New research indicates lowest price isn’t the “be all” for UK shoppers, according to the latest report from Shoppercentric, an independent agency specialising in shopper research.
The survey also revealed that just one in four define ‘value’ as being about low, or lowest, price, and ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ (BOGOF) deals remain shopper’s top promotion, with vouchers and coupons showing best growth.
The research entitled “WindowOn the Value Equation” reveals the latest trends in promotions and what ‘value’ actually means to shoppers today.
Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric, said:
“Retailers work with a range of strategies designed to tap into shoppers’ desire for value – especially important in this period of austerity.
“They have to work extremely hard to counter continued consumer pessimism and the tell-tale signs of this are rife – from January sales before Christmas, to spring sales in February and constant promotions in-store.
“All of these efforts serve one purpose: to coax cautious shoppers to spend a bit more.
“Delivering ‘value’ is more important than ever, but what does value actually mean to today’s shopper?
“Our research explores this and more – the findings of which are a wake-up call to the retail industry.”
The survey also asks what constitutes good value to UK shoppers. Key findings include:
- ‘Getting the most for the money I planned to spend’ scores highest (28% of shoppers).
- 21% of shoppers say for them, ‘Getting the right quality for the money I planned to spend’ is most important.
- ‘Feeling that what I’m buying is worth the money I’m spending’ scores 20%.
- In popular promotions BOGOF deals remain the most attractive promotion (for 76% of UK shoppers) but this is down from 79% in 2009.
- Money off single items takes second place in popularity with 66%, but again this is down from 69%.
- Vouchers and coupons have experienced the biggest increase in usage and replace multi-buys to take third place, with 53% of shoppers saying they use vouchers and coupons now – an increase of 6% since 2009.
Looking at how retailers compare, Tesco, despite a problematic start to 2012, remains the retailer “most likely” to be associated with good overall value by UK shoppers (42%).
Its highest score on individual factors is for ‘good promotions’ (26%) but discounters and M&S score higher for this area (with 27% and 40% respectively).
Asda scores well across individual factors and across the board for ‘good overall value’ for 35% of shoppers.
Sainsbury’s comes out well for fresh, quality produce that lasts, but scores drop to just 9% for low prices.
Morrisons’ drive to deliver real freshness at good prices sees it out performing Sainsbury’s on all factors, although not yet challenging the much stronger ‘freshness’ positions of Waitrose and M&S.
Pinnington said: “Our research should be a much needed reminder to the retail industry, and brand manufacturers, that promotions aren’t the answer to the economic downturn.
“A sales spike is not a real change in behaviour.
“And a BOGOF is not always value for money.
“When shoppers are feeling the pinch it is important that retailers really understand their needs and align their offers to the new shopper requirements.
“Retailers that take a stand on a specific issue, such as quality or price, better differentiate themselves in shoppers’ minds – this is vital since shoppers have access to so many different retailers nowadays.
“We think there is also a wake-up call here for Sainsbury’s.
“The current ‘brandmatch’ campaign does not appear to have translated into strong value for money perceptions among shoppers.
“This could be down to the fact that there are times when brandmatch tells you your basket has cost several pounds more than a competitive shop, in which case the fact that Sainsbury’s will give you your money back on your next purchase feels like a backhanded compliment.
“Retailers and their suppliers need to be more aware of the wider definition of ‘Value’ and cater for all shopper needs. Relying purely on price is not only a lazy strategy but, if used long term, a damaging one too.”