Pandemic-fuelled price sensitivity is making European grocery shoppers less loyal to brands, prompting shoppers to switch to own-brand products, the latest research from Pricer, the world's most reliable provider of ESLs (Electronic Shelf Labels), has revealed.
Original research of over 10,000 European shoppers in Pricer's latest report – Retail Europe Shopper Outlook 2021 - showed over half (57%) of consumers are more price-sensitive now compared to before the start of the pandemic.
Spanish shoppers proved the most price-sensitive (68%) followed by Italian (63%) consumers - perhaps unsurprising as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) named the countries' economies as among Europe's worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis, with 14 years of GDP growth wiped off their respective Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020.
Two third (59%) of the 2,000 UK shoppers polled said they had become more conscious of pricing and promotions since the pandemic began.
Shoppers in the UK and Italy were also most likely to actively seek out discounts (60%), while Italian shoppers were the most likely to check pricing at the shelf edge to keep food bills down (66%).
The study also revealed that 62% of French customers now keep a close tally of the price of their shopping list as they go around the store to stick to their budgets.
Brand loyalty among UK shoppers proved the lowest when compared to their European counterparts – half (49%) of UK consumers polled in Pricer's study said they had switched to own-brands during the pandemic, compared to 38% on average in Europe, and just 29% in Germany and 32% in France.
Meanwhile, separate research conducted by antuit.ai showed that 38% of UK shoppers who traded down from branded to own-label brands during the pandemic would make the switch permanent.
UK shoppers were also the most likely to change the times they shopped to benefit from discounts. Around 40% said they had started shopping towards the end of the day when products were marked down, Pricer's data revealed.
Duncan Potter, CMO at Pricer, commented, "We've seen the pandemic prompt lackluster brand loyalty among shoppers, particularly in the UK market where customers have been most likely to switch to own-brands.
"As economic recovery is beginning to make headway across many markets, we're seeing customer sentiment struggling to catch up – and that means retailers need to be able to quickly react to opportunities within the market to bolster demand, while also being able to react to competitors' pricing and promotions more dynamically."
Potter added, "By digitalising the shelf edge, pricing and promotions can be optimised in real-time, helping retailers to better align pricing and promotions with demand, while also enhancing in-aisle experiences at the shelf edge for the shopper," he added.
For further information on how retailers can unlock new pricing and promotions capabilities to drive in-store conversions and enhanced in-aisle experiences, download the full report: Retail Europe Shopper Outlook 2021.
This article was originally published in European Supermarket Magazine on November 4th, 2021