In addition, a consumer survey conducted by NPD in January to gauge what price level would be required to cause consumers to drive less suggests that at today's gas prices (national average is $3.79-a-gallon and rising steadily) approximately 60% of consumers are cutting back on driving now.
"If the current uptick in gas price is sustained, we can expect consumers to begin implementing some key changes like reducing or consolidating shopping trips, taking more mass transit, and carpooling," says David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's automotive aftermarket business. "In the case of a prolonged spike above $4.00, we'd expect even more significant changes like working from home, relocating or changing jobs, or driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle."
Cutting Back On Hair And Beauty Services?
Does the trend for consumers to reduce or consolidate shopping trips also mean they will cut back on trips to the salon, spa or for similar beauty treatments? Maybe or more likely it means that consumers will look for hair, beauty and related services closer to home and may reduce the frequency of their salon and spa visits.
It might also mean that families will schedule hair and beauty related treatment visits together or with friends to economize on the cost of the fuel.
2008 History Of High Gas Prices
Based on recent history in 2008 when gas reached a high of $4.16-a-gallon, NPD research shows that drivers made significant changes in driving behavior including 49% who reduced or consolidated shopping trips, 29% canceled or modified vacations, and 25% found alternate means of transportation including mass transit, carpooling, and riding a bike. These are the very changes consumers are likely implementing once again.
"It comes down to the simple economics of share of wallet," Portalatin says. "Most consumers have limitations in their budgets. If they are spending more on gas, they either need to cut down on their driving or spend less on other things. History has told us they begin by cutting down on their driving."
Will it have an impact on the hair and beauty industry and what will that impact really look like? Only time and the continued rise of gas prices will tell.
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions.
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