The recent economic downturn has given way to a new group of consumers, identified as the “Downturn Generation,” according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Like relatives some eight or nine decades previous did before them, the Downturn Generation is keeping a close eye on spending throughout the recession and plans to curb such spending long after the recession ends.

Of potential concern to flexible packaging companies, members of the Downturn Generation seem willing to dispense convenience for value: 65% of survey respondents say price is becoming more important than convenience in brand purchases.

IRI data also indicates that Downturn Generation consumers also are becoming more resourceful and strategic when planning their purchases for meals, wardrobe, home and automobile maintenance, and personal care. Increasingly, consumers are turning to the Internet to find the best prices, research reviews, commentary and opinions on products and services before making a purchasing decision. Currently, 44% of shoppers use the web to find coupons and 55% of those current users plan to continue this practice into the future.

Low prices and sale items continue to dominate shopper decisions at stores, and consumers are leaving no stone unturned, going so far as to split club store membership costs and divide the purchase of bulk goods. The IRI survey found that 59% of respondents visit multiple stores for the lowest prices, 30% are making bulk purchases with others not in their households to secure low unit prices, and 34% are collecting, sharing and trading coupons with others.