LONDON: Over 60% of consumers in the UK are making "trade offs" during the purchase process, although this does not always involve buying cheaper products, a new study has suggested.

survey of 2,001 adults conducted by first direct, the banking group, showed 61% typically adhere to at least one type of concession when shopping.

Some 34% of interviewees now bought food brands available on special offer at supermarkets so they could afford "other treats", and 30% were cutting back on overall spending to save for the future.

As an example, a 22% share of customers bought more expensive pieces of clothing in the belief they should last longer, and 20% took the opposite route, acquiring several items at cheaper chains. This latter figure rose to 23% for female respondents.

Meanwhile, another 11% of consumers tended to forego "personal treats" like coffee or magazines so they were able to obtain more costly items in different categories.

"Even though people's personal budgets are being squeezed, we are instinctively very good at weighing up our options to get ourselves the best possible deal," said Davnet Reid, head of customer marketing at first direct.

Elsewhere, precisely 30% of contributors chose to walk in an effort to help the environment despite the fact it took longer. Exactly 25% of those polled were taking shorter holidays at nicer resorts, and 23% had booked lengthier trips at cheaper destinations.

Travelling at off-peak times to get discounted tickets was actually the most common form of trading off, however, having been mentioned by 39% of the sample.

The main reasons for making such decisions cited by the panel were to stretch their financial resources on 35%, enjoying life on 23% and feeling more positive on 13%.

Some demographic variations also emerged, as 78% of people below 24 years of age had made these types of compromises, a total declining to 64% for individuals who were 55 years old and above.

Within this, half of the younger audience had traded off to make savings, falling to 29% for their older counterparts. Such figures hit 37% and 15% in turn for shopping at cheaper stores.

Participants in the under-24 year old segment had similarly implemented the greatest cutbacks to their current expenditure to save for the future, as 36% were engaging in this activity.

"It is interesting to see more young people taking this approach as they want to get the most value out of the money they have. If they can keep these habits as they get older and their income grows, they should be able to make their money go even further in the future," said Reid.

Data sourced from first direct; additional content by Warc staff