Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Shopping habits changing as consumers review the way they heat and eat!

This week has seen further evidence that consumer power is on the increase with the first energy company to freeze their bills, the big 4 supermarkets bowing down to the pressure of discount stores such as Aldi and even British Home Stores is getting in on the act and starting to offer food for sale in 100 of their High Street Stores. Not only are we now making price comparisons between a range of companies but many consumers are starting to  compare customer service levels as well. Asda, Morrison’s, Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s have been fighting a battle to retain our loyalty but as the UK households disposable income continues to fall, once loyal customers are choosing to move away from the larger food superstores and shop in a more discriminate manner.

Consumers moving away from large out of town food superstores
Listening to a selection of householders on the radio yesterday it was interesting to hear that many are choosing to shop little and often, planning out their family menus, using independent outlets or the Lidl and Aldi’s of this world, regardless of the loyalty schemes their original supermarket of choice once offered. Sainsbury’s was the only one of the four who had retained their portion of the market share but this month had announced their first decline in nine years. It was suggested by a spokesman from The Grocer that Sainsbury’s success was due to the good job it was doing in convincing shoppers of its Brand Match policy.

As redundancies hit ASDA staff BHS joins the food trade
Asda have just made more than 200 managers redundant as well citing changing consumer habits so it does seem an odd time for Sir Phillip Green, who heads up the Arcadia Group, of which BHS is part, to begin trialling food sales. I like to watch the adverts that are put out by all the food supermarkets, note down what their latest offer is to attract custom and then wait to see how their competitors jump on the bandwagon and offer exactly the same deal but wrap it up in such a way to make it seem to be their own idea.

From Brand Match to Price Promise the fun and games continue, only this time it seems as though consumers are finally in the driving seat. Now the energy companies could be about to start fighting it out for our custom with the news that SSE are freezing their energy bills until 2016. Excellent news for households but not so good for the energy company staff who are going to be made redundant.
If you have changed your shopping habits over the past year or so then get in touch and let us know - we're listening!


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