The recession is long gone—shouldn’t consumers be spending freely by now? Not so fast. In a recent Gallup poll, Americans at all income levels expressed anxiety about how much money they have to spend. And while lower-income Americans were more likely to feel financial anxiety, even affluent Americans had their own money worries, the survey found.
Overall, 45 percent of Americans in the survey say they feel “pretty good” about how much money they have to spend, but more than half (54 percent) do not. While lower-income Americans (incomes under $48,000) were less likely to feel good about their incomes (just 35 percent do), even among those making $90,000-$240,000 and those making more than $240,000, four in 10 say they do not feel good about the amount of money they have available to spend.
In fact, nearly three in 10 Americans making $90,000-$240,000 or more than $240,000 say they don’t have enough money right now to make a major purchase, such as a major appliance, major home repair or furniture.
The survey also asked if respondents felt better about their financial situation going forward. Just 37 percent of the low-income Americans say they feel optimistic about their finances, but even among the highest-income group (making more than $240,000) only 55 percent feel optimistic about their financial situation going forward.
Clearly, even though the recession has been over for years, the lukewarm economic growth is having an effect on the mental state of even the wealthiest Americans. What does this mean for your marketing efforts?
- Don’t assume upscale consumers have money to burn. Particularly if you’re selling big-ticket products or services, your marketing message should focus on value more than on status or luxury.
- Keep in mind that “value” doesn’t necessarily mean “low-cost.” Value means getting a good deal for your money, such as a product that is high-quality and lasts a long time, or a service that maintains the value of the customer’s home or vehicle to prevent costly repairs later on.
- Appeal to consumers’ desire for security by emphasizing your warrantees, guarantees or return policies so they feel confident they can get their money back if they aren’t satisfied.
- Offer a variety of payment options and to meet consumers’ needs. For instance, consider creating product and service packages at various levels and prices, or offering a layaway plan to appeal to lower-income customers or those who don’t want to use credit cards.
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