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BigResearch: Lower Gas Prices Nudge Consumer Confidence

COLUMBUS, OHIO - As the price of gasoline has eased a bit over the past month, consumers have been feeling less of a hit on their wallets versus May, although they remain mindful of their spending.
     In its June 2011 Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey, which monitors over 8,000 consumers each month, consumer research firm BigResearch found 77.9% said they are being impacted by gas prices, down from last month's 80.3%.
     But as BigResearch noted, "Let's face it - that's still a lot of people."
     The most popular response to gas prices: fewer shopping trips (45.6%) along with shopping closer to home (43.4%), hunting for bargains (42.8%), and stepping up coupon use (40.5%).
     The vast majority of consumers (86.3%) regularly or occasionally research products online before heading to the store," Bigresearch found.
     Consumer most often consult Google for produce searches (24.9%), with (19.6%) a close second choice. (3.9%), (3.7%), and (2.5%) round out the Top 5 sites.
     When it comes to filling a virtual cart, however, Amazon. com is the top destination for non-apparel purchases - including home decor and electronics -followed by Walmart (8.9%), (6.2%), (5.6%), and (2.4%).
     The BigResearch Diffusion Index's 90-day outlook showed that "despite languishing confi - dence and increasing practicality" most product categories could see better sell-throughs in the immediate future compared to May. The linens/bedding/draperies, home décor, and furniture categories all are set to be "up."
     Still, all categories except groceries continue to be down compared to pre-recession Jun 2007's results.
     BigResearch noted that higher food prices are forcing consumers to spend more on necessities vs. discretionary items.

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