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Essential trumps desirable as Gekko reveals top factors driving retail sales in current climate

With retailers gearing up for a final sales push in the vital run up to Christmas, a report by creative customer experience marketing agency Gekko has revealed the key factors driving considered purchases in the current economic climate. The results indicate that brands must highlight why their products are essential to the lives and lifestyles of consumers, rather than just desirable.

The study carried out by YouGov of 2,000 consumers concerned the factors driving considered purchases. These are defined as non-essential purchases that have a degree of financial or emotional investment.

Number one on the list was if a crucial home appliance or device was broken (76%). Second was if the item was essential to a consumer’s day to day life (73%). Interestingly, a promotion only scored third on the list tied with longevity (37%) only half as important. Next was if it was related to a hobby or personal interest (35%). Perceived ‘brand values’ were way down the list, only of interest to 10% of consumers.

The same report reveals that 48% of consumers are prepared to switch brands for non-essential items with the current squeeze on household budgets, versus just 10% who would stick with a preferred brand. The study also revealed two thirds of respondents had reduced spending on non-essential items overall.

On the back of the findings Gekko is urging brands, retailers and those on the shop floor selling products to adopt ‘a truly customer-focused mindset’ and understand the changed need state of those struggling in the current cost of living crisis.

According to Daniel Todaro, MD of Gekko:  “Our research paints a fascinating insight into what is driving consumer behavior in these challenging times. The message has come through loudly that essential trumps desirable in today’s increased cost of living world. Also it is illuminating that the often ‘go to’ strategy of merely putting something on promotion is not actually cutting as much ice today. Brands should focus first on what the product can deliver in terms of value and how long it will last. Brands that don’t connect with consumers emotionally and ethically risk missing out in this vital period for sales in the run up and post Christmas period.”

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