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Consumer shopping priorities shift as cost of living crisis continues

Tom Bottomley
11 October 2022

Almost a quarter (23%) of consumers are now “looking for the best deals” rather than automatically spending with their regular shops, and 68% believe retailers could do more to help counter rising prices, as the cost of living crisis sees a shift in shopping habits.

According to a new survey by American Express, three notable shopping trends have been revealed that fall in line with the current economic turbulence, with a higher demand for quality, convenience and value for money deemed most important.

The findings show:

  • Quality: 62% of UK shoppers believe they have seen a dip in the quality or size of products in the last few months as retailers grapple with supply chain challenges
  • Value for money: 71% say they proactively look for sale items when shopping, over half (52%) of consumers say they are more likely to shop with a retailer that has a loyalty scheme
  • Convenience: 60% say a convenient shopping experience remains a high priority when spending with a retailer, with 65% valuing businesses that accommodate last-minute purchases and quick delivery

The report says that shopper expectations have clearly heightened as consumers need to make their money go further. For retailers, there’s a fresh opportunity to engage customers through loyalty or reward schemes, but more broadly it shows they need to “keep a finger on consumers’ pulse and respond quickly to their changing needs”. It’s those retailers that will ride the upcoming waves of uncertainly better than competitors.

Daniel Edelman, Vice President & UK General Manager, Merchant Services at American Express, said: “People’s shopping priorities are understandably changing rapidly in line with the times, with a bigger focus on value and a closer eye on quality. It’s important that retailers, as always, stay close to their customers and react quickly in response to their changing needs.

“Offering a winning customer experience both in-store or online should also be front of mind as consumers continue to prioritise convenience and ease when they shop. These can be real points of differentiation in a more competitive market and something American Express is focused on with our support of retailers large and small.

“Finding ways to go the extra mile for their customers through loyalty or reward schemes, for example, can help drive repeat custom and keep their business ahead of their competitors.”

Additional findings in the report reveal that appetite among shoppers remains for big ticket items and leisure spending, with 42% who are still spending in this area saying they are dedicating the largest amount of their disposable income to holidays.

Additionally, with 72% of consumers saying it remains important to treat themselves, it’s clear shoppers are still prioritising ‘feel-good’ purchases.

There’s also an opportunity for retailers to find new ways to attract and engage customers and personalise their offer, potentially with targeted offers or discounts, especially as over four in 10 (44%) of shoppers say they are willing to share their personal data for a better shopping experience.

All figures are based on fieldwork conducted by Opinium on behalf of American Express, undertaken between 14 – 20 July 2022, amongst 2,000 consumers in the UK.

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