Saturday, 22 November 2008

Tactical shopping

What do psychoanalysts and financial analysts have in common? They both get things wrong sometimes. Psychoanalysists are too obsessed with the past. Financial analyists aren’t very good at predicting the future. This week they predicted that retail sales for October would have slumped by 0.9%. They didn’t, they fell by just 0.1%. In fact they were 2.2% UP on this time last year.

So we're spending on the high street like there’s no recession tomorrow. Why? Well the reasons are psychological but not in the way Freud would have said. In our survey of over 700 women, a whopping 79% said they shop to cheer themselves up. Many use spending to manage their moods. So when things are down, buying gives them a lift.

But the cash squeeze will inevitably lead to the rise of what Martin Lewis ( calls ‘tactical shopping’. The interesting question is what will you cut back on? And what will you absolutely not forego, however hard the crunch bites? Please take a few minutes to tell us on our latest survey:
Click Here to take survey


  1. Is it possible there is also a culural factor in shopping behaviour and that (capitalist) modernity influences consumer trend?

    Moreover is there cultural variation in shopping trends across society?

    Or are we part of one big metaphorical herd that crazes rather than selects our purchasing choice?

    Sorry I think this comment became more rhetorical than contibutive.

  2. Hi Nigel,

    A good point - I'm sure the cultural influences are enormous and can't be discounted. Capitalism thrives on rampant consumer spending but it's when that's funded by credit that we run into trouble - as we're now seeing. I'm sure different cultures would frown upon some of the consumer behaviours that are tolerated - or even encouraged - nowadays.

  3. Surely part of the issue here is that what they teach us in economic theory turns out to be not true in most normal circumstances. Markets don't clear and are not in balance with each other. The labour market does not deliver high enough incomes to enable workers to buy places to live, so they have to borrow ridiculous amounts that they have no real chance of paying back. Too many loans get made to people who can't really afford them, and the risk is then passed back to the institution holding the savings of these same people.

    And the housing market is not allowed to find an equilibrium at which people could afford to buy houses out of their wages because that would undermine all the other functions of houses - as pensions, investment vehicles, and engines for economic growth.


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