Shoppers opt for simple life over high-tech future

Most British shoppers are more attracted to ideas like self-sufficiency and achieving a zero-waste household than using modern technology to help them shop and live their lives in the future, according to new research published by food and grocery analysts, IGD.

Its study found a number of simple life activities appealing to shoppers:

  • 69% of shoppers would like their household to become zero-waste, with half of those (36% of the total) already claiming to be close to achieving it
  • 52% would like to abandon their cars and do all of their food shopping on foot. Again, half of those (24% of the total) claim they already do so
  • 49% would like to produce as much of their own food as possible. Within that group, 15% of the total claim to be doing so already

Conversely, technological advances in areas such as hand-held mobile internet devices, for example iPhones and Blackberries, have yet to spark the imagination of most people when shopping for groceries:

  • 80% either can’t imagine or would strongly resist using a mobile phone to link up with other shoppers (for example using Foursquare) to benefit from bulk discounts
  • Only 18% could see themselves using a mobile phone to compare prices while in store
  • However, 7% say they are buying all their regular groceries online, with a further 9% saying they would like to in the future, and 20% open to the possibility they may follow suit

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “While a third of shoppers tell us they have a web-enabled smart phone, it seems when it comes to shopping for food and groceries many prefer a simple life for the moment. But it’s early days for a lot of this new technology, and it may be these very developments deliver the simple life shoppers crave in the future.

“So we shouldn’t write it off and we should never underestimate how quickly things can change and really capture the imagination – just look at Facebook and Twitter, for example.

Denney-Finch said the the digital revolution has only just begun and the best could be yet to come.

“Many companies are already experimenting with new technologies, and some trailblazing shoppers are reaping the rewards,” she said.

For example, Best Buy in the US sends special offers to smart phones when their customers enter the store. In the Netherlands shoppers at Albert Heijn can build a shopping list by photographing products and in Sweden ICA shoppers can find extra nutritional and environmental information about dairy products through their phones.

“While shoppers are looking for a back to basics lifestyle at the moment, longer term the technology-enabled ideas can also play a big part, provided they make life simpler and not more complicated.”