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Why UK shoppers are becoming more sceptical of sales

Nearly two-thirds of shoppers don’t believe the hype of retailers during sales according to recent research by Toluna and IMRG, the UK online retail association. The research looks into how UK shoppers perceive value, discounts and brands’ involvement in major sales events.

Discussing how some consumers are disenchanted with sales, Paul Twite, UK MD of Toluna, says: “UK shoppers are becoming more sceptical of sales, with 29% saying they respect brands that don’t get involved in events like Black Friday. In addition, 61% say they don’t trust the discount claims made by brands that do participate in major sales events.”

People want value from brands, but this does not mean they want cut-price goods. Twite explains: “This attitude towards sales is reflected in how UK shoppers perceive value. A majority of UK shoppers (83%) say that value to them means getting a good price, while only 20% say that value means getting a discount.

“More than half of UK shoppers (58%) say they will pay full price if an item is good quality, with other popular reasons for paying full price being if they really want the product (51%), or if there is a tight deadline (26%). “

However, this is not to say that sales are a bad strategy for retailers, as some people only shop during sales events. Paul Twite says: “Over one in four people say they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ wait for sales to kick in before they shop and a further 30% said the type of product influences whether they are likely to wait for an event like Black Friday, with price range highlighted as a strongly determining factor.”

The research highlights how cutting prices is a strategy that has to be marketed carefully, as Twite concludes: “The findings indicate shoppers are not overly motivated by ‘sales’, and show how important it is for brands and marketers to monitor the pulse of changing consumer opinion as it evolves.”


1,000 UK-based respondents over the age of 18 were surveyed by Toluna’s Quick Surveys between September 29th and November 17th 2016.

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