The recession has made the U.K.’s shoppers more demanding, according to research into 700 consumers by Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster. More than seven in ten say they have become more careful and smarter at shopping than they used to be, and over half think they are more demanding.
This more mindful and measured approach to consumption is reflected in shopping habits. More than seven in ten say that saving money makes them feel good about themselves, and two-thirds are consumed by getting the best deals possible. Shoppers also want good basic products, not frills. Sixty-five percent no longer want “bells and whistles” on products they buy, just the functions they really need.
The survey also found that 54 percent of the UK’s shoppers are also now buying more own label products, with 58 percent saying own label quality is as good as that of named brands. More than two-thirds (68 percent) are using coupons and discount offers more than they used to. They are also prepared to be more vocal, with over seven in ten telling lots of others when they have bad experiences with a retailer or brand.
There is also a good deal of cynicism over sources of shopping information. Only 18 percent trust what they read, see and hear in the media, while 52 percent do not, and 57 percent trust reviews from fellow customers more than those of “experts,” with only 11 percent trusting the experts equally or more. Around two-thirds now routinely conduct research online before they buy.
Says Graham Lancaster, chairman of Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster, “The days of the compliant consumer are well and truly over. Social media channels and savvy buying habits have put shoppers firmly where they belong—in the driving seat.
“The essence of an efficient market system is rooted in customers making informed consumer choices and this new age of the demanding consumer should be welcomed. Brands with authentic product and service benefits have nothing to fear and will prosper in this more exacting climate. So should British business. Since the 17th century and the industrial revolution, innovation has been in the U.K.’s DNA and the high expectations of today’s shoppers will prove an opportunity not a threat.”