More and more wealthy shoppers are now seeking promotions to help them cut everyday costs, and the increasing promotional responsiveness of shoppers has highlighted how the recession is tightening its grip across all social classes, according to research from coupon services provider Valassis.
The company's latest consumer survey found that promotional offers are having a significant influence on the everyday buying habits of 'recession shoppers', and even wealthy consumers are searching for bargain-basement prices.
In fact, 31% of consumers across all social classes said they are looking for promotional offers more than they were one year earlier, and 26% cited a rise in the general cost of living as the main reason for them being more promotionally responsive. Nearly one-third (29%) said it was because food was more expensive, and 21% said it was because they have less money than before.
Among the survey's key findings:
- One in three consumers are looking for promotional offers more than they were a year ago;
- 77% say they have used a coupon for supermarket shopping;
- 34% of wealthy shoppers are stocking up on products they find on promotion;
- 29% of wealthy shoppers now buy more store branded goods than mainstream brands;
- 15% of wealthy consumers are shopping at discount supermarkets.
The research suggests that the appeal of promotional offers, and more specifically coupons, are not exclusive to consumers of lower social status, with wealthier consumers now seeking more bargains than they were a year ago. Some 26% of wealthy consumers said they are now careful to remember their coupons when going to the supermarket.
In more general terms, when consumers across all social classes were asked what changes they had made to their shopping habits over the past 12 months, 36% said that they now stock up on products that are on promotion, while 35% buy more store-branded goods than they did one year ago, and 30% now shop at multiple supermarkets to get the best deals.
Coupon usage is also increasingly popular, with 18% claiming that they are using more coupons than they were one year ago, and 38% saying that coupons influence them to try new products. In total, 77% of consumers said that they had used a coupon for supermarket shopping.
According to Charles D'Oyly, managing director for Valassis, "People are worried about their job security, rising food costs, and whether they will be able to pay their bills every month. Against this backdrop, consumers are increasingly seeking out promotional offers as they carefully watch the pennies. This means that brands now have to fight harder to win new business and to retain their most loyal customers."
The company warns that brands should ensure that their promotional activity is based on a strong understanding of consumer attitudes, and that brand managers will need to gain real insight into the way customers behave in response to promotional activity if they are to drive greater returns for their brands and achieve commercial gains.