For a recent interview we were talking about the swing (and if there was any) that has occurred during the recession.
The biggest thing I see, is that, consumers are more assertive with their spending, before they would let minor things slide. Now though they demand more (perceived) value for their dollar, and that value isn’t always a ‘functional’ benefit, it might be the ease of use an iPhone provides rather than an Android, or the time saving of a personal finance application or the status they get from using the service (or upgrade).
It’s all about catering an experience for each of your customers, it was beforehand, but now when people are assertive spenders even moreso.
Gourmet Supermarkets did will during the recession, as people would rather indulge on an afternoon experience with friends, whereas in the past they might have eaten out. It’s not that they’re not spending, it’s that they are rewarding those companies which cater experiences that create stories. These stories create status, memories and most of all a good time.