Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring 2009
Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring 2009

DALLAS, Feb 2, 2009 / FW/ — Even in this time of recession and many consumers are forced to make sacrifices in order to make both ends meet, there is a handful of “must-have” that remains on the list; shoes is one them!

In a survey conduct by BIGresearch for STORES Magazine, it was revealed that shoes are #7 on the list of “must-have” with internet access and cell phone service on top of the list.

With respondents saying that internet access (80.9%), cell phone service (64.1%) and cable television (60.5%) are simply off limits, it really shows that majority of us have become nerd-adjacent. Email, the web, text messages and our favorite shows – well, we simply cannot imagine life without them.

As for fashion, discount shopping for apparel (43.0%), haircuts and colors (40.0%) and shoes (24.0%) are very important. Good news for Target, Zara, H&M, even Wal-Mart, they have a very loyal clientele. We will never have a bad hair day as we cannot stop going to favorite hair salons. Salvatore Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, even Laura Proetzky designing for Pay-Less do not have to worry about because we still want to put our best foot forward.

Great news for Marie Osmond and Wynonna Judd! Since we do not want to give up eating at fast-food restaurant (36.6%), Marie and Wynonna will always say their piece about healthy living.

Now, there’s the other side of the coin – what are we willing to give up? According to the survey, here are consumers find expendable:

luxury handbags (92.2%)
satellite radio (90.9%)
specialty shopping for apparel (90.7%)
high-end cosmetics (90.7%)
maid service (90.0%)
facials (89.8%).

Despite common themes, differences exist among ages and genders in what people will and will not cut out of their budgets. For example, more women (70.0%) find cell phone service untouchable than men (57.8%), but more men find fine dining untouchable than women (12.3% vs. 9.1%). The survey also found that men (21.5%) seem to appreciate a new pair of jeans more than women (18.9%). Additionally, more 18-34 year olds find hair cuts or colorings expendable (69.9%) than 35-54 year olds (57.8%), though both age groups agree they cannot live without the use of their cell phone (64.8% of 18-34 year olds vs. 64.4% of 35-54 year olds).

“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.”