Rising prices are revolutionizing consumer buying habits. With the increase in bills, mortgage rates and the prices of consumer products, consumers are faced with a reduction in disposable income and are forced to make new purchasing choices.
The purchasing habits of Italian consumers
The discount is the main “convenience” retail channel and in recent years it has grown twice as fast as other channels, receiving ever greater favor from customers. However, a recent market survey on preferred purchasing channels has shown that 48% of those interviewed declare that they make their purchases more frequently at the supermarket, while 40% are indifferent between supermarkets and discount stores, and only 12% declare that they buy exclusively at the discount.
Today about 22.4% of the total turnover of the large-scale distribution is expressed by the discount channel, while the remaining 77.6% is generated by supermarkets, hypermarkets and superettes. However, consumption habits differ from turnover shares as each individual often makes their purchases using multiple sales channels, orienting their purchasing choices based on income, the proximity of the points of sale to the place of residence or work and the time required to reach the point of sale.
Thus, 60% of the sample interviewed declares that they have changed their purchasing habits, a change that mainly affects women between 18 and 34 years of age.
Consumer perceptions of inflation
The survey also verified what was the perception of consumers in relation to the increase in prices experienced in recent months: 23% of the sample believes that prices have increased more in supermarkets, while 10% that they have increased more in discount stores and 66% that they increased equally in the two channels. To cope with these price increases, 86% of those interviewed said they bought many more promotional products compared to the previous year.
Therefore, today we can say that consumer choice is much less distinct between supermarkets and discount stores, discount stores, born to satisfy a more price-conscious demand, have gradually changed their positioning and have lost their distinctive characteristics which they will have to rebuild to address the challenges of channel competition.