the esposito research
& strategy blog

Esposito Research & Strategy blog

Is this the first austerity Christmas?


While the first ripples of the financial crisis are traced back to 2008, consumer and client conversations suggest 2012 could be the first year where the crisis is really biting into consumer behaviour at Christmas.

Retailers have picked on this too, with shopper research experiencing a bit of a boom as companies try to work out how to impact in-store behaviour and increase share of wallet, even if the wallet itself is shrinking! To consumers, the economic impact is felt close to home if not at home, with redundancies, benefit cuts and service cuts.

As one consumer said to me “it’s no longer all about “fat cats” and bankers these days, it’s about me and my friends”.

This has serious implications for research…please do share your perspective by calling us or emailing us on

1. Price – always a key consideration, even more so now – potentially we are seeing a redefinition of what value means in “value for money”, with both extremes of the price scales proving the most appealing. Rock bottom price because it’s simple for consumers to understand, premium price because in many consumers’ minds it’s guarantee of top quality / long lasting benefits – and that might be the only guarantee they can rely on in a permanently shifting world.

2. Holding back. Most consumers want instant gratification, but many are learning to overcome impulsive behaviours and opt for a planned approach. This has serious implications for NPD market forecasts.

3. Indecision. Buy now or wait? Look around online first? Paradoxically, with a plethora of online offers and pre-Christmas sales in stores, consumers are finding it difficult to determine whether something truly represents a “good deal”. For retailers, whether online or brick-based, understanding complex layers of decision-making process and identifying the best point to influence decisions is becoming ever more critical.

4. Keeping up. Despite tightening their belt, certain consumers want to make sure they still project an affluent image. But this often means they are much more careful in selecting which item to spend their money on, and becoming much more critical of their own behaviour. They are learning new ways to prioritise.

5. Enjoying the moment. In keeping with a more discerning approach regarding where to spend money, consumers are much more aware of selecting specific occasions for enjoyment. Brands who engage with consumers in these fun moments are benefiting most strongly from positive associations, and are in a much stronger position than everyday brand to retain their equity.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts by calling us or emailing us on

looking ahead

The last 12 months have seen a flurry of new research approaches.

Recruiting online communities via Facebook…Testing online journeys through a sequence of live surveys …Playful formats bringing quantitative surveys to life …Using Fitbit bracelets instead of a health diary …Advanced co-creation with consumers, suppliers and clients IN THE SAME ROOM…Yes, all of these are possible.

New technology is opening up fantastic ways to engage with your audience and find out what makes them tick.

We’re easy to talk to, so if you have so much as the gem of an idea or want to bounce around potential solutions to a business issue, do call us or email