If there is one area of the economy that is causing the greatest concern, it’s the future of consumer spending. How much is being spent, given the economic situation? Where is that spend being done? How can one stay ahead of the technological changes that are affecting the retail environment?
Whilst the outlook at the moment is dire – tough times means shrinking baskets with researchers Inperspective pointing to 88% of shoppers reporting that money is tighter than a year ago – this doesn’t mean the end of retailing or that consumers have stopped buying. It just means that the consumer’s buying habits have changed and as a manufacturer, supplier or retailer you need to tap into these changes and tailor your offering or promotion to still be relevant to that buyer. Some of the changing shopping trends include;
Understanding the value of money
The days of impulse buying and the carefree attitude of ‘earn today, spend today’ is over. Tough times translate to managing debt on the one hand – and saving money on the other hand. Never before has the consumer been so in-tune with the bottom line of what things cost and how they are going to spend those hard-earned Rands and cents.
Comparison shopping the norm
Gone are the days of not worrying what things cost – today’s savvy consumer compares prices and chases the best price. There has been an increase in consumers who compare prices – both in broadsheets and online – and around 80% know the price of the goods they plan to buy.
Brand loyalty not a priority
Whilst consumers still support their favourite brands when it comes to their being ethical, transparent and appealing, when it comes to value-for-money, shoppers will buy across brands to get the best price. This applies to both their choice of retailer and to specific products. As a result, marketing has switched from appealing to brand emotions to becoming more price-driven.