54% set to switch to cheaper brands: consumer spending habits analysis


By The Drum Team | Editorial

October 10, 2011 | 3 min read

Tightened purse-strings inevitably have an effect on the quantity and quality of products making their way into our shopping baskets. Here we take a look at the findings of a recent survey into the changing behaviours of British shoppers and the sacrifices some of us are making.

Recent years have been difficult for the retail sector, with non-food retailers hit particularly hard. This year alone the Homeform Group went into administration, swiftly followed by Habitat, Jane Norman and TJ Hughes, while Mothercare, Comet, Thorntons, Clinton Cards, Carpetright, Officers Club and Odd Bins were all struggled too.The food retail sector has remained relatively robust however, with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose performing particularly well owing to the growing 'stay at home' culture which has emerged from the financial downturn and driven consumption of premium food products.Recent research by Mintel took a look at consumer habits, giving an insight into each of the main retail categories, with findings such as 54% of adults are set to switch to cheaper brands if the cost of their weekly grocery shopping rises by £10, while 44% would cut back on the quantity and 37% would switch to cheaper types of foods.
The research also revealed that 42% of meat-eaters have already switched to eating more poultry, fish and sausages instead of red meat to save money, while 34% have switched to supermarket own-label butter/spread for the same reason.Here we take a look at Mintel's findings for consumer behaviour in some of the main retail categories.ALCOHOLIC DRINKSThe total alcoholic drinks sector saw value slide between 2006 and 2010, although looking forward this is set to recover achieving an estimated 6.1% growth between 2011 and 2016. Mintel forecasts that the two major markets - beer and wine – will see a sales decline over the next five years.

One of the biggest increases in consumer spending was seen in the in-home food sector, with 38% of Brits spending more on this category over the past year. Today, nearly nine in ten people (87%) felt that food prices had risen compared to a year ago, while 78% were more concerned about the rising prices than a year earlier. 

The technology market has enjoyed a remarkable growth between 2006 and 2010, with sales in all categories increasing fast, especially when it comes to audio visual (94% growth), computing and gaming (87% growth), and communications (71% growth).

The beauty and personal care categories sported a healthy glow in the first decade of the new millennium, turning in growth of just over 50% in the ten-year period. 

Between 2011 and 2016, sales of complementary medicines are forecast to show the strongest growth of 60%, while other pharmaceutical products and vitamins and supplements are forecast to lag behind average growth in the total market (just 2% and 6% respectively).

The clothing and adornment sector has enjoyed healthy growth over the last ten years. Mintel estimates the value of the clothing and adornment market at just over £47.1 million in 2010, an increase of 31% over the last decade. FOOTWEAR
According to Mintel estimates, the footwear market was worth £4.3 billion in 2010, an expansion of 30% over the last decade. Last year witnessed an impressive performance from the footwear sector, with annual growth of over 8%.This article was taken from a special retail marketing supplement published by The Drum in association with RAR. The supplement features analysis and comment on the retail sector, as well as listing some of the top RAR-recommended agencies with retail experience. The full supplement is available to download for free by clicking below.

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