Market Force Study: Consumers Revving Up to Spend in 2013

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Family casual and QSR restaurants should be biggest beneficiaries, with fashion retailers close behind

retail spending economy consumer restaurant shopping electronics

Graph 1: 2012 vs. 2013 Spending Plans Across Industries

From restaurants to various retail categories, consumers are cautiously optimistic

A majority of consumers are planning to spend as much or more in 2013 than last year across various retail industries, according to a new study by Market Force Information, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions. The study also revealed that consumers expected to spend more in major retail chains than in local stores.

The study, conducted in November 2012 with more than 2,500 respondents, was designed to uncover what consumers expect their spending habits to be in 2013 in industries such as restaurant, consumer electronics, toys & games, fashion retail and sporting goods.

Key Spending Trends by Industry:

Restaurant: Two-thirds (66%) of consumers expected to spend the same or more in family casual dining chains this year, lagged only slightly by quick-service restaurants with 64%. This was the highest upswing of any industry studied.

Fashion retail: Fashion showed the biggest disparity between major chain and local-store spending, with nearly six in 10 (59%) saying they expected to spend the same or more in major department stores for fashion, and about half (51%) saying as much about local fashion stores.

Toys & Games: Despite the rise of alternative play options, spending on toys & games is also expected to grow in 2013, with 56% of consumers planning to buy the same or more of these products in major chains and 53% in local boutiques.

Consumer electronics: Consumer electronics were a hot item in 2012 and the demand should carry over this year. The study found that 55% plan to spend more or the same in 2013 in major retail chains and 53% in local stores.

Sporting goods: This retail segment is still popular, and it also showed the least variation in planned spending between national and local stores. Fifty-one percent expect to spend the same or more in 2013 than they did last year at major chains, with local stores just slightly behind with 50%.

“This is heartening news for retailers of all types,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer of Market Force. “It’s another sign that the economy and consumer outlook is brightening. From restaurants to various retail categories, consumers are cautiously optimistic. We’ve found in past studies that consumers tend to underestimate their spending, so we believe the horizon is brightening in 2013.”

While the majority of consumers surveyed predict their spending will stay the same next year as this year, a small but significant portion of consumers expect to increase their spending next year across the five industries. Those that may see the largest spending growth in 2013 are toys & games and consumer electronics (8% each). See Graph 2.

Survey Demographics
The survey was conducted in November 2012 across the United States. The pool of 2,500 respondents reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 79% reporting household incomes of $50,000 a year or more. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to over 65. Approximately one-quarter were men and 75% were women, and 70% reported working full or part time. Half of the respondents have children at home and more than two-thirds are married.

About Market Force Information
Market Force is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. With more than 125 years of combined industry experience, Market Force Information has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions – from 600,000 field associates across North America and Europe who conduct mystery shopping, merchandising and retail auditing, to real customer surveys and proprietary decision-support tools. Its solutions provide a holistic view of the customer's on-site experience and identify the actions required at the store level to increase customer loyalty and improve financial performance. Market Force was named one of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies in 2011. For more information, visit


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