How The Economy Is Affecting Mystery Shopping

The recession is hitting everyone hard. Even employees who normally are insulated from economic downturns, such as government officials and teachers, are worried about losing their jobs. Millions of families are facing the possibility of losing their homes, while others taking family members or friends in who have already been hurt by the financial crisis. Countries across the globe are feeling the recessionary pains. And just as with seemingly everything else right now, mystery shopping is also being hit with hard times.

Going, Going, Gone. The largest number of mystery shopping assignments are for the retail, entertainment, and restaurant industries. Unfortunately, when consumers pull back on their spending, clothing, meals out, and movies are often the first parts of the family budget to be scaled back. Retailers have been hit hard by the recession, resulting in many stores and restaurants closing their doors, while some chains have completely gone out of business. The result is a reduced number of places in need of mystery shoppers’ services.

Trimming The Fat. Just as your family is doing, truly everyone is cutting back on expenses. Locally owned businesses to major corporations are reducing staff through layoffs, cutting back areas, minimizing internal costs, and more, trying to survive this economic downturn. While customer service plays a critical role in a consumer’s decision to visit a particular retailer, many companies right now have simply entered a survival mentality and are trimming their budgets down to the bare bones. The result is that even retailers whose doors remain open are cutting back on their mystery shopping expense. This may mean a reduced number of assignments offered, giving you as a mystery shopper fewer opportunities to earn extra cash.

How Low Can It Go? Another unfortunate result of companies’ budgetary cuts is that assignment pay is being reduced, almost across the board. What once was a $10 or $15 assignment, now may be closer to $5 or $8. Mystery shoppers who once were boycotting low pay in the hopes of driving mystery shop pay upward are now faced with even more lower paying assignments and a very limited number of what mystery shoppers consider an acceptable level of pay.

Making The Best Of It. With fewer assignments to choose from and lower pay, mystery shoppers are struggling to make the level of income they once made. This is unfortunate because it is happening at a time when many mystery shoppers need to rely more heavily on mystery shopping to supplement other sources of income or to boost savings and retirement accounts that have been slashed by the stock market’s downward spiral in recent months.

The current economic situation is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Yet mystery shoppers who continue working through the current market conditions will find themselves in high demand for their loyalty and experience once the market turns around. So keep your nose to the grindstone and be thankful for the jobs that are still available while you wait this recession out.