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November 29, 2021

Recession side effect: now, we're smarter shoppers

The great thing about humans, the trait that sets us apart, is that we learn.

1345200_sale_signWe learn that stomping a guy with your football cleat isn’t a good idea. We learn that cheating on your boyfriend, then asking him to tattoo your back, out of your line of sight, won’t end well. And we learn that maybe your Twitter account might be under a little more scrutiny if your dad once scored 894 NHL goals.

As we parted ways with the recession back in 2009, though, the question always was: could we learn from this? Could we reign things in, keep from overspending and ensure … “never again”?

More than two years later, at least by the Bank of Canada’s definition of downturn, how are we doing now? According to a new survey, at least, we’re smarter shoppers, more efficient shoppers and better prepared to hit the malls than we’ve been before.

By a study from Deloitte, 75 per cent of more than 4,000 respondents said they believe they’re smarter shoppers than they were a year earlier.

*Bing: Where the shopping deals will be these holidays

More to that, 86 per cent said they’re getting more precise about what purchases they make; a further 90 per cent said they know what they’re buying now before they even arrive at the store.

Certainly, these are good signs – leaps and bounds from our “well, let’s see what the ol’ credit card can handle” approach when entering stores pre-2008 – and, if we’re to read anything into the Deloitte results, it’s that a change in spending outlook is leading to a shift in shopping behaviour.

In a bid to save, 80 per cent of survey respondents admitted they now do more research before they shop, reaching a pre-determined price point before spending. Two-thirds (66 per cent) said they shop when they know products will be on sale.

“Shoppers today expect to get a deal on the products they purchase,” Pat Conroy, a VP at Deloitte, said in response to the survey.

Of course, news like this should come with a bit of a raised eyebrow anytime the words “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” appear near the same stretch of calendar.

But perhaps we can flip that on its head. Despite shopping like it was going out of style yesterday and last Friday, maybe that’s because this is when shoppers choose to splurge now: when there are sales and when there are savings.

Are you a more responsible shopper than you were during, or before, the recession? How have you reigned in spending, if so?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...