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Shopping behaviour has ‘fundamentally changed’ due to recession

A long-running monthly survey of thousands of consumers throughout the recession finds that changes in UK shopping behaviour during the downturn may be irreversible, according to Datamonitors.

Annabel Gorringe, senior financial analyst at Datamonitor, said:

“It is easier to understand why people have changed their behaviour when you consider that although the economy is in recovery, nearly half (48%) of UK consumers feel worse off now than they did six months ago. Undoubtedly purse strings will remain tight.”

The research shows how consumers are going beyond simply opting for cheaper or own-brands when shopping, and are now changing their lifestyle which is having a huge knock on effect on how they shop.

People are making long-term changes, with 43% now limiting the number of their shopping trips to reduce the amount of products they waste from non use, and reduce the proportion of ‘non essential’ items that end up in their trolleys.

This has quickly translated into a trend of making one weekly shop and then a smaller ‘top up’ trip for specific items as consumers bid to avoid the temptation of buying additional items.

As a result of this, consumers are now far more conscious about what they bin, with 42% saying they’re wasting less food and drink now to save costs. With shoppers so concerned about waste innovative ideas like ‘buy one, get one later’ – already trialled by Tesco – will prove popular.

Gorringe said:

“Retailers need to be aware of the shift in the way people now think about doing their shopping.” The recession has changed the way consumers shop; creating a far savvier shopper who is now completely re-thinking the way they spend their money and in the process creating ‘new norms’ that will continue throughout the recovery and beyond.

“Retailers cannot count on shoppers reverting to old pre-recession behaviour. Instead our research shows new long-term trends are emerging, particularly as uncertainty remains over the stability of the economic recovery in light of the new coalition government.”

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