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Shoppers challenge the increase of prices in brick-and-mortar stores as they alter their purchasing habits

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The UK may not – yet – be in recession, but shoppers are certainly starting to feel the pinch, with a considerable proportion of them having to adjust their purchasing norms.

According to the annual ‘Shopper Stock Take’ report from Shoppercentric, more than a quarter (26%) of UK shoppers report having noticed prices increasing a lot, while 56% say they have seen small spikes. Consumers primarily put these increases down to the state of the economy (54%) and Brexit (50%), although the exchange rate, cost of ingredients and ’greedy’ companies are also blamed by a fair proportion of shoppers.

Some four in five shoppers say that they are now “being careful to avoid waste” and three in four of them say to “avoid being tempted to buy things I don’t need,” which serves as a proof that consumers have tightened their belts in the face of suffering economy.

When it comes to hunting for a bargain to save some money, one in two UK consumers are now “going out their way to find the best prices,” and will “split shopping across different stores to get the best deals.” In addition, three in five of UK consumers opt for “buying own label where [they] can keep the costs down”, and one in five are using “online shopping to check spending as [they go].”

The report goes on to say that 2017 saw a continued increase in the proportion of shoppers who had abandoned weekly main shops in favour of shopping little and often-rising from 11% to 16%. This year, however, there has been no change in that figure, suggesting this trend has reached a ceiling.

Instead, shoppers are becoming more active as they make the most out of their choice available, with shoppers average repertoire has changed to five stores or websites in the last fortnight-an increase of 1% in 2017.

Some 33% of shoppers switch stores based on what they need to get the best places for what they want; this is an increase from 28% in 2017.

“This is the third year that we have conducted our Shopper Stock Take, and our report delivers the shopper perspective behind the behaviours that have driven the latest retail sales results,” says Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric.

“We asked UK shoppers how they felt about the stability of their household budgets; how their shopping habits are changing; and what brands and retailers need to do as a result.”

He continues: “If, as our report shows, shoppers are actively widening their repertoires, loyalty as we used to know it is an outdated term. This is not the year to hunker down and hopes the storm passes over with limited damage. Now is the time to get out and about amongst today’s consumers and shoppers so that marketing strategies resonate with their needs, flexing as those needs change to cope with whatever 2018 throws at them.”

Image credit: oneinchpunch (Fotolia)

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