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Will the consumer ever pay full price again?

We’re living in interesting times. With the economy in freefall, survival of the fittest is the name of the game. The retail industry has responded in a predictable manner. Sales are earlier than usual and special offers are everywhere to be found. If you shop online you’ll know that there’s no need to ever pay the full retail price. I receive numerous emails daily from various online stores with the latest discount codes to offer our readers. Private samples sales such as Cocosa and Gilt offer designer goods at a fraction of a price, and clearance sites such as the outnet.com have made the market even more competitive. So the question really is, “Should the consumer ever pay full price again?” I’m going to argue yes, we as consumers shouldn’t be averse to paying full price.

Before the dreaded credit crunch we were pretty easy to please right? Give us clothes that are cheap and cheerful and we were happy. Just ask Primark. But now the rules have changed. We want a discounted price on the cheap as chips clothes we’ve become accustomed to. Research into consumer behaviour has found that we now take discounts for granted. What does this ultimately mean? Naturally, we’ll wait till we get that bargain thank you very much.

Now I’m not an economist, but I’m pretty sure all this “waiting before we buy” and “lowering of prices” can’t help the state of deflation we’ve found ourselves in after 50 years. And as the theory goes, with deflation comes a rise in unemployment. So this means even more tightening of belts and an increase in price cuts to vie for our hard earned cash. Haven’t we got ourselves caught up in a vicious little circle? And it is very vicious. Of course, this is just a summary of the problem at hand. Lack of space doesn’t afford me the luxury of really exploring the issue in depth.

But yes, if it helps even a tiny bit I am all for paying full price and not always “waiting”. However, it’s not a one way relationship. Rather than focus on just cutting prices retailers must start offering us products worth paying for.

It’s true that not all of us are holding back. Although sales are down, stock is still being sold even when there is no incentive attached. The question is why? Personally, my basic needs are excellent design, quality fabric and perfect fit. Others are happy to fork out the full price if the product is “green”.  When are you willing to pay the price on the tin? Or do you only buy when there’s a bargain to be had?

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