Has Competition Been More Fierce Since Recession Began?

I haven't shopped much since COVID started. Only done online & phone shops here and there. Wondering if the ms-ing landscape has gotten more fierce in competition. I remember forum talk speculating on how things would unfold. Lots more shoppers and driving down of compensation? More shoppers, but same or even higher fees for veteran shoppers able to do quality work? Lots more shoppers who start the work, but give up?

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I am seeing peanut-pay shops disappear quickly in my area. Hopefully the newbies or whoever is doing them will quickly realize their operational loss and quit.

sestrahelena
How do you calculate someone else's IC numbers? Do you have some secret access to their private information?

@sestrahelena wrote:

I am seeing peanut-pay shops disappear quickly in my area. Hopefully the newbies or whoever is doing them will quickly realize their operational loss and quit.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
I’m actually seeing more heavily bonused jobs here. Whether that is because there are fewer shoppers or more new shoppers flaking I of course have no way of knowing.
Most of my big money makers are now gone or on just suspended for the foreseeable future.

But not a bad deal, as I’m literally just working my usual 40 with my full time job and have lots more time to myself for once.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
@Tarantado wrote:

Most of my big money makers are now gone or on just suspended for the foreseeable future.
For a long time I didn't see anything but Market Force shops (which I would take if the pay got high enough, just for something to do). Recently I've done an apartment shop, retail is starting to creep back in, and I just got back from a regional car wash chain shop. However, with the exception of the apartment nothing pays well; like Tarantado said the shops I counted on to boost my monthly bottom line aren't around.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
@KathyG wrote:

@Tarantado wrote:

Most of my big money makers are now gone or on just suspended for the foreseeable future.
For a long time I didn't see anything but Market Force shops
Interesting. I'm in Virginia and have been constantly seeing lots of shops. Not sure I'd call them the "big bucks" earners, but still a lot out there (if just for volume's sake). Our unemployment rate is one of the better ones across the country, so maybe the local economy is strong and people are all working and don't need to ms more having lost their job(s). *Just a guess.* Virginia/D.C. has a heavy government and military jobs industry, which is quite recession-proof, so I wouldn't expect other places to have these dynamics.
MS jobs have started to increase this last month as more and more are coming back. I have noticed MSCS initially trying to pay less for the shops aka lower starting fee than pre covid and that there is less bonus money being offered or given. All this is starting to ease up however and go back to normal. Response time and shop grading have been slower to non existent. When I make an offer at least have the decency to say sorry I can't meet your price. Thankfully I have other ways to make money till this blows over.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

How do you calculate someone else's IC numbers? Do you have some secret access to their private information?

@sestrahelena wrote:

I am seeing peanut-pay shops disappear quickly in my area. Hopefully the newbies or whoever is doing them will quickly realize their operational loss and quit.
Some platforms (Prophet) let you see who took what shop and at what rate, although it's possible there is some invisible bonus or rate negotiated that doesn't show up on it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2020 09:58PM by shoptastic.
For one shop, there is a sluggish $10 bonus. In the past, I saw more than double the initial fee as a month passed. I hope this changes. The initial fee is not bad for the amount of work, but getting the larger bonuses just feels good.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
This. Is. Outrageous.


@shoptastic wrote:

@Shop-et-al wrote:

How do you calculate someone else's IC numbers? Do you have some secret access to their private information?

@sestrahelena wrote:

I am seeing peanut-pay shops disappear quickly in my area. Hopefully the newbies or whoever is doing them will quickly realize their operational loss and quit.
Some platforms (Prophet) let you see who took what shop and at what rate, although it's possible there is some invisible bonus or rate negotiated that doesn't show up on it.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
^^^Sorry, it doesn't show "who" took the shop (as in the shopper name/person), but rather that the shop was taken and what the listed rate was (sometimes a bonus will show).
Back to the original topic, I've found the competition to be a lot less than before the shutdown. Not talking about the fees, I found a lot more shops staying on the boards and a lot more getting bonuses than before. I find I'm getting almost every shop I apply for.
I dunno about competition. I know about a few changes: I am seeing different types of merch gigs than I saw before the shutdown. I do not know if this is due to shutdowns of MSC's which brought the contracts to "my" companies, the addition of projects to the overall mix, and/or to the absence of other merchandisers who would have done these assignments if they were comfortable, healthy, etc. If these assignments are available in future, I will consider them-- but in more efficient [for me] mini-routes. If not, at least I had some fun doing a new-to-me type of work and learning how to plan a really efficient work day that can withstand the vagaries of the early morning job which frequently is quite late...

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
Interesting.

Age-related drop-outs make sense in the time of COVID. Younger people that I've recommended ms-ing to have almost never taken it up. One look at the guidelines and they'll usually say it looks too tedious for a mediocre fee. I did successfully get a few friends and family members to do Five Guys, however. That is a relatively easy and enjoyable shop I find a lot of people like.
@shoptastic wrote:

^^^Sorry, it doesn't show "who" took the shop (as in the shopper name/person), but rather that the shop was taken and what the listed rate was (sometimes a bonus will show).
speaking of which...

Does Trend Source's system let you see bonuses of others? I can see when shops are taken (and there is that option to be placed on back-up duty). I don't think I've ever seen any indication from their system that someone took a shop for higher than base, however. On Prophet, you can see bonuses.
In my area which prior to covid had few and far between bonuses that were single digit I am seeing mostly large chain shops. Many of these are going untaken so they are bonusing them here which never happened before. I suspect the shopper pool of those willing to go out to a shop is a lot smaller and these huge chains in a city the size of LA have so many, many locations. So with rotations on some I think they are running out of shoppers. Even those shopping sometimes want to limit their number of shops and there fore exposure to the virus. Indoor activity is severely restricted so that segment of shops has not come back.
If that was in an article, would you be kind enough to point us to where? I'd love to read it, and it probably has other relevant info.

@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
Is there more competition? It's hard to say. Overall I would say there are many less jobs than prepandemic. Some of the lower paying jobs are seeming to disappear quickly. However, I actually made a good deal of fees on well-bonused audits during October. I've said this before and still believe that auditing can be lucrative because so few people are willing to accept these jobs.

So, I'm not complaining. I'll also add that I just started working again in September after getting sick in early March.
@ceasesmith wrote:

If that was in an article, would you be kind enough to point us to where? I'd love to read it, and it probably has other relevant info.

@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
No article. Just a phone call with an MSC owner.
I wasn't going to do any shopping but I saw a curbside pickup shop for a business I needed to order something from so I took the shop. Very easy and got $5 reimbursement toward my item plus a fee. I was actually surprised someone hadn't beaten me to the shop!

Kim
I just started MSCing after the pandemic. I prefer to do mystery food shops. I am tired of the same burger place and drive in restaurant. Were there alot more restaurants pre-pandemic? Or was it only these 2 to 3 chains.
Yes and yes. There are lots of shops that have not come back yet. In my state we just recently were allowed into mall retail stores and it varies in each state and city. The restaurants are not yet fully operational. When all is back you will see lots more shops and more variety. But it sounds like you are only working for one company. Sign up with many more using the list at the bottom of the page and you will find more.


@shopaholic1 wrote:

I just started MSCing after the pandemic. I prefer to do mystery food shops. I am tired of the same burger place and drive in restaurant. Were there alot more restaurants pre-pandemic? Or was it only these 2 to 3 chains.
If that is the case I would think that eventually fees would go up.
@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
@KathyG wrote:

If that is the case I would think that eventually fees would go up.
@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
I see more bonuses, not necessarily higher fees. But the bottom line is more money for the shopper - supply and demand.
@KathyG wrote:

If that is the case I would think that eventually fees would go up.
@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
I think this theory could hold if the economy remains stable or continues to recover. If we contract again (which I tend to think is more likely, given no stimulus extension and COVID rising into the winter), then increased/continuing layoffs and bankruptcies could possibly affect ms-ing through their ripple effects. Maybe we see less shops and entirely closed programs and/or more people taking shops at base.

This was from USA Today Nov. 2nd.
[www.usatoday.com]
@ wrote:

Nearly one in 10 U.S. businesses plan to lay off workers during the final three months of the year as a result of the outbreak, according to a survey of human resource executives at 330 companies conducted by the Conference Board last month.
High national unemployment still + running out of stimulus support could change the supply/demand equation.
Yes, bonuses make more sense. That way they're not committed to the extra expenses once things improve.
@SoCalMama wrote:

@KathyG wrote:

If that is the case I would think that eventually fees would go up.
@SoCalMama wrote:

MSC industry people say up to 70% of shoppers are no longer actively shopping. (Demographics - more than 50% are over 50 years old, probably higher than that actually.)
I see more bonuses, not necessarily higher fees. But the bottom line is more money for the shopper - supply and demand.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
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