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The price is right: Pandemic drives price sensitivity among grocery shoppers, Pricer’s data reveals

  Whilst economic uncertainty is making shoppers more sensitive to pricing and promotions in-store, younger demographics prove more loyal to branded purchases, the latest research from Pricer, the world’s most reliable provider of ESLs (Electronic Shelf Labels), reveals.

Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in the latest ‘Pricer Consumer Insight Report 2021’ Report’, showed that when it comes to grocery spend, one in six (59%) consumers are more price sensitive now compared to before the start of the pandemic, with just 15% saying their price sensitivity hasn’t been impacted. 

Almost two thirds (62%) of supermarket shoppers are now more likely to compare prices at the shelf edge in order to keep food bills down, with female shoppers 10% more likely to price compare in the aisle than their male counterparts (67% of women vs 57% of men). 

This increased sensitivity to prices has also impacted shopper loyalty, with almost half (49%) saying they have swapped from branded goods to own label in a bid to save cash.  Two fifths (22%) however remained loyal to the branded goods they buy and opted not to switch, and it was younger demographics who proved the most loyal; 25 – 34-year olds were the least likely to switch, with just 15% prepared to trade in branded goods to keep costs of their supermarket shopping down.

Price, value perception and promotional availability were the top motivators when it came to consumers switching loyalty at the shelf-edge.  Eight in ten (79%) opted to switch for a better value for money or cheaper option in the aisle, while 37% said they would switch if a better quality item was available on discount and 29% changed their product choice to make the most of multi-buy deal, such as a BOGOF promotion.

However, while pricing and promotions sensitivity had increased, cost was not the only factor impacting consumers buying decisions in-store; access to information to help consumers validate their buying decisions was a key consideration.  Over half (57%) wanted more access to product information in addition to pricing at the shelf edge, and a further 57% also said they would like to see sourcing and ingredients information at the shelf edge to help inform their buying decisions.

Attitudes to promotions were also impacted with 60% of shoppers now more conscious of deals, and more likely to actively seek out promotional offers on products to make their money go further.   40% admitted being so committed to seeking out discounts they changed the times when they shop, opting for the end of the day when they believe more discounts will be offered on items, such as fresh and ambient. 

Duncan Potter, CMO at Pricer, commented: “We’re seeing the dynamics of pricing and promotions becoming a lot more fluid in the shopper’s psyche, which means retailers need to be able to better react to these changes in an equally flexible manner.  This means being more consistent with pricing and promotions across sales channels, as well as being able to react to opportunities within the market in a nimbler fashion.  

“By digitalising its shelf-edge, pricing and promotions become more dynamic and accurate, and at the same time it makes the shelf-edge work harder to deliver value to customers, increasing conversions and improving in-aisle experiences,” he added.

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