Fast-food on “untouchables” list

Posted by James Ferre on 4th February 2009

An American survey has discovered the items consumers are most likely to cutback on, with fast-food one of the most “untouchable” categories.

The survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that Americans have redefined what’s “untouchable” and what is “expendable” in their lives to adjust to the current economic climate.

Eating fast food

According to the survey, eating at fast-food restaurants (36.6%) came out sixth on consumers’ list of off limit categories, following the internet (80.9%), mobile phone service (64.1%), cable television (60.5%), discount shopping for apparel (43.0%), hair cuts and colours (40.0%), and a new pair of shoes (24.0%).

“The current economy has forced many Americans to find new ways to live and even shop,” said Susan Reda, Executive Editor of STORES magazine.

While some items remain off-limits, Americans have been scaling back, with popular indulgences including fine dining taking a back seat while people try to save money.

Despite common themes, differences exist among ages and genders in what people will and will not cut out of their budgets. For example, more men find fine dining untouchable than women (12.3% vs. 9.1%).

“Today’s economy has had an impact on every American, and retailers are dealing with very different shoppers than they were one year ago,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “While many people have opted to trade down, some refuse to sacrifice certain luxuries, cutting items they feel are expendable to compensate.”