Dine Outs: Oh I really don’t have a count of the earlier frequency of our dine outs and most of such expenses being absolutely unplanned and ad lib. But now with our saving belt on suddenly we found ourselves questioning, do we really need to eat out? Shall we really spend this X amount of money for a casual meal for two? Not only these occasional questioning is helping us keeping a check on our wallet rather its having the same effect on our weighing scale too J. Frequency has gone down to absolutely a countable figure now.
  • Movie / Entertainment: Considering the kind of movie buff we both are, all weekends used to be movie outings for us in some or other multiplex. It didn’t matter which movie and what star-cast, we had to see some movie in multiplexes. But then we started wondering, do we really need to see Yuvraaj in theater by spending X amount of money…nah not worth it. Let it get released on DVD. Now not every weekend is spent at multiplexes 🙂, some of it is at home with DVDs and books.
  • Accessories / Apparel: Since, I am the only woman consumer in my household and hence this one is more applicable to me and not my husband. I used to go for this sudden splurge on accessories like bags, shoes etc. but now this has come down to a large extent, thanks to my “save cash” mission.
  • Air Travel: Yeah this one has really-really come down – ours and our families’ personal trips through flights. Now either it’s low cost flights or if it’s not much of a distance then trains!
  • Household: Oh yes, now we do look at those newspaper inserts announcing sale on monthly groceries or those freebies at A,B,C retail stores!

Hmmm, so at least we have become conscious of our expenses because of the economic environmental effect. I think we have definitely managed to come down by 10-15% in our regular expenses. How about you as a consumer? Do you think your spending behavior has undergone some change and if yes, which are the key ones? Any experience / suggestion as a consumer to save cash is more than welcome on this space 🙂.