It is no secret that the retail industry has changed dramatically over the years. What was once a simple transaction of entering your local shop and purchasing a good is now met with increased options, new technology and other external factors. Decisions retail consumers make are layered and complicated which made it the perfect topic for our September Pulse Report.
To delve into this topic we surveyed 1000 nationally representative, working-age consumers across the Republic of Ireland to find out their opinions on this ever-changing industry.
Our findings were thought-provoking, putting a focus on three main subjects – online shopping, sustainability and loyalty programmes. With some cohorts planning on really increasing their online shopping and others not planning on changing at all, there are interesting deviations between ages and genders. Sustainability research showed that older generations did not regard it as highly as younger generations. Research into loyalty cards showed a high percentage of awareness and sign-ups with a large split between males and females.
With the rise of technology, the prevalence of online shopping has increased among consumers. Analysing this, we found that 28% of people participate in online shopping a few times per month with the next largest cohort doing it a few times per week (24%) or once per week (17%). Compared to any other age group, 32.35% of 18-24-year-olds are much more likely to online shop every day. In contrast to this, 34.62% of people who never shop online are 55+.
When asked how participants expect to change their shopping habits in the coming months, 46% of people don’t intend on changing their online shopping habits whereas 28% of people plan on somewhat increasing their online shopping habits. Notably, 40.38% of people who plan on really increasing their online shopping are 35-44 and 39% of people who plan on really decreasing their online shopping are 25-34. Also striking was the statistic that 71% of people who intend on really decreasing their online shopping are female.
Questioning respondents on whether they have ever returned an item purchased online, 75% of people had done so. Interestingly, 49% of people have a positive impression of online shopping after returning an item. The next highest percentage of people, 28%, had a very positive impression of online shopping following returning an item. Interestingly, 50% of people with a very negative impression of online shopping after returning an item were 45-54-year-olds.
The recent change in the retail industry? A large focus on sustainability and the ownership consumers take to be conscious of this when purchasing. When asked, we found that 35% of people sometimes think about sustainability when they shop and 28% often think about sustainability when shopping. The age cohort of 35-44-year-olds ranked the highest of participants who never think about sustainability with 32% feeling this way.
When we asked, ‘What aspects of sustainability would be on your mind when retail shopping?’, a staggering 74% of participants claimed that packaging was important to them. The second largest weight was placed on materials used where 54% claimed they were important to them. Delving deeper, 44% of participants agreed that sustainable packaging plays a role in their purchase decision. However, those who either agreed or strongly disagreed that sustainable packaging plays a role in their decision were aged 35-44, matching the statistics above.
Interestingly, the split between people willing to pay a higher price for an environmentally friendly product and people not willing is more or less an even split. 38% said Yes, 39% said No, and 29% were Unsure. This was also shown to be an even split across gender.
As exhibited in our research, people either see loyalty programmes as incredibly valuable or a waste of time. Looking into this topic we gained a greater understanding of consumer sentiment towards these programmes. When asked about their preferences on loyalty schemes, 52% of participants said they ‘always’ use a loyalty card when they shop and 30% said they ‘often’ use a loyalty card when they shop.
Young people were found to be not as frequent users with 40% of 18-24-year-olds having never used a loyalty card and 40% of those who rarely use a loyalty card being 25-34. When asking participants what top three words they would use to describe loyalty programmes, the most popular were valuable, worthwhile and helpful. Amongst those who regard rewards as personal, 34% were 35-44 whereas 25% of those who think of loyalty programmes as useless were 25-34.
When asking consumers about their feelings on loyalty programmes, a strong contingent of the male cohort was not as positive as females. 74% of people who regarded loyalty rewards as too much effort were male, 71% of people who regarded loyalty/rewards as boring were male and 65% of people who regarded loyalty/rewards as complicated were male. Overall, 87% of people who rarely use loyalty cards were Male.
Examining awareness of loyalty programmes showed that this was high with the 5 top being: Tesco Clubcard (83%), Dunnes Stores VALUEclub (73%), Lidl Plus (71%), Boots Advantage Card (66%) and Supervalu Real Rewards (62%). Again, 90% of people who weren’t aware of any of the listed loyalty programs were male.
Matching the previous findings, the top 5 loyalty programmes participants were signed up to were Tesco Clubcard (80%), Dunnes Stores VALUEclub (65%), Lidl Plus (67%), Boots Advantage Card (58%) and Supervalu Real Rewards (50%). 50% of those not signed up for any loyalty programmes were 25-34 and the cohort that is signed up for the most loyalty programmes is 35-44 year-olds.
In conclusion, 83% of participants agreed that loyalty programmes increase how likely they are to shop in-store. With that said, 40% of those claiming that loyalty programmes really decrease how likely they are to shop in a store were aged 45-54.
This topic provided a platform to gain great insights into this industry with the main themes of online shopping, sustainability and loyalty programmes emerging as the prominent features of the industry. More generally, we found that 46% of consumers very often compare prices with other online retailers offering similar products and 38% very often shop around before purchasing a product. Before purchasing, 43% sometimes shop online based on family/friends recommendations and 34% sometimes shop based on user reviews. Shopping around, comparing prices and researching products before purchasing very often was most common for 35-44-year-olds.
This is no surprise due to rising inflation rates and increased cost of living in Ireland, another external factor facing consumers and adding to their decisions while retail shopping.
This research was conducted by Bounce Insights on 30 September 2022. 1000 nationally representative participants were surveyed.
Get direct access to your customers using Bounce's easy to use survey platform. Get results in real-time from survey respondents anywhere in the world.
Why Bounce Insights?