Only 36% of Australian consumers buy products on sale, according to a new report, while 83% identify quality as the most important factor, suggesting retailers cannot rely on discounting to remedy sluggish sales.
The report, conducted by consulting firm brainmates and sponsored by Nine Rewards, is based on a survey of 1,073 Australian consumers aged 18-64.
Entitled A Fresh Perspective on Australian Retail, the report seeks to answer an age-old question: what do retailers need to do to entice consumers to spend in their stores?
It should be noted that only 14% of respondents claim to “mostly shop online”, suggesting the majority of Australian consumers are still doing the bulk of their shopping in traditional stores.
The report also points out that consumers are still spending, despite recent claims to the contrary.
“Today’s ‘cautious consumer’ has been misunderstood and inaccurately defined,” the report said.
“They have not stopped spending. They have simply changed their spending habits and attitudes, preferring to take a more considered approach to making purchases.”
While only 36% of consumers buy products on sale, according to the survey, 61% research the best price before buying, and 46% plan what they want to buy before they hit the shops.
Eighty-five percent of survey respondents identify price as the main factor they consider when shopping, while 83% say quality is the most important factor.
Adrienne Tan, director of brainmates, says retailers should take note of the results of the survey.
“Consumers [are] taking their time to investigate prices and features of the product before purchasing,” Tan says.
“However, they are very willing to spend if the product meets their requirements and, most importantly, if the retail experience meets their expectations.”
“With more places to buy – online, in stores, through group-buying sites – the importance of a good retail experience is key.”
But the Australian Retailers Association says if retailers are to make way for new stock, now is the time to offer discounts, claiming consumers are holding out for big bargains.
“Shoppers are… thinking about their buying strategy so they can take advantage of bargains throughout the entire sales period, which should last until mid January,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says.
“Gone are the days where consumers sprinted to the stores at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day.”
“However consumers are still out there, shopping often and seeking out all the bargains to be had during this period… There are some great discounts to be had as retailers clear their floors.”
“Retailers… will be happy they have been able to get rid of some excess in readiness for new stock in the New Year. This especially rings true for casual clothing and household goods.”
“We will have to wait and see what 2012 will bring for retailers, but the fact that consumers are out there now shows there’s some momentum for positive growth across the sector.”