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Cash-strapped shoppers turn to smartphones in shops to look for discounts


Shoppers are relying on smartphones in stores to help them manage the cost-of-living crisis. Over half of shoppers (54%) use phones to compare costs in-store, with 85% of them doing this because of the cost-of-living crisis, according to findings from a new global study looking at changing shopping habits.

Nine out of ten shoppers (88%) say that special offers and promotions are important purchase drivers, which overrides other credentials such as customer reviews (78%). This is most pronounced in non-essential categories such as fashion (89%) and luxury (91%).

The findings come from a study by future retail agency Outform, which looks at how a rise in digital interactivity in-store in the aftermath of Covid is influencing consumer shopping habits.

Data from 2,400 shoppers across the UK, US, France and Germany shows that shoppers are now accustomed to seeing tech such as QR codes in-store. 61% of shoppers are likely to use QR, with 54% of those who do finding them most appealing when they unlock offers and promotions.

And while rising prices are causing further shifts in how and where we shop, consumers remain wary of the growing number of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ schemes, with just over one in five (21%) citing these schemes as their main incentive for shopping online.

Simon Hathaway, Group MD EMEA at Outform, says: “Our research mirrors analysis from Google Trends, showing that terms such as ‘Christmas discounts’ are spiking. Consumers are facing a tough winter financially, so their focus is on getting the most for their money in terms of how and where they shop.

“In the current economic climate, values are shifting to price, with consumers more likely to shop for longer to search for discounts. We’re all much more attuned to the consumer data exchange being transactional, and as retailers ramp up special offers, shoppers will expect them to be accessible via apps and be prepared to exchange their data in return for personalised deals.”

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