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!