Nearly nine in 10 Americans (89%) have made changes to their lifestyles, including their food shopping patterns, to deal with the recession.  However, the proportion who have made drastic changes declined to 28% in April 2010, compared to 35% who said so in the third quarter of 2009, according to Digital Research and Think Vine. 

Dollar stores and mass merchandisers continue to be the post-recession winners as shoppers seek to save more, with 36% and 33% of shoppers, respectively, visiting those types of stores more often in 2010 than 2009.  Meanwhile, they are visiting supermarkets (27%), drug stores (29%), and convenience stores (34%) less often.

Those who are shopping at supermarkets less often are shopping more at dollar stores (49%), mass merchandisers (32%), and warehouse clubs (21%), while making cuts at nearly all other types of stores.

Those who are shopping more at supermarkets are also shopping more at dollar stores (64%) and mass merchandisers (70%), though that may be because they did not shop there at all prior to the recession.  This same group is cutting back their shopping at upscale department stores and convenience stores, while shopping online, at flea markets, and at farmers markets more often.

Only 1% of shoppers believe they will return to their pre-recession spending habits.  Most (52%) will continue to use their saving strategies, and 43% expect their spending to increase somewhat but to be more conservative than before.  Their most commons saving strategies are to cut back on non-essential items (55%), to stock up on sale items (55%), and to use more coupons (53%).  They are more likely in April 2010 than in the third quarter of 2009 to take advantage of rewards card programs at retailers (43%, up from 36%), while fewer are trading down to lower-priced national brands (30%, down from 36%).  They are also less willing to sacrifice on quality, buying cheaper cuts of meat (16%, down from 24%), and less willing to forego healthy foods by buying less fruit and vegetables (11%, down from 16%).

[Source:  “Shoppers Continue to Adapt Behaviors As Recession Wears On.”  EPM Communications/Research Alert. 16 Jul. 2010. Web.  16 Aug. 2010.]