A study commissioned by ad agency The Foundry has found that the majority of Australians are not overwhelmingly concerned about the current economic climate, with the key issue for most people being a sense of uncertainty about what the next year will bring.

The Foundry Customer Checkup Study, conducted by The Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University, found that customers are becoming less impulsive about spending, with shopping trips planned in advance after careful research to determine the best deals and justify major purchases.

Despite the indication of an uncertain outlook for retailers, Simon Burrett, managing director of The Foundry, believes the current situation is not as negative in all sectors as has been reported to date.

“There’s good news here for smart retailers. Customers still have money and they still want to buy, they are just being more careful about loosening up their purse strings,” says Simon.

“Retail brands that know what they stand for and can communicate this confidently to customers will do well in this climate.

“It’s a time for strong and confident product statements. Demonstrate why yours is a product that the customer can’t do without, and the customer will come to see it.

“The clear message is that ‘confidence is key.’”

While the results show that most people have changed their lifestyles as a result of financial pressures in the past 12 months, it’s not all doom and gloom for retailers.

“These numbers were surprising in that they lacked the sense of doom that the current financial situation would have suggested was present,” says Jeff Rogut, executive director of the ACRS.

“Clearly, the current climate presents an opportunity for retailers to recognise the shopping shifts of their customers and present a strong value proposition to encourage purchase.

“Confidence should not be totally lost as retail customers can be brought back into the market – they just need a valid and compelling reason to buy.”

The Foundry Customer Checkup Study surveyed 1118 respondents from across Australia.