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Retailers to feel the pinch as consumers value low cost over quality

10 December 2018

Shoppers have sounded a warning to the high street ahead of the Christmas shopping season by saying they increasingly prioritise lower prices over product quality. 


The findings come in a survey from the global legal business DWF and Retail Week which surveyed 10,000 consumers globally. When asked what guides their purchasing decisions, 70% of British consumers said low prices, compared with 64% who said product quality. Products offered on discount were the next most popular option (51%).

In non-food shopping specifically, British consumers said they keep their eyes peeled for deals and promotions (64%) above all else, far higher than levels of enthusiasm for customer-centric concepts such as in-store service (27%), branded products (26%) and manned checkouts (24%).

The survey found that British consumers are among the most cash-strapped compared to their peers in the US, Europe and China, with 62% having less than £250 in disposable income each month. Only in Australia (65%) and Kenya (over 90%) do shoppers have less than this sum available to spend. Conversely, British shoppers are among the least likely to have more than £500 of disposable income to spend this month: just 15% of consumers claim to have this sum, compared with 38% of Germans, 22% of Americans and 20% of French consumers.

Compounding these findings, more consumers in the UK expect their disposable income to go down next year (23%) than expect it to increase (19%). More than 40% of consumers expect the cost of living to worsen, while 61% anticipate prices increasing as a result of Brexit. Consumers also say they will reduce their spend next year in all categories of retail with the exception of food.

Hilary Ross, global head of retail, food & hospitality at DWF, said: "With issues like Brexit on the horizon and with consumers already feeling the pinch when it comes to disposable income, retailers are faced with a great challenge in attracting customers through the door this Christmas. With consumer confidence decreasing, retailers will be looking to be more competitive on price and prioritise their value offering above all else.”  

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