Special offers don’t make us buy more
Here’s one to hit the supermarkets where it hurts – new stats show that promotions are on the rise, but takings aren’t. Ouch. Could it be that we’re just too smart to be fooled by ‘special’ offers
A few weeks ago we revealed some of the silliest supermarket ‘special’ offers we could find.
From peas reduced from 35p to 35p, to a £1 drink that costs £4 for 2, we all had a good laugh at our picture gallery here at Which? HQ. And, judging by the flood of responses, you did too.
But, while these offers put a smile on our faces, your comments also proved that as shoppers we’re a pretty savvy bunch.
Many of you warned of the false economy of buying in bulk. “There’s usually a catch with these promotions,” said Pickle. “[They're] often done to get rid of excess stock – so, it pays to carefully check the “two for one” offers – often the offer means you are paying more.”
Others were concerned about how to tell the true value of the items on offer. “What I find irritating is when the 2 for £x offers don’t show the new price per kilo or litre. It makes comparing different sizes a chore,” said Toby.
Cleary, Which? Convo users aren’t easily misled when out shopping, but new figures show that this trend spreads even wider. Market research company Nielsen has reported that an astounding 37% of groceries were on special offer in September. Yet, despite such high levels of promotion, there was only a 0.4% increase in volume of sales.
What this suggests is that special offers and promotions don’t necessarily make us buy more. We seem to be switching to a special offer when it’s similar to an item we already wanted, rather than adding it to our shop and buying more.
As Archie Thomson put it: “Do the supermarkets really think that we can’t count?” With stats like this, maybe they’ll start to realise that actually, we can.
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