Everyone shops – it’s part of the national consciousness – but it’s in a constant state of evolution and research suggests there are three key behaviours set to reshape and refine retail in the coming years.

Writing exclusively for WARC, John Gillan, MD for Northern Europe, Criteo, distils the findings that emerged from a psychological examination of the survey answers given by 2,050 consumers across the UK and highlights what these mean for brands.

One is that there is a shift in mindset as people adopt a “conscientious consumerism”. Ethical shopping is one of the fastest growing sectors in retail today; trends like Fairtrade and organic are growing as people want to know more about the provenance of their food, fashion and jewellery and the people who produce it.

Almost half of UK shoppers today (40%) feel more positive about brands that publish their ethical standards – and the internet makes it easier for people to discover the credentials of manufacturers and retailers alike. (For more details, read the full article: The psychology of shopping and the behaviours shaping modern consumerism.)

Secondly, the experience economy has hit the mainstream, as spending here – by all age groups, not just millennials – overtakes more traditional discretionary spend, like leisure or entertainment.

“The major change here however is seeing the behaviour come almost full circle with people once again starting to view the act of shopping itself as an experience,” says Gillan. “The ability to share this experience on and offline is fulfilling a crucial social need for certain consumers.”

Far from killing the high street, these “social capitalists” are giving it whole new meaning.

The flip side of that is that a significant number of people are rejecting the physical experience almost altogether. Rather than using shopping as a social exploit, this group is more likely to derive enjoyment from a feeling of having earned a great deal, says Gillan.

“This is perhaps the subtlest of behavioural changes set to impact mainstream retail,” he adds. Bargain hunting and price comparison have long been part and parcel of the shopping experience – and two in five (44%) will search or wait for a discount code or voucher before buying something – but higher social grades (ABC1) are up to 20% more likely to do so than any other demographic.

“The guilt of senseless splurging simply doesn’t come in to the equation for these savvy shoppers,” Gillan observes.

Sourced from WARC