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Retail Sector Price Surveys

Overview

A number of surveys provide information on consumers' increased price consciousness and shopping around for value in 2010.

A survey conducted by The National Consumer Agency in November/December 2010 relating to 'Household Budgeting and Impact of the Recession' reported 72% saying they would continue to shop around for better deals even when the economy stabilises and returns to growth. In addition, two-thirds have learnt to manage their finances better as a result of the recession.  44% were spending more time 'bargain hunting' when buying groceries, with 36% spreading their shopping across a number of shops and 34% of consumers spending less on groceries overall.

Figure6.6 

This bears out the findings of an earlier study (Shopping and Pricing Household Budgeting and Impact of the Recession, January 2010)[3] , wherein The National Consumer Agency analysed the grocery shopping habits of consumers and found that a total of 55% of grocery shoppers had changed their behaviour during 2009 - a slight increase on the previous research carried out.

The main changes include cutting back on treats for the family, something which has increased by 14% to 56%. The proportion of those buying less continues to climb, with almost half of shoppers (46%) saying they are now doing so.

Seven in 10 Irish consumers claimed to be aware of the prices of everyday goods such as milk, bread and petrol. Those responsible for the main shop were buying more own brand goods than in previous years, with 38% of the main grocery shop now consisting of own brand goods.

The greatest change was in the number of shoppers who are beginning to take advantage of special offers - up 15% -  with over half (54%) seeking out special offers. When asked, over 3 in 4 of those responsible for the main grocery shop would prefer to see supermarkets offering more long term lower prices than short-term special offers.

However, only 13% of consumers who are responsible for the main grocery shop believe that they know how promotions and special offers are funded and almost two in five believe that it is through lower prices and that the retailers make no profit. When asked if they were aware that retailers sometimes sell items at a loss in order to entice customers into the stores, 38% said yes.
Value also emerges as the dominant theme in consumer research carried out by Bord Bia.  Its 'Consumer In Control' study also reports that functionality and performance of products has increased in prominence over the emotional aspects of brand values. However, the need to cut back on `big ticket' expenditure has meant that people want to compensate through more indulgent choices in everyday purchasing behaviour.  Their research suggests that products that offer a luxury experience will increase in appeal again as prosperity returns but the pursuit of value is likely to remain even after the recession.

The Bord Bia 'Price and Value Study - Second Wave' report  (May 2010) found 80% of consumers saying that they pay more attention to grocery prices than previously and a similar number are shopping around for value more than before. 90% purchase brands on promotion as part of their grocery shopping.

[3]Available at http://www.consumerconnect.ie/eng/News_+_Research/Press%20Releases/Market_research_on_consumers_and_the_recession.html

Seven in 10 Irish consumers claimed to be aware of the prices of everyday goods such as milk, bread and petrol. Those responsible for the main shop were buying more own brand goods than in previous years, with 38% of the main grocery shop now consisting of own brand goods.

The greatest change was in the number of shoppers who are beginning to take advantage of special offers - up 15% -  with over half (54%) seeking out special offers. When asked, over 3 in 4 of those responsible for the main grocery shop would prefer to see supermarkets offering more long term lower prices than short-term special offers..

However, only 13% of consumers who are responsible for the main grocery shop believe that they know how promotions and special offers are funded and almost two in five believe that it is through lower prices and that the retailers make no profit. When asked if they were aware that retailers sometimes sell items at a loss in order to entice customers into the stores, 38% said yes.

Value also emerges as the dominant theme in consumer research carried out by Bord Bia.  Its 'Consumer In Control'  study also reports that functionality and performance of products has increased in prominence over the emotional aspects of brand values. However, the need to cut back on 'big ticket' expenditure has meant that people want to compensate through more indulgent choices in everyday purchasing behaviour.  Their research suggests that products that offer a luxury experience will increase in appeal again as prosperity returns but the pursuit of value is likely to remain even after the recession.

The Bord Bia Price and Value Study - Second Wave report  (May 2010) found 80% of consumers saying that they pay more attention to grocery prices than previously and a similar number are shopping around for value more than before. 90% purchase brands on promotion as part of their grocery shopping.