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TheStreet Open House

Retailers Try to Break Consumers' New Saving Habits

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumers' search for deals that keep more cash in their pockets brings memories of the Great Depression, when stretching a buck was a national pastime -- right up there with hating the Yankees and listening to Jack Benny on Sunday nights.

America can now boast twice as many savers than spenders, a recent survey from Gallup reveals.

Gallup reports that 62% of Americans choose saving over spending. In 2007 and 2008, before the economic storm hit, those numbers were narrower, with about 50% calling themselves "savers" and 45% calling themselves "spenders."

The big retail brands know all this and are busy trying to figure out what it takes to separate consumers from more of their money.

Experian Marketing Services, a division of consumer credit ratings company Experian, is also looking into the mind of the consumer, and probably knows more about your savings and spending habits than you likely imagined, including that price really isn't what matters to U.S. retail consumers -- it ranks fifth, behind a store's environment, brands, convenience and customer service.

While they like and want deep discounts, Americans want those discounts to be simple and delivered on their terms

"It is critical that marketers know which customers want a deal, who needs a deal and who outright rejects them," explains John Fetto at Experian Marketing Services. "Knowing the difference can help marketers tailor deals and discounts for the right audience, in the right channels.

Experian cites different types of so-called deal-seekers, such as the "influentials" who are always chasing the next cool product and love to talk to other shoppers online and offline about value and quality in a product.

Then there are the offline deal-seekers, who are typically over the age of 55 and head straight for the bargain racks when they enter a store -- but don't want to talk about it on social media.

What demographic retailers most want to capture is the "deal takers," who are "highly educated and affluent" but won't typically seek a deal out. (They will take one if offered it.)

They, along with the "deal indifferents" (who could care less about any discounts -- just give them the product they want) likely make up the majority of U.S. consumers but also remain the most elusive to retailers.

Whatever category you fall in, know that the big retail brands are targeting you, with the full intent of turning you from a saver into a spender.

But if the recent economic data is right, that may be a real uphill climb.

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