M&C Saatchi identifies credit crunch consumers

LONDON - M&C Saatchi has released a report that, it claims, shows how different groups of consumers are reacting to the current economic slowdown.

Duffy... "win new customers"
Duffy... "win new customers"

The study, entitled ‘Reacting to Recession', categorises consumers into eight groups according to their attitudes and behaviour.

The groups include "crash dieters" who have reacted dramatically to the credit squeeze and tried to stop spending on all non-essentials, and "ostriches", who keep spending as if nothing has happened.

Tim Duffy, the chief executive of M&C Saatchi, said: "This study looks at the different responses to economic pressures. Companies need to understand which segments their customers are in. They can then adapt their marketing strategy to get a greater share of wallet and win new customers."

A summary of the report follows below.

1. Crash-Dieters - who are aiming to cut pounds from their weekly spend, by cutting out any indulgent spending. Crash-dieters have reacted dramatically to the squeeze. They try to stop spending on all non-essentials and spend as little as possible on essentials until things begin to look better.

2. Scrimpers - who are looking to maintain their lifestyle at lower cost. Scrimpers are downtrading. They're holidaying in Cornwall, rather than Corfu. They're substituting brands with own-label. They've discovered Prosecco is just as nice as Champagne. And they're wearing Primark.

3. Abstainers - who have delayed spending on some big items. Abstainers haven't stopped spending, but have postponed buying some big items until times are easier. That new plasma TV they fancied will have to wait - unless it comes with a ‘buy now, pay later' deal.

4. Clothcutters - who, knowing they can't afford it all, they cut their cloth according to their purse. Clothcutters recognise the need to rob Peter to pay Paul. They're not buying a new car, so they can still have their 2 weeks in the sun. They've stopped going out, so they can afford a new table to dine in on.

5. Treaters - who cut back, but award themselves little indulgences
to make up for their frugality. Tightening of belts doesn't come naturally to Treaters, so they reward themselves for their frugal behaviour. They'll cancel going out, but buy a nice bottle of wine. Their kids lose out, but are allowed the odd treat.

6. Justifiers - who aren't unafraid to spend, when they can find a good reason to. Justifiers like to spend, but right now they need to find themselves a good excuse to. They're more than happy to whip their cards out if there's a limited offer, a latest model or an additional something free.

7. Ostriches - who keep spending as if nothing's happening. In denial, Ostriches refuse to change their behaviour. They're young. They're enjoying themselves. Their credit cards are taking the strain. Why should they have to compromise?

8. Vultures - who see bargains everywhere and are ready to swoop. Vultures love a good economic crash. While others suffer, they're circling the high street, making a killing on all the bargains out there. They've even got a beady eye on the property market.


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