Archive for May, 2011

Noncommittal Nation

From marriage to shopping, risk-averse Americans are more cautious about deciding

May 23, 2011 – #10

The number of women between the ages of 25 and 29 who have yet to take the plunge into marriage has doubled since 1986, according to the U.S. Census.  Nearly half of all women in that age group have never been married, up from about a quarter.

Marriage isn’t the only major decision affected by America’s trend toward deliberating and doing our homework before we act. The view of home ownership has gone from being a given as part of the American Dream to becoming a question of whether it’s smarter to buy or rent. Headlines are full of intriguing micro-changes, like the growth of renting rather than buying designer dresses – evidenced by the successful start-up “Rent the Runway” that already boasts more than a million members with another 40,000 signing up each week. (New York Times, May 2, 2011)

Avoiding risk and taking refuge in carefully weighing the facts are both long-term, growing trends confirmed by SCAN.

% who say “I’m looking for ways to reduce risk – to make everything safer for me and my family.”

2000: 58%       2011: 67%

% who say “I count heavily on facts, not feelings, when it comes to making decisions.”

2000: 38%       2011: 48%

% who say “When I buy anything, I always do my homework and am very careful to be sure I get the best that I can get.”

2000: 53%       2011: 61%

Every measure and all signs of consumer behavior say that the trends toward becoming more careful in commitments large and small are here to stay.

Business Implications: As consumers continue to be deliberative about spending, their expectations of brands are higher than ever. And researching the facts, other consumer opinions and comparative prices has never been easier. So what do consumers say gets them to commit? Transparency and trust, true quality and fair pricing.

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