Study: Around the globe, bargain hunting is most important for shoppers

Euromonitor International, 3/5/12

How are people changing their shopping habits in the Recession? Bargain hunting is the most important aspect of the experience for global shoppers, but it's important to note that just going to the shops figures as the second most important aspect, even when they don't buy anything. These top-line results come from the new Strategy Briefing on Consumer Buying Behaviour in the Recession which examines the implications of these findings for marketers. Key findings:

  • Bargain hunting emerged as the most important trend: globally, 59% of respondents like to find bargains, which was higher for women (64%) than for men (54%).
  • UK and US consumers are most interested in bagging bargains, with 76% of respondents in both the UK and the US ticking this statement.
  • Despite consumers reining in expenses, leisure shopping remains important: as many as 47% of respondents (50% of women and 44% of men) like to visit shopping malls even if they do not require anything specific.
  • Younger consumers are more spontaneous: 46% of respondents aged 60+ only shop for groceries with a shopping list, compared with just 31% of those aged 15-29.
  • Only 29% of respondents are drawn into stores or onto websites as a result of retailer loyalty programmes. These are more popular among those aged 30-44 (34%), who are most likely to be buying for the whole family.
  • 30% of female respondents claimed to regularly buy themselves small treats on the basis that they "deserve them", compared with 26% of men.
  • Younger people aged 15-29 are most likely to buy themselves small treats (32%), compared to just 22% of those aged 60+.

It has already been stated that a key outcome of the recession is the desire among consumers to hunt more aggressively for bargains. While those suddenly unemployed are finding themselves with time on their hands to search out the best deals, those who are working harder than ever to keep their jobs are seeking bargains online to save themselves both time and money. Hence, when asked about other buying behaviour, the most commonly ticked statement on a global level was "I like to find bargains." This ties in with other answers relating to saving money and shopping in discount stores, with even consumers at the upper end of the income scale seeking maximum value for their money.


Commentary: The "bargain hunter" mentality of London's West End audiences

Chris Grady from Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds,, 3/19/12

For me, theatre should not be an exclusive "special occasion" in the way we promote it -- because an occasion feels like something an average person might feel excluded from. I want someone to come and see a play because it's a night out, some fun, an experience...not something they need to dress up for, or combine with a candle-lit dinner for two. I'm saddened by the "bargain hunter" mentality in the West End now. Just like hotels, there seems to be the rack rate, and the rate a person in the know can get a ticket for. However the simple fact of having the "in the know" rate again makes the act of getting a theatre ticket an exclusive act (and I should add I seem to be one of those people who never is "in the know", and all my theatre colleagues tell me how they would never pay full just ask x, or use y club, or join z). Wouldn't it be wonderful if prices were set as low as possible to sell to the widest audience at that rate -- and not to hike the rates higher and higher just to sell them off at a bargain.  Maybe the marketing-man inside of me should love the complexity of finding the best way to ensure people pay the price they can afford, however high that is. But my sense is that the balance between luxury exclusivity and bargain basement has got out of hand, and is damaging the chance to attract new audiences to see live theatre.


New guideline threatens China's movie ticket bargain-seekers

Wang Fan,, 3/2/12

On February 26, an insider from the film industry exposed in a blog that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television had issued a regulatory guideline proposing that movie tickets for theater members and group buyers should not be sold for less than 70% of the listed price. Later, the SARFT confirmed the cap but explained that it was only a draft guideline, and that the administration was still soliciting opinions. It also notes that the maximum discount will not be applied during half-price periods at cinemas every Tuesday and on weekday mornings. Wang Xiaoye, a consultant from the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council, said this guideline is likely to stifle the industry and infringe upon legitimate rights and interests of consumers. In China, listed prices of movies hover around 60 to 80 yuan ($9.50 to $12.70), and prices of movies in IMAX and 3D formats are even higher. Yet despite rising costs, China's relentless stream of moviegoers has not let up in the slightest. One important reason is the stimulus of group buying. In recent years, movie tickets have been among the most popular deals on group buying sites, with 60% to 70% discounts cutting prices to approximately 30 yuan ($4.80). According to a source at group buying site 55Tuan, group buying sites reach large numbers of users, particularly those who don't typically go to movie theaters. In 2011, group buying deals accounted for 9% of all movie tickets sold. However, if the SARFT proposal is passed, it will have a major impact on the large number of group buying sites, and ultimately on the movie industry as a whole, experts say.


Study: Why 'herd mentality' works best for bargain-hunting sites, 2/21/12

We might like to think we're not influenced by other people, but a new study into group buying mechanisms -- like those used on popular internet websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial -- reveals that telling buyers who come later to the offer how many have already signed up increases the number of purchasers. Researchers at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management wanted to understand why group buying sites that have entered the market recently have enjoyed greater success than those operating a decade ago, such as Mercata and MobShop. Earlier attempts typically left potential buyers waiting for days before confirming whether or not they had got the offer they had signed up for. "We think one of the reasons group-buying has been successful recently is because of the short time horizon," says Rotman Prof. Ming Hu, who co-wrote the study with Prof. Mengze Shi and PhD student Jiahua Wu. "It allows for a herding effect." Another reason is the use of an information structure that discloses to later arrivals how many have already signed onto the deal. "That boosts confidence," says Prof. Hu. Deals for "luxury" services, vs. everyday items, work better in a group buy scenario because they offer consumers a greater benefit.

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