Pulse on the economy: Using social media to understand today's shopper behaviour

Christina Engelhardt
Larisa Mats
Kraft Foods


As 2009 kicked off with the continuation of the most severe economic recession the United States economy had seen in 80 years, companies and consumers alike were faced with daunting challenges. Shoppers' core priorities and behaviors were fundamentally changing, and companies were forced to adapt and re-think the ways they did business. More than ever, a return to the basics was necessary – building and retaining a loyal customer base, understanding how customer mindsets and values were evolving, and relating to shoppers on both an emotional and practical level.

Meanwhile, although the economy was shrinking, the influence of the Internet as a communication medium was exploding at an exponential rate. More than ever before, everyday people in 2009 turned to virtual communities, web forums, blogs, and popular social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends, seek advice, and share opinions and experiences.