New Research Reveals How UK Shoppers Feel About Spending

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With the current doom and gloom on the high street, retailers are trying harder than ever to draw shoppers in. Yet according to a survey of British consumers conducted by shopper marketing agency Live & Breathe there is still a great deal of work to be done: for leisure shopping, 36 per cent prefer to shop in a purpose-built shopping centre or mall compared to 33% who remain loyal to the high street. The crowds who visited Westfield when it opened in East London last week are testament to this.

With the current doom and gloom on the high street, retailers are trying harder than ever to draw shoppers in. Yet according to a survey of British consumers conducted by shopper marketing agency Live & Breathe there is still a great deal of work to be done: for leisure shopping, 36 per cent prefer to shop in a purpose-built shopping centre or mall compared to 33% who remain loyal to the high street. The crowds who visited Westfield when it opened in East London several weeks ago are testament to this.

Consumers are increasingly careful when spending. A money-conscious 54 per cent of people will only buy what they can afford to avoid getting into debt, with another 23 per cent saying they save up for things they really want.

Nineteen per cent typically go shopping after they’ve been paid. Perhaps surprisingly, a sizeable minority – 15 per cent of women and 19 per cent of men - throw caution to the wind and buy whenever the mood takes them, regardless of whether or not they can afford it.

When digging deeper into the numbers, 25 per cent of people will go online to see if they can find items cheaper after spotting something they want to buy when out shopping. Almost 22 per cent will trawl around other shops to get something at a lower price while a patient 11 per cent will wait for the sales before buying.

And with shop sales starting earlier and offering bigger bargains – expect to see Christmas sales arriving earlier than ever offering deep discounts - consumers appear to be increasingly resistant to such offers. Almost a quarter of Brits would need something to be cut in price by at least 50 per cent before buying something they didn’t really need, but want. Men have slightly better willpower then women – 28 per cent and 24 per cent respectively - say they never buy something they don’t need.

However from a range of incentives including great service, easy parking, free product samples and loyalty cards, a whopping 60 per cent of women and almost 49 per cent of men say simple money-off vouchers or discounts would make their shopping experience more special.

The research comes from Live & Breathe’s Going Shopping: Are You Being Served? survey of 3,000 British shoppers which polled a nationally representative sample of male and female Brits from across the UK.

The most common problem shoppers encounter regularly in stores is long queues. A total of 48 per cent said queuing to pay for items is a problem and a staggering 88 per cent of people have given up on a purchase because the queue was too long. Crowded shop floors (36 per cent), shops that are too cold or too hot (33 per cent), not being able to find staff to ask for assistance (25 per cent) and unhelpful staff (25 per cent) make up the top five problems shoppers regularly encounter.

And retailers need to think hard about improving the experience by making it easier for shoppers to find key areas such as changing room, tills, toilets and customer service points. On a scale of one to five, with one being very easy and five very hard, Brits voted large shops and department stores at almost 3; clearly there is work to be done.

Nick Gray, managing director of Live & Breathe, says: “You really think retailers would be upping their game. We all know how badly the economy has been hit and how risk-averse shoppers have become. Sadly some of our most iconic retailers have gone under in recent times so more than ever, retailers need to think hard about what their consumers want and how to cater to this. It’s not going to get easier any time soon and for many retailers it will be all about survival. We hope our research will serve to show that with the right sort of changes, it’s still possible to draw shopper in."

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Jo Sensini
Velvet PR
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