New Study Highlights the Increasing Role of Smart Shopping

A new survey commissioned by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) illuminates the increasingly important role that smart shopping and savvy bargain hunting ("treasure hunting") play in Americans' lives. The findings confirm not only that Americans approach shopping and the quest for low-priced, quality goods — treasures — as a sport and an avocation, but also that new patterns of spending and "treasure hunting" enable them to live better, balance their budgets, improve family life and satisfy emotional needs.  

Harris Interactive® conducted the online survey on behalf of BCG between March 27 and April 5, 2006, among 1,042 U.S. adults age 18 and over with household incomes of at least $50,000 per year. Among the results of the survey:

  • Half (50%) of Americans say they enjoy a higher standard of living because of savvy shopping.
  • Over 90% proudly tell others when they find a good deal or pay below retail.
  • On average, Americans say they save over 20% of their discretionary spending by smart shopping and "treasure hunting."
  • 73.1% of Americans identify themselves as "savvy shoppers."
  • 65% say that it "feels like I'm doing something good" when they purchase an item because it's a good value. 
  • 41% say "it feels like I'm putting money into savings" when they purchase an item because it's a good value.
  • Nearly two out of five Americans (39.4%) say they "save a lot in some places and splurge in others."

Said BCG senior vice president and Treasure Hunt author Michael Silverstein, "Today's savvy consumers — most of them women — are 'purchasing agents.'  They calculate their savings and are proud of them.  While they restlessly search for the best deal, they will not compromise on technical or functional benefits.  The emotional benefits are what really count. In this era of smart, strategic shopping, companies need to change commodities into treasures, not just bargains. They must create a regular cycle of innovation and also relentlessly drive costs down.  The new cheap is not just cheap; it's good."

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