Despite the recession a decade ago and consumer confidence rising this year, US shoppers still care about value.
A new National Retail Federation (NRF) study examines what it is calling "value shoppers," the 89% of US consumers who frequent discount retailers. With a figure that high, this behavior transcends gender, region, income and age.
Compared with five years ago, 63% of respondents said they buy more items on sale now. But where are these sales-minded consumers shopping?
While the report called out millennials as many do, this group made up the same share of value shoppers as Gen X (29%). Gen X also had a higher incidence than millennials, Gen Z or boomers in shopping in a majority of the retail channels: 70% frequent dollar stores, 60% off-price stores and 43% thrift stores. Boomers rule discount grocery shopping (59%) and millennials favor outlet stores more than the rest (52%).
More than three-quarters (76%) will wait for a sale or search for a coupon or promotion if an item isn't on sale. The NRF study focused on offline retail, but new RetailMeNot data shows two-thirds of digital shoppers in the US search for promotions beforehand and mobile coupons are increasingly used at online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
These shoppers are also willing to give up many retail perks if that means they will get a bargain. More than eight in ten shoppers (82%) did not expect a discount retailer to offer buy online, pick up in-store options or free two-day shipping. Product reviews and entertaining shopping experiences weren't expected by many either, with only one-third anticipating quality customer service.
Even as retailers focus intently on improving customer experience, consumers are willing to accept fewer frills in exchange for savings. There is a reason why basic economy airfare is becoming the norm, private labels are thriving and dollar stores continue to open new locations while other retailers are shuttering.