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Consumers shopping more often to hunt for bargains

Retailers say customers are buying less branded products and are shopping around more.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland via Shutterstock

NEW RESEARCH RELEASED today by AIB has revealed significant changes in consumer behaviour with customers putting in the work to hunt down special offers.

The figures in AIB’s first outlook report for the small and medium business sector shows that close to three out of four retailers are now seeing customers buying more items on special offer. 83 per cent of retailers said customers are also buying fewer branded products.

Retailers also said that they are seeing an increase in customers visiting their store more often in an attempt to manage their spending more carefully through the week by spreading out their spending and visits with 93 per cent saying customers are shopping around more.

Many retailers are testing new ways of keeping and growing their customer bases, according to the report, which also found that engaging customers through social media and loyalty schemes are being considered more frequently by a majority of retailers. Just over a third have reduced the range of products in store in response to consumer trends with 32 per cent changing opening house and 30 per cent reducing the numbers of managers or office staff.

The report said several retailers also pointed out that reducing staff levels and product ranges risks undermining the shopper experience to the point where they don’t come back, no matter how low the prices. However 66 per cent of retailers have reduced the number of floor staff.

Retailers remain positive with more than half surveyed saying they plan to expand their operations in the next three years while more than one in five said they expect their business to eventually be taken over by a family member.

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The survey also found that less than 5 per cent of retailers surveyed expect a recovery in the Irish economy in the next year while 65 per cent said it would take at least five years for a recovery.

Some 57 per cent of retailers said they saw their turnover decrease between 2011 and 2012 while 16 per cent reported an increase. The reduction in profit margin was the main concern facing most retailers, followed by wage costs) and competition from larger outlets like the larger supermarket chains.

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