56% of consumers say price is the primary influencer of their purchase decision, making it a far more influential driver than quality (17%), brand (17%), store (7%), or loyalty program (3%), according to survey results from parago’s 3rd annual Shopper Behavior Study. But the importance of price declines as income levels increase, with brand and quality becoming more influential factors. Indeed, among those with incomes of more than $200,000, a plurality 38% say that brand is their primary purchase driver, followed by quality (28%) and then price (17%).
Those results appear somewhat intuitive on the surface: one might reasonably assume that high-income earners are less price sensitive than the average individual, although the study does not break out price sensitivity trends by income level. (It does reveal that 74% of consumers overall are more price-sensitive this year than last).
Whether or not high-income earners are becoming more or less price sensitive, results from the study do show that they are active deal-seekers, although it’s worth noting that the sample size for these high-income earners is relatively small (<50). For example, 97% of these respondents report researching for deals and best prices before shopping almost always (69%) or sometimes (28%). Those figures aren’t far off from the 97% of respondents earning less than $50,000 who reported deal-seeking almost always (78%) or sometimes (19%). In fact, the highest-earning group is more likely to say they almost always search for deals online before going in-store than the lowest-earning group (69% vs. 48%). They’re also more likely to almost always shop where they can gain loyalty and rewards (66% vs. 42%), and are about as likely as any other income group to look for deals in circulars and print ads.
In combination, those results suggest that while brands may matter more than pricing for high-income earners’ purchase decisions, those individuals may be looking to find the best deals on the particular brands they favor. Or, as the researchers put it, “people want the best deal, not necessarily the cheapest option.”
About the Data: The data is based on a national online survey conducted during March 2013 with 1,078 respondents representative of the US in terms of education, income, and gender.