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What's in Store for Consumers?

What do consumers want, and what will they forgo?
CFO Staff, CFO Magazine
July 15, 2011

Consumer demand, long a top concern of CFOs as measured by our quarterly Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey (see "Treading Water"), has been the focus of intense study of late. A new report from Boston Consulting Group, released in June and based on a survey of 24,000 worldwide consumers, reveals some interesting trends and attitudes. See how accurately you can gauge the pulse of the consumer market.

1) Last year, 49% of respondents said they had been personally affected by the economic downturn. This year, the figure is:
A. 28%
B. 36%
C. 42%
D. 57%

2) Of the 20 countries covered in the study*, the number in which respondents have undergone what BCG describes as "a significant decline in consumer anxiety" is:
A. 1
B. 5
C. 8
D. 14

3) The country in which the smallest number of respondents (19%) plan to reduce discretionary spending over the next 12 months is:
A. India
B. Russia
C. Norway
D. Greece

4) The only product category in which respondents in European and all four BRIC countries plan to trade up in quality is:
A. Cars
B. Consumer electronics
C. Footwear
D. Travel/vacations

5) When it comes to trading down in quality, 53% of male respondents said they were open to doing so for jewelry and accessories. The percentage of women who were open to trading down in that category was:
A. 17%
B. 33%
C. 42%
D. 69%

6) Soon a majority of the world's consumers will live in cities, as evidenced by the fact that the number of urban dwellers is increasing at an annual rate of:
A. 4 million
B. 15 million
C. 22 million
D. 60 million

7) Among consumers in the United States, Europe, India, Russia, and China, the rank of the United States when respondents were asked if the economic downturn has changed the way they buy and spend is:
A. First
B. Second
C. Third
D. Fifth

8) This year, U.S. consumers accounted for approximately 40% of worldwide discretionary spending. By 2020, that percentage is expected to stand at:
A. 25%
B. 35%
C. 45%
D. 55%

9) This year, 52% of U.S. respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I am anxious about the future." In 2007 that percentage stood at:
A. 26%
B. 40%
C. 48%
D. 57%

*North America, BRIC countries, 11 EU countries, Australia, Japan, and Turkey
Source: "Navigating the New Consumer Realities," Boston Consulting Group, June 2011

Answers: 1–D; 2–A; 3–B; 4–C; 5–D; 6–D; 7–A; 8–B; 9–B