Price Said to Matter Less Than Context Even to the Most Deal-Hungry Shoppers

January 7, 2014

Experian-Relative-Importance-Shopping-Factors-Jan2014A new report [download page] from Experian Marketing Services segments shoppers into 6 deal-seeking segments, ranging from “deal-seeker influentials” to “deal rejectors.” The researchers argue that marketers must understand these different groups of consumers in order to better target and engage them – and while that’s no doubt the case, there’s a shared trait among all of these segments that stands out: price carries less weight as a shopping factor than the store environment, the brands it carries, and the convenience it affords. As the authors conclude: “many consumers are willing to pay more, provided their other needs are met.”

(For reference, a study released last year by Ipsos found that 47% of surveyed American adults agreed that they would switch brands – even if the price was higher – for one they believe is a higher quality. Just 11% disagreed.)

The following is a brief summary of each deal-seeking segment from the Experian study, along with some of its key attitudes and the relative weight its puts on price as a shopping factor:

  • Deal-Seeking Influentials

These shoppers represent 18% of the population, and are said to be always hunting for the best deal across all channels. They are about twice as likely as the typical adult to be drawn to a store they don’t normally shop at on account of a coupon, and are 61% more likely to shop around to take advantage of specials or bargains.

The “influentials” portion of this segment’s name comes from their being more than twice as likely to say that their friends ask them for advice about brands and products. Given that they’re heavy internet and social media users, this makes them a particularly appealing segment.

Of the 5 shopping factors identified in the study – environment, brands, convenience, price, and service – this segment favors the shopping environment as its top factor. Brands carry 93% of the importance of environment, followed by convenience (80%) and then price (73%). Service (68%) is the least influential factor.

  • Offline Deal Seekers

Representing 13% of the population, this segment is the next-most deal-hungry along what Experian terms its “deal-seeking continuum.” These shoppers are 58% more likely than the typical adult to hold out on buying things until they go on sale. More than 6 in 10 claim to head straight to the clearance rack when they enter a store.

Demographically, this group has the lowest average household income, and is the oldest, with half over the age of 55.

As the “offline” part of their name suggests, they are 35% less likely than the average adult to follow their favorite brands on social media, and 14% less likely to use mobile coupons.

This group has the same order of importance when it comes to shopping factors as the “deal-seeking influentials,” putting environment first, ahead of brands, convenience, and price. However, they are more sensitive to price, with price carrying 90% of the importance of environment when shopping.

  • Deal Thrillers

This segment represents 14% of the population and is characterized by two key attitudes: enjoying getting a deal; and loyalty to their favorite brands. While all of the shoppers in this segment said they want to get the best deal, these shoppers are 57% less likely than the typical adult to try a new store based on a coupon. Moreover, they’re 27% more likely to say they do not buy unknown brands merely to save money.

This group skews male (56%) with an average age of 49 and a slightly above-average income.

Not surprisingly, this group puts brands atop its shopping factor rankings. Price ranks last, carrying just 60% of the weight of brands as a factor. Indeed, this group is 33% more likely than the average adult to say that price isn’t the most important factor, it’s getting what they want.

  • Deal Takers

These consumers represents 12% of the population, and are happy to take a deal, but less likely to hunt one out. This group is 21% more likely than the average adult to try a new store based on a coupon, but tends to rely on others’ opinion a lot, being 25% more likely to be influenced by a friends’ opinion on a store and 19% more likely to ask for advice before buying something. In other words, these shoppers are probably more likely to come across deals shared by “deal-seeking influential” than to find deals themselves.

This group has the highest discretionary spending of all the segments, and also tends to be quite active on social media. They’re more likely to click on links they find on social networks and to follow their favorite brands.

Environment is the top factor for this group, followed by brands, convenience, and price, which carries 75% of the weight of environment.

  • Deal Indifferents

The largest segment – at 34% of the population – these consumers don’t appear to enjoy shopping all that much. They’re less likely than the average adult to go shopping frequently, to spend long amount of time browsing while in-store, and to be drawn by sales to stores they wouldn’t normally shop at. In fact, 60% only go shopping when there’s something specific they need.

Experian recommends that retailers avoid marketing coupons to this group, saying that a mass-couponing strategy would “waste valuable resources” on them.

The brand and environment factors are the equal most-important factors to these consumers, ahead of convenience and price (70% of the weight of the top factors).

  • Deal Rejectors

The final stop along the deal-seeking continuum, this segmenet accounts for 8% of the population. This group is 39% more likely than the typical adult to rarely go shopping, and 19% more likely to eschew buying unknown brands in order to save money.

This group skews male (58%) and older, with 47% over the age of 55. They also enjoy higher-than-average discretionary spend ($16,256 per year versus the $15,249 average) and would not make a good target audience for coupons given that they appear to be relatively insensitive to price.

The top factor for this group is brands, with convenience (96%) and environment (95%) close behind in relative weight. Unsurprisingly, price (59%) carries the least amount of weight, at only 59% of the importance of brands.

About the Data: Experian describes its methodology as follows:

“The Deal-Seeking consumer segmentation was created using the Spring 2013 Simmons National Consumer Study, a comprehensive survey of 24,374 U.S. adults that measures consumer lifestyles, attitudes, brand preferences, media use and more.

In order to create the most vivid segmentation, respondents were pre-classified as either deal-seeking, deal indifferent or deal-averse. The statement, “I am consumed with getting the best deal for a service or product I purchase,” was used as the qualifying question. Respondents who agreed with this statement were identified as deal-seeking, those who disagreed were identified as deal-averse and those who neither agreed nor disagreed were identified as deal indifferent. Deal indifferent respondents were assigned to the Deal Indifferents segment.

A cluster analysis was used to further segment the deal-seeking and deal-averse respondents based on their agreement with 16 psychographic statements that measured their attitudes towards shopping and specifically towards getting a deal. Some of the statements include:

  • I usually head right for the clearance rack when I enter a store
  • I usually only shop my favorite stores because they have the prices I like
  • For relatively expensive items, I’ll shop at different stores to make certain I get the best price

The deal-seeking respondents were assigned to either the Deal-Seeking Influentials, Offline Deal Seekers or Deal Thrillers segments. Deal-averse respondents were assigned to either the Deal Takers or Deal Rejectors segments.

Results are projectable to the total U.S. adult population.


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