The recession the world has just been through is not the first nor last but its severity and length makes its lasting impact very different from most others. Every recession forces consumers to change or suspend behaviour, normally reverting once the worst is past. This time a more permanent change has been ingrained in behaviour and choice, as consumers have become conditioned to seek out value and discounting has become part of their DNA.
There is in fact a precedent in the American crash of the 1930s, where the change in consumer behaviour was so dramatic that it took a generation to re-adjust back. But no matter how deep or long any recession may be, fundamental consumer aspirations eventually rise to the surface again, as they are now. Austerity may have forced many to cut non-essentials, but throughout the recession the premium and luxury sectors (from LVMH to M&S food) continued to perform strongly, demonstrating that shoppers never lose that desire to aspire.Read More