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Austerity and technology spawn new breed of consumer: research

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A new breed of shoppers is being born from the collision of austerity and technology, argues new research.

Online shopping and research are crucial to this new breed, dubbed the Xtreme shopper by research company GfK in its new Own the Future of Shopper Marketing report. These Xtreme shoppers are largely aged between 25 and 44 and are in full-time employment. But despite their relative affluence they are focused on value when they shop, and in their hunt for bargains they are looking online.

According to GfK, whose research took in shopping attitudes in France, Germany, Poland, Russia and Spain as well as the UK and the US, 95% of European Xtreme shoppers research products online, compared to 66% of US Xtreme shoppers. That’s true even though 90% of the US group agrees shopping online is more efficient, compared to 80% of European Xtremers.

Some 72% of the European group says it uses the internet more than before to research products, compared to 68% of those in the US. And 70% of the Europeans use the internet more than before to shop for goods. That trend is particularly striking in the UK and in Poland, where three quarters or more Xtremers are increasing their use of the internet to buy goods.

Thie trend goes hand in hand with increased use of the internet. Some 47% of European Xtremers and 58% of their American counterparts use the internet for more than 10 hours a day.

“There is clear indication that the trends we are seeing are set to rise,” said Alison Chaltas of GfK, “with the Xtreme shopper segment increasingly adopting their mobile phones and tablets to help them shop. This is especially strong in Russia and Spain, where a third of shoppers are using their mobiles more than ever to shop.”

But, she warned, the downside of this boost to online shopping is extreme competition. “Over three-quarters of European Xtreme shoppers and two-thirds of US ones say they are less loyal to any one retailer because they need to shop around for value,” said Chaltas.

“Retailers therefore need to find a way to reward loyal customers that will resonate with their current needs – a statement that nearly nine out of ten of all shoppers surveyed agreed with.”

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