Impulse spending is a thing of the past – as ‘savvy shoppers’ consider buying now | Personal Finance | Finance

The biggest factor informing their decision-making process is quality or reliability (61 percent).

It was ahead of spending (58 percent) — consumers are thinking about saving money for the long term rather than initial savings.

Despite this, TrustPilot’s survey found that almost half (46 per cent) had “no choice” but to buy cheaper products – they couldn’t afford to pay more.

Caroline Jameson, chief foundation officer of the global review platform, said: “The survey suggests that consumers are taking a calm and methodical approach to spending rather than panic in the wake of the cost of living crisis.

“There’s no suggestion that shoppers are reluctant to spend money – but as consumers increasingly find themselves stretching their purse strings, they clearly want to believe their purchases fit the bill and will last.”

Not only are consumers taking longer to decide whether or not to buy products than they were a year ago, they are also consulting more reviews.

In the last 12 months, those polled saw 16 per cent more reviews than they did previously – especially when spending £50 or more on products.

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) went so far as to say they rely on reviews when making “significant” spending.

Caroline Jameson added: “Research shows that reviews play a vital role in helping consumers make more informed, better purchasing decisions.

“Sharing and seeing the opinions of other customers online helps shoppers understand not only whether a business provides a good service, but also whether its products are real value for money.

“This not only saves time and stress, but also money.”

While there has been an apparent change in the way consumers shop in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis, retailers can also do more to help them, the study found.

Three-quarters of those polled (74 percent) said they didn’t go above and beyond with any business — whether it was discounts or free upgrades.

Worse still, almost a third (30 percent) of companies have used the current economic crisis to mishandle — using unfair practices or taking advantage of difficult situations.

These practices include lack of price transparency, and compression inflation – reducing the quantity, quality or quality of goods while their prices remain the same or increase.

Another factor is that VAT cuts are not passed on to consumers.

69 percent consider themselves “savvy shoppers” — better at finding deals and reliable products.

And 30 percent think it’s something they’ve gotten better at in the past 12 months – with 65 percent saying it’s unnecessary because of the cost-of-living crisis.

Similarly, a survey by OnePoll found that more than half (55 percent) now feel more pressure than usual to make sure purchases are worthwhile.

Financial expert and journalist Jasmine Birtles has partnered with TrustPilot for research.

He said: “The findings suggest that consumers are now thinking more about their spending, which makes sense because you have less money to play with.

“You’re going to think more about how you spend it and, as much as possible, you’re going to go for things that you know will last.

“Shopping is now about getting value for money rather than shelling out money.

“We’re already hearing about retail spending falling because of the cost of living crisis, but these findings show that people are spending less, but they’re looking for reassurance from other shoppers before they spend.

“Companies need to realize that getting and keeping good reviews is vital to the health of their businesses, so they need to ensure that their products are promoted and that they provide excellent service.”

The survey also asked shoppers which of TrustPilot’s top four retail categories — fashion, health and beauty, homeware and electronics — cost the most.

Four in ten have reduced their spending on fashion, while one in four (25 per cent) are spending less on electronics.

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