A new piece of research from The Guardian suggests supermarkets artificially inflate the price of sunscreens to make you feel you’re getting a good deal – a concept we’re all too familiar from our research at Which?.
Now I’m particularly interested in this issue from the point of view of our ‘Make Special Offers Special’ campaign. Our research has found that too often the deal isn’t quite the deal you thought you were getting. And with 10 pricing tactics commonly used by supermarkets, it’s no surprise we’re on guard when presented with a special deal.
Suncream investigation results
The Guardian commissioned mySupermarket.co.uk to track the pricing on some of the big brand and own-label suncreams over the past year. The results produced some interesting findings, including the below:
Boots and Tesco respond
The Guardian journalist Patrick Collinson asked the retailers to explain their pricing strategies, including the examples illustrated above. He asked Boots why the pharmacist establishes its suncream price at a time when fewer families buy the product. Boots said:
‘At Boots UK we are committed to offering our customers great value on sun protection when they need it most. We continually review our prices to ensure that the full range of brands we sell are priced competitively’
And Tesco’s responded with:
‘We aim to offer our customers consistently low prices to help them with their everyday shop, as well as offering promotions on certain products. The Nivea Moisturising Sun Lotion has been available on half price and two for £12 offers since March this year, at a time when many of our customers are preparing to go on holiday.’
Special offers should be special
At Which?, we want special offers to be genuinely special. We’ve found dodgy deals across the aisles, with prices yo-yoing between multi-buys and discounts, so that it is almost impossible to know the actual price. We’re campaigning for simpler, clearer and fairer pricing rules and tougher enforcement action.
Have you ever questioned the price of your summer essentials when stocking up? Do you feel it’s difficult to get a genuine good deal? We’d love to hear from you…