Research shows shoppers are continuing to use a wide variety of strategies


…Being Prudent is the Most Popular Tactic – with 94 Percent of Shoppers Adopting this Strategy when Shopping…


Shoppercentric (a leading independent agency specialising in shopper research), have today launched the latest update to their recession report. The research shows that UK households are continuing to and increasingly using a wide variety of strategies to help cope with restricted household budgets and rising costs.


This study follows up from Shoppercentric’s “Shopping in the Recession” reports which have been published regularly since the start of the recession back in January 2009. Its purpose is to provide an indication of how shopper attitudes are changing – right now and in the future.


Key findings:


  • Shopper strategies:

o   Prudence – This January saw 94 percent of shoppers adopting this approach making it the most popular strategy. This figure is up by 12 percent since last January and an increase of eight percent since January 2009.

o   Economising – The second most popular strategy this January and one being applied by 92 percent of shoppers – an increase of seven percent since January 2012.

o   Avoidance – Figures for this strategy were consistent at 87 percent in January and April 2012 but following a drop to 84 percent in July (suggesting that shoppers were not as focused on avoiding particular stores or products) this number has increased significantly to 89 percent this January (2012) suggesting that avoidance – or resisting temptation, is back on the agenda for a vast number of shoppers.

o   Active shopping – The tactic of shopping around to find the best prices has seen a resurgence this January. Figures dropped from 84 percent back in January 2009 to a low of 76 in July 2010, but then saw a steady increase to 85 percent in January 2012. Despite a small drop in July last year (to 81 percent), figures are now at an all-time high of 87 percent.


  • Behaviours are more entrenched – with higher levels of ‘strongly agree’ compared with previous years. This reflects the continuing need to be savvy:

o   2013 Compared with 2009 – the start of the recession

§  Wastage – With 32 percent of January 2013 shoppers strongly agreeing that they now avoid waste, this is the largest increase in behaviour type. It is a 12 percent increase on 2009 figures.

§  Pricing – 34 percent of today’s shoppers are more aware of pricing than they used to be (versus 23 percent back in 2009) – an increase of 11 percent.

§  Making things go further – 28 percent of shoppers are trying to get more out of their purchases versus 17 percent back in 2009.

§  Promotions – 32 percent of 2013 shoppers seek out promotions that save money rather than give them more of the same. Back in January 2009 at the start of the recession this stood at 23 percent.

§  Avoiding expensive/upmarket shops – 30 percent of shoppers now stay away from the shops known to be more exclusive and costly. This is a significant increase from 21 percent back in 2009.


“Thanks to the prolonged recession period, there has been a fundamental shift in the consumer mind-set and it is clear from these figures that retailers and brands will need to use a range of strategies to persuade shoppers to part with their hard-earned cash this year,” said Iona Carter, Director at Shoppercentric.  “Savvy behaviours are becoming engrained and consumers are feeling increasingly confident that they can get the most out of their money. We fully suspect that even if the economy turns the corner in 2013, after such a sustained downturn, shoppers will not be keen to return to the prolific spending levels of the past. So it is important for brands and retailers to react to the changing situation, and to catch up with changing needs. Successful marketing strategies will focus on understanding shoppers needs, exploring what value means beyond price point or promotion and look to generate interest in-store through more creative retail environments – or even more interactive transactional sites online.


Although promotions and discounting will still play an important role in retail strategy – and to shoppers, it’s a tactic that the providers can ill-afford to sustain indefinitely and heavily rely on. It is resetting shoppers price expectations and affecting the bottom line. There are other ways to help and inspire shoppers to spend and provide a good value and quality experience.”


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