UK consumers emphasise price and quality

19 October 2009

LONDON: More than 80% of consumers in the UK are now more price conscious than before the recession, but most also expect a high level of quality whatever the cost of the product they buy, according to research from the Future Foundation.

The company, part of Experian, recently presented the results of a study - covered in more detail here - which aimed to determine the possible shape of consumer behaviour after the financial crisis, or what it termed the “new normal”.

Among its predictions were that the “recession psyche”, which is characterised by a more cautionary approach to consumption, will continue to exert a profound influence going forward.

Other key developments include the emergence of the “value-hunting” shopper, meaning brands will need to find ways, other than cost, to drive loyalty if they are to avoid being drawn into heavy discounting.

More broadly, 83% of Britons are exhibiting greater awareness of the price of goods, while two-thirds are keeping a closer eye on their expenditure, and almost half are “carefully budgeting.”

Out-of-home entertainment and holidays are two of the main areas where people are attempting to rein in their outlay, as they seek to pay off debts or conserve funds instead.

However, while 26% of shoppers claim they are opting for a growing number of own-label rather than braded items, two-thirds still buy their favourite products, even though cheaper alternatives are available.

Despite this, more than 50% of customers said their loyalty to specific companies had decreased, with a heightened focus on promotions by manufacturers and retailers one key contributor to this trend.

The challenges for marketers during the recovery will thus involve developing more creative and impactful advertising to minimise price elasticity, the Future Foundation said.

Warc subscribers can view a full report of the Future Foundation's research here.

Data sourced from Warc/Future Foundation