BENTONVILLE, Arkansas: Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, will continue to benefit from US consumers' changing spending habits, as over half of Americans plan to increase the amount they spend in its stores this year, according to a survey from the Gordman Group.

The rise of discount retailers has been argued to be one of the defining characteristics of the current financial slowdown, with Wal-Mart being the main beneficiary of this trend in the US thus far.

Based on a poll of 526 consumers, theĀ Gordman Group found that 90% of participants had altered their spending patterns in light of the downturn, with 80% changing where they shop.

Over the last three months, 45% of those surveyed had reduced their total outlay, and 31% predict they will similarly cut their expenditure in the next quarter.

Some 54% intend to increase the proportionate amount they spend at Wal-Mart this year, while 27% plan to make more purchases online, and 25% will increase their expenditure at Target.

A further 49% argued the economic slumpĀ "has affected me directly," while 59% agreed with the statement that "the economy is getting worse."

In terms of purchasing homewares and apparel goods, 21% of participants said price was the most important factor, followed by 14% opting for either "the item is on sale" or "having the style I want."

Factors such as a convenient location, good customer service and a returns policy were also picked by a total of 21% of respondents as being important on this measure.

Data sourced from Marketing Charts; additional content by WARC staff