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Shoppers suffer 'promotional fatigue'

Shoppers have become so used to year-round Sales on the high street that they rarely make a purchase at full price, a new report has found.

Retailers stepped up their level of discounting to attract cash-strapped consumers during the recession but this culture has continued beyond the economic recovery, according to a survey of 2,000 UK consumers by shopping centre owner Hammerson and retail research firm Conlumino.

Two out of five respondents felt discounting is losing its impact as more retailers increase their promotional activity, while 57% said they rarely snap up products at their original price tag.

This desire for a bargain means younger consumers in particular are becoming less loyal to brands, with a fifth of 18- to 34-year-olds shopping at a wider variety of retailers than they were pre-recession. Technology is also increasing consumers’ propensity to browse and compare prices.

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said consumers are feeling a sense of “promotional fatigue”, adding: ”Yes, consumers want value but they’re saying they’re bamboozled with the number of offers. It’s about the timing of offers and promotional activity. It needs to be more targeted going forward.”

The majority (84%) of those surveyed say they will continue to shop around for the best deals. Half-price deals are the most effective style of promotion, with more than three-quarters of respondents finding them appealing or very appealing.

The Shopper Tribes report also found consumers are becoming more demanding when it comes to fulfilment. Only 4% are prepared to wait up to a week for their order to arrive in-store or at a designated collection point, while a quarter said they were prepared to wait until the next day.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Some ten years ago I voiced my concerns that we were in danger of going down the US route of constant discounting, the buzz phrase , across the pond then, was 'not how much you paid it, but how little'
    Sadly, by and large, we have become a sales obsessed industry as opposed to margin driven businesses.

    Little surprise then that consumers are 'fatigued' by wall to wall promotional activity!

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  • Not just fatigue. Loyalty is lost by promoting big discounts, only for consumers to find that the (up to) 50% off is on a very small, select group of items. 'Up to' is shamefully in smallest print.

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  • darren hoggett

    It is situation made by very badly managed brands who chase turnover rather than profit - They would be kicked out the door in my business with such bad management style.

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