Thursday, 6 August 2009

Shopping habits in a recession…

What’s in your shopping basket? Tesco Value Mince? Asda Smart Price Baked Beans? Sainsbury’s Basics Bread? It’s no surprise that the recession is affecting our shopping habits as we think much harder about what we put in our baskets. Even Waitrose, understanding that they could lose custom during these hard times, has introduced a value range - Essential Waitrose - so even true brand snobs can now buy discount brands.

I
t’s these discount lines that are at the very heart of the current grocery wars. If the big stores can show their customers that they can save money, it makes sense that they will shop there more often. According to TNS Global World Panel, Sainsbury’s, Morrisson’s and Asda are all up compared to last year, while Tesco’s market share is down. But if you’re a Tesco shareholder don’t panic - Tesco still receives a massive 30.8% of our grocery spend.


However, as the big four gain more and more of our grocery spend, the independent sector dramatically loses out. Last year our local stores received £550m of our grocery spend. This year the figure is £50m less. So can independent stores survive? According to Dean Best of just-food.com, they can, by emphasising the product knowledge and service that consumers won’t find in the big multiple grocers. The experience should be much more pleasurable and needn’t cost the earth.

But what about the future. Will we revert to old shopping habits or will these new cost-cutting habits be here to stay? Dean Best reckons consumers are getting a kick out of finding a bargain and that won’t go when the economy recovers. But Dr Marylyn Carrigan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Open University, thinks that we will revert to pre-recession shopping habits, as we reward ourselves for months of budget shopping, a little like rewarding yourself with the cake at the end of a diet!


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