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Barclays: How modern shopping has affected our relationship with retailers

Barclays: How modern shopping has affected our relationship with retailers

  • UK
  • No one would argue that we are a nation of shoppers and a nation of smart shoppers at that. But it seems our relationship with retailers has dramatically changed in recent times. Once loyal and dedicated to our favourite shops and outlets, a third of us has turned into promiscuous purchasers. While at the other end of the spectrum, the current economic climate has turned a further third of us into careful consumers who plan well ahead and never deviate from our shopping list.
  • Barclays
  • New consumer study from Barclaycard Freedom Rewards reveals four new modern shopping ‘tribes’
  • Introducing the Bargain Hunter Gatherer, the High Street Pounder, the Screen Saver and the Profit Prophet
  • Barclaycard Freedom Rewards, the credit card for the modern shopper, shows recent economic and cultural changes have made striking impacts on the nation’s shopping habits

New research out today from Barclaycard – which processes nearly half of all card transactions in the UK – together with consumer experts at Brunel University, shows that the recent economic climate has made a lasting impact on how we approach shopping and saving money. Bagging a bargain goes far beyond just saving cash, people now place far greater value on the emotional investment of smart spending giving rise to four new modern shopping tribes.

We are a disloyal bunch; in the last five years our paradigm has shifted, giving rise to the promiscuous purchaser. A third of British adults (32%) specifically pointed out that we now shop at far more brands and shops, with almost three in five (59%) choosing to shop around to check on prices before settling on a particular deal. Introducing the Bargain Hunter Gatherer: an expert at collecting the best tools, voucher codes and loyalty cards to make their budget go as far as possible, week in, week out. While the kids are doing their homework, she’s doing hers – savvy savings sums – so that her weekly trolley dash is well timed and well budgeted. She’ll buy her basics at her usual supermarket, but nips to a budget store to grab some good value prosecco and parma ham.

Years of careful penny-pinching has impacted our approach to saving. Now, the majority (71%) of Britain is trying to be more careful to save money compared with five years ago. What’s more, nearly half of us (41%) now never leave the house to pick up groceries without a detailed shopping list. Step forward the Profit Prophet: the archetypal spreadsheet shopper, this person plans their purchases well ahead of time, with Christmas present buying in January. They are super organised and feel totally out of control if they have to make an important purchase at the last minute.

Shopping online is not new. But with online spend now growing 12% year on year[v], it reflects 20% of total spend in the UK and almost one in ten (7%) of us claiming to never ever set foot in a shop for non-essential items, it’s clear that its impact is gargantuan. The highest number of people who claim to shop almost exclusively online now, whereas they were more of a high street shopper five years ago, are based in the South East (24%), East Midlands (23%) and East of England (22%). These shoppers are being dubbed the Screen Savers: shoppers who barely ever leave the comfort of their living room or office to make purchases. Or else, they’re busy tracking down the latest must-have items from their smartphones, ‘screen grabbing’ information and research in the palm of their hand on the go.

A growing group of us (24%) are choosing to shop at local independent shops instead of big high street chains either online or in store. The High Street Pounder will quite literally pound the streets to get the very best deals. A real champion of ‘shopping local’, this shopper prefers to hit the ground and haggle for what they want. They make the time to get it right and make negotiation the aim of the game. This active shopper is likely to cover miles each week to reach their shopping goals.

To have and to hold

We use and rely on loyalty and reward cards so much that arguably it has become a currency in its own right. Despite not showing loyalty to one brand over another, 88% of us own at least one loyalty card – perhaps with most of us having a wallet stuffed full of them. However, the most common way we spend our points is not to lavish treats on ourselves, but to make our everyday essentials budget go even further (40% of us use points in this way).

Craig Evans, Director of Partnerships at Barclaycard, said:

“We know that people like to shop around, nearly half of the UK population (42%) shop at more than one supermarket chain to get the best deal. Because of that, we’ve designed the Barclaycard Freedom Rewards credit card with the modern shopper in mind. Like some other rewards cards you get points wherever you shop but as we know the weekly shop and petrol spend takes 30% of average family’s weekly budget, we give double points at any UK petrol station or supermarket. So wherever you shop, you get the best value.

“We also recently opened the online Freedom Rewards store where people can earn triple points shopping with over 50 favourite brands. Plus, with over 70 redemption partners Freedom Rewards gives you the broadest range of high street brands, big online names and great places to spend time with your family, to choose rewards from.”

Dr. Dorothy A. Yen, retail expert from Brunel University, said:

“It’s been fascinating to look at how modern life and the economic climate have impacted on our shopping habits. As a nation, we’ve evolved into incredibly sophisticated shopping experts. Some of us are clearly savvier than others but with the wealth of deals and loyalty incentives out there, we’ve all developed a system that works for us. What was particularly interesting for us was the clear emergence of four very specific shopping ‘tribes’ who encompass the key consumer attributes most prevalent at the checkout – real or virtual – today.”

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