Are shoppers becoming thriftier, or, are they just better informed?

I was prompted to ponder on this when I had a chat recently with a journalist. It is a fascinating topic… Something has changed, perhaps as a result of the downturn, perhaps as a result of price transparency and rapid access to price comparison. Whatever the reason is, it does appear that the consumer is more considered in the way they chose to spend.

Trust in the retailer is important in higher price purchases

Retailers most well known for offering no quibble service guarantees and extended warrantees, such as John Lewis have been doing very well. No one would call them a lower price point retailer, so it seems that consumers will still spend but will take the time to make sure that if they need to come back with an issue they will be dealt with fairly and that their hard earned cash won’t be wasted.

Retail pricing has become much more transparent to the consumer

Online retail and the extend of Multi-channel retailing has made retail pricing much more transparent to the consumer. Therefore, as consumers, we have all the information available to us to ensure we can purchase items at the lowest possible price or chose to pay more if we want faster delivery, extended warrantees etc – this means that people do tend to talk about how successful they have been at finding items at bargain prices, it’s something of a conquest. I am sure you’ve heard people competing to tell the tales of where they have found an item at a lower price than their friend… The fact is, comparison shopping websites also make it somewhat inexcusable to not have attempted to shop around! We all feel foolish if someone can prove we’ve over paid…

So, are people more thrifty now than in the past 5-10 years?

Finally, we all know people who have lost income as a result of interest rates falling or who have lost their jobs, we hear about spending cuts daily and whilst consumer confidence is up and down like a yo-yo, depending what you read, the general feeling is definitely cautious – and hence I would say people are yes a lot more thrifty, and this is partly because we have rapid access to comparison pricing and partly because we’re keen to take a little longer to ensure we keep as much of our cash in our pockets as we can! As Tesco tell us over and over again, every little helps!

About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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1 Response to Are shoppers becoming thriftier, or, are they just better informed?

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