HARPENDEN, UK: Almost 90% of British consumers have changed their grocery shopping habits since the start of the recession, while 24% have made "major changes" to their spending patterns because of the adverse economic climate, according to Shoppercentric.

Richard Storey, of M&C Saatchi, has identified a number of groups of shoppers – ranging from "scrimpers" to "vultures" – that will have vastly different attitudes during the downturn.

Shoppercentric argues that the largest group of consumers, making up a total of 48% of over 1,000 respondents that it surveyed, were "soft reactors" who have made small changes to their spending.

By contrast, 15% were "planners", who have cut back just in case their personal situation gets worse, while the "unaffecteds", making up 13% of participants, haven't altered their activity at all.

Of those people "unaffected" by the downturn, 82% had no children, and 60% were male.

Just under half of the consumers that have been most affected – dubbed "strong reactors" – have children, and 58% were in a lower income bracket.

This group is said to be "using all the tactics they can to rein in their spending", and were likely to shop at a variety of stores in order to ensure they "get the best deals or prices available".

In all, over 90% of consumers were reacting more to price and looking for promotions, while 87% were cutting back on the amount they spent, and 84% were shopping at a variety of retailers.

Almost 60% of consumers also said they were buying more own-label brands than before the onset of the recession.

Data sourced from M&M Global; additional content by WARC staff