The recession may have left unemployment rates a mess and killed the housing market, but if you’re looking for a silver lining, here it is: we’re all better shoppers now because of it.

According to Deloitte’s 2011 Annual Pantry Survey, three-quarters of more than 4,000 respondents think they shop smarter than they did last year, with 86 percent saying they’re now more precise about what they buy.

The reason behind this could have something to do with the internet — since 90 percent of the people surveyed said they know what they’re going to buy before they even walk into a store, they’re clearly doing research ahead of time.

Further, more than half of consumers know when the products they want will be on sale and time their buying excursions accordingly.

“Shoppers today expect to get a deal on the products they purchase,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and consumer products sector leader. “With this mindset it is critical that consumer products companies take measures to enhance brand loyalty by connecting early and often with key audiences in environments outside of the store.”

[Consumerist]