SOURCE: BIGresearch

September 15, 2005 16:27 ET

Impact of High Gas Prices; Consumers Budget Better, Focus on Needs, Drive Less

Holiday Spending May Take a Hit

COLUMBUS, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 15, 2005 -- The impact of the high price of gas is causing many consumers to change their buying habits according to the latest BIGresearch monthly survey for September.

80% of consumers say that fluctuating gas prices are having an impact on their spending, and as a result they are delaying or reducing expenditures on cars, TVs, furniture, groceries, clothing, dining out and vacation/travel. In addition, 77% of those impacted by gas prices say they will be driving less. Confidence in the economy is also lower for this group, only 28.8% are confident or very confident vs. 35.5% of all consumers.

Other ways those impacted by high gas prices are coping include:

--  70.8% say they are focused more on needs than wants;
--  56.6% are now more budget conscious;
--  47.5% say they plan to decrease overall spending;
--  89.2% say they usually or only buy clothing on sale.
    
"The U.S. Consumer is not viewing fuel for their cars as a hard necessity, but between a need and a want, which has to be managed. This mindset will create spending impacts, which could have 'a multiplier effect.' In short, when the consumer has to think about gas for the American icon 'family car,' all facets of budget are put into question," said Joe Pilotta, VP Research, BIGresearch.

How will this impact holiday shopping budgets? Well 21.9% say it's too early to know; 5.7% plan on spending more; 29.0% plan on spending the same; and 40.2% plan on spending less.

To comment on this release visit the BIGresearch blog: http://whencustomerstalk.blogspot.com

About BIGresearch

BIGresearch is a market intelligence firm providing analysis of consumer behavior in the areas of retail, politics and media. The syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month to identify opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

BIGresearch's methodology provides the most accurate consumer information in the industry with a margin of error of +/- 1 percent. Complimentary findings are available at www.bigresearch.com.

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