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Women More Frugal Than Men During Recession

TORONTO, Ontario -- In a down economy, women are more frugal than men. Research conducted by Canadian-based customer experience management firm Empathica Inc. revealed 72 percent of U.S. women moderately to significantly cut their spending in 2009, compared to only 62 percent of men.

The survey of more than 7,200 American consumers also found that overall spending was down, with only 5 percent of respondents spending more in 2009 compared to 2008.

Only four out of 15 industry sectors were unaffected by gender differences in spending, though, with gas stations/convenience stores, bars, hotels and airlines having similar levels of reduced spending from both men and women.

Restaurants were the most impacted by gender differences. During 2009, only one in 10 men indicated they never eat out at restaurants, compared to one in five women.

The gender gap at convenience stores was about 10 percent between the percentage of women who spent less in 2009 than in 2008 and the percentage of men who spent less last year.

"When examining consumer spending during hard economic times, retailers would be smart to note that women and men not only spend differently, but have different motivations for spending," explained Dr. Gary Edwards, executive vice president of client services with Empathica. "Retailers need to know their customers and how to best entice them with offers. For example, our survey indicates that women are most motivated to try a new restaurant if they have a coupon."

The Empathica Consumer Insights survey indicated that a coupon would entice 48.3 percent of women to try a new restaurant while fewer men, 39.8 percent, would be influenced by such an offer.

Regionally, consumers in the West indicated a more significant financial impact as a result of economic conditions.

Percentage of those who reduced spending in 2009 compared to 2008:

-- In the Midwest: 65 percent
-- In the Northeast: 65 percent
-- In the South: 68 percent
-- In the West: 70 percent

"Consumers in the West appear to be finding it more difficult to cope in this economy," said Edwards. "Our survey results showed that this region's respondents appear to be more financially strapped, more keen on reducing their spending and have an overall more pessimistic view of the future."

General Economic Sentiments
The overall sectors most impacted by a reduction in spending were hotels, bars, airlines, dining establishments, electronics stores and furniture stores. Pharmacy, supermarkets, gas stations and other staple goods and services were least affected by those who cut back on spending. The top concerns from consumers who reduced their spending in 2009, in order:

1) Debt
2) Job Security
3) Health
4) Economy

Of those surveyed, 57 percent were optimistic about the economy, with one in three indicating they anticipate their financial situation will be somewhat to much better in the next six months.

However, when asked about their expected spending over the next three months, 44 percent of respondents said they would reduce spending at convenience stores and only 12 percent said they would spend more.

The biggest declines in expected spending (more than 50 percent spending less) came in the hotels, airlines, bars/taverns/pubs, fine dining, electronics stores and furniture industries. The lowest expected declines in spending came from supermarkets/grocery, gas stations and pharmacies.

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