London, 28 April 2014 – Figures released today shed new light on the impact on shopping habits of Britain’s biggest recession since World War Two. The research, which tracks how consumer behaviour has changed over the last two years, reveals the emergence of a ‘rewards economy’, characterised by a new norm of rewards hunting and discount shopping across all sections of the population.
The findings, from customer insight specialist Aimia, show 61% of people admitted the recession altered their shopping habits while nearly half of us (43%) said our behaviour has changed for good as a result of the recession. Nearly three quarters (74%) of people still use reward schemes to make their money go further, up from 71% in May 2012. Meanwhile we are increasingly taking advantage of newer ways to save money, with 44% of us now using vouchers or coupons for eating out, up on 34% in 2012.
The findings are drawn from the latest Loyalty Lens report from Aimia, which compares research among 2,000 UK adults conducted in 2012 and 2014. They paint a picture of a nation increasingly making the most of discounts, targeted offers and lifestyle choices to make their money go further:
- Almost half (48%) of us opt for entertaining at home rather than eating out, up from 39% in 2012
- 57% of people are now using price comparison websites to save money, compared with 56% of people in May 2012
- To save money, over half (52%) of people are using auction sites, compared with 49% in May 2012
- Vouchers remain an important part of household budgeting, with 70% of people using them, unchanged from May 2012
The research also suggests that people are increasingly using these money-saving behaviours to help ease pressure elsewhere:
- Just 30% of people are now sacrificing foreign holidays to save money, compared with 47% in 2012
- 50% of people adhere to a strict monthly budget, compared with 56% two years ago
Jan-Pieter Lips, President of Aimia, EMEA, said: “The coping mechanisms used during the recession have evolved into new behaviours in the home and on the high street that look set to last. We’re living in a new rewards economy. Now everyone – regardless of income – is using a toolbox of ways to make their money go further, from discounts and rewards to entertaining at home. By making small daily savings, people can enjoy spending money on bigger purchases, such as holidays.”
The news comes amid strong signs for the UK economy, with a strong forecast for GDP growth and the rate of CPI inflation dropping to a four-year low of 1.7% in February. As families wait to feel the effects of these positive signs, the rewards economy behaviours are helping to ease continuing pressure on household budgets.
Despite the improved economic picture, other trends prominent at the height of the recession now look entrenched in normal shopper behaviour, with implications for retailers’ business models:
- 61% of people still prefer to shop locally whenever they can, reinforcing the view that large, out-of-town outlets will play a less prominent role in the future retail landscape
- Still over half of us (54%) are continuing to buy more own-label products – with 59% of us doing so two years ago
Rewards economy behaviours extend across income brackets, with 60% of people earning over £90k-a-year saying that they make sure they collect reward points whenever they can. Furthermore, nearly half (45%) of this group say that, despite the economic upturn, they will now always remain focused on ways to make their money go further.
Jan-Pieter Lips added: “Loyalty schemes, discounts and rewards are going to continue to be critical. But as consumers become harder to please, businesses should be wary of slipping into short-termism. Businesses need to work harder than ever to win and keep customers. Those that concentrate on building stronger personal relationships based on understanding their customers over the long term will be the ones that succeed.”
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Aimia Inc. (“Aimia”) is a global leader in loyalty management. Employing more than 4,300 people in 20 countries worldwide, Aimia offers clients, partners and members proven expertise in launching and managing coalition loyalty programs, delivering proprietary loyalty services, creating value through loyalty analytics and driving innovation in the emerging digital, mobile and social communications spaces.
Aimia owns and operates Aeroplan, Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program, Nectar, the United Kingdom’s largest coalition loyalty program, Nectar Italia, and Smart Button, a leading provider of SaaS loyalty solutions. In addition, Aimia owns stakes in Air Miles Middle East, Mexico’s leading coalition loyalty program Club Premier, Brazil’s Prismah Fidelidade, China Rewards – the first coalition loyalty program in China that enables members to earn and redeem a common currency, and i2c, a joint venture with Sainsbury’s offering insight and data analytics services in the UK to retailers and suppliers. Aimia also holds minority positions in Cardlytics, a US-based private company operating in card-linked marketing and Think Big, the owner and operator of BIG – AirAsia and Tune Group’s loyalty program. Aimia is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: AIM). For more information, visit us at www.aimia.com.