According to the article on msnbc.com, Shoppers of All Incomes Are Changing Habits, the recession has induced consumers to rethink their shopping strategies and impulse purchases. This article indicates that many people have reduced the amount of money they spend, especially those who have incomes of under $45,000.
"New" (I quote this because it's not really new... just more noticeable now than a few years' prior) strategies include finding the lowest priced items, quality products, and using coupons. The article also indicates that there are certain items that consumers won't go without: "Topping that list is animal protein: 10 percent [of consumers] said they refuse to give up meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Four categories came in right behind that, with 8 percent saying they're not eliminating alcohol and tobacco; coffee and tea; milk and juice, or household and laundry supplies."
Predictably, the most frequently forgone commodity is clothing. The article indicates, "38 percent say they're purchasing less clothing and 20 percent said they're buying less expensive brands. Clothing is also the category most often chosen — by 29 percent — when asked what they would most likely spend more on as the economy improves."
Therefore, items such as proteins, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, milk, juice, and household supplies are relatively inelastic goods with regard to income. On the other hand, clothing is an inelastic good with regard to income during this recession.
I can see these elasticities in my own home. One thing I won't cut out is food and household supplies. Can others relate to these products? Are you cutting back? What items are you cutting back on?