Retail sales figures released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed the extent to which shoppers have taken advantage of lower prices on the high street and online, according to the new pre-paid MasterCard Pockit.
The value of retail sales in February 2012 showed an increase of 3.2% on February 2011, with online sales being a large driver of growth.
Over recent months, experts have noted the internet has emerged as the preferred channel to compare prices from a number of retailers and search out discount vouchers, said Pockit. This has appealed to many consumers keen to cut their spending.
Data from IMRG shows £68bn was spent online in 2011 and, with consumers increasingly becoming loyal to discounts rather than specific brands, online retail among discount sites looks set for further growth.
Danny Jatania, CEO of money saving champion and prepaid MasterCard provider Pockit (www.pockit.com), is encouraging more consumers to embrace the UK’s discount culture.
“We are seeing a new generation of consumers who are skilled at making the most of their disposable income. Rather than attaching themselves to a trusted brand, they are dedicating themselves to the pursuit of the best value purchases and are willing to bypass retailers who do not offer value for money,” he said.
“Since the recession, UK consumers have become more cautious about spending and the challenge for retailers is to design their discounts so that they foster greater loyalty from their customers.”
The growth of a discount culture has both contributed to, and been made possible by, a shift in the perception of consumers who actively seek deals and vouchers, claims Pockit. Whereas in the past, frugal customers may have been looked down upon for going out of their way to find the cheapest deal or product, many UK consumers now take pride in how savvy they are, said Jatania. With disposable income continuing to decline and the cost of living continuing to rise, it is thought retailers will become much smarter in producing more offers and discounts that lure in wary consumers.
“Discounts attract new customers, boost the retail sector and help households to make valuable savings. At Pockit we are encouraging consumers to be proactive in finding vouchers and discounts that can help them to make the most of their money at a time when many are feeling the squeeze,” said Jatania.