American’s love of cars is running into a speed bump as gas prices rise toward the $4 mark. Unfortunately, consumers’ paychecks are either remaining static or declining. To save at the pump, consumers are required to be creative at meeting their goals while simultaneously saving money.
On first blush, there seems almost no benefit to the rising gas prices. Unless of course you are the one who (a) owns the oil, (b) owns a lot of stock in the oil companies or (c) owns a string of gas stations. For the majority of Americans, rising gas prices mean less money in their wallet as the tank continues to guzzle the fuel.
At BIGinsight, we’ve identified a changing consumer purchasing pattern as a result of increasing gas prices that benefits consumers and business. Consumers are more price-conscious as well as more cautious about wasting gas to run all over town to different stores and malls. Discount stores offer more fashion-forward merchandise for price-sensitive consumers, regardless of the household income. So how are consumers acquiring products?
In 2011, online sales were at an all-time high of 15.4%. At BIGinsight, we surveyed men and women regarding online purchases between January 2011 and 2012. In January 2012, 21.8% of men and 13.7% of women stated they plan to spend more time shopping by the Internet. One year later, a greater percentage of men and women planned to shop via the Internet as a result of increased prices at the pump (24.4% men and 16.7% women).
Rising gas prices are inevitable. Consumers have a wide variety of ways to save on other consumer purchases. Shopping online saves consumers’ gas and time. Internet retailers meanwhile promote the channel’s convenience, access to a broader and deeper variety of merchandise, and national brands. Coupons, promotions and discounts are also drawing consumers to websites; enticing consumers to complete the purchasing process. In the event that gas prices decline, Internet retailers are hoping techniques instilled to lure consumers to the website will result in loyal shopping patterns.