31 Million Brits Switch to Supermarket Brands


Released on: August 4, 2009, 4:43 am
Author: uSwitch.com
Industry: Consumer Services

As food price increases start to slow down, it’s not just the supermarkets that are busy battling the pricing war. New research from uSwitch.com reveals that 31 million (73%) shoppers are taking matters into their own hands by opting for supermarket own brand labels in a bid to save money on the weekly shop. This figure has tripled since August 2008 when just a quarter (25%) of shoppers were ditching premium labels to lighten the financial load of the weekly trolley dash.

Much of this increase can be attributed to supermarkets expanding their own brand products in a bid to stop consumers switching to cheaper chains. This includes the launch of the Waitrose ‘Essentials’ own label range, Tesco’s ‘Discounter’ range and Sainsbury’s ‘switch and save campaign’ which calculates own brand savings. Not only has this activity secured repeat visits from existing customers, according to the recent TNS Worldpanel report it has also slowed the rapid growth of overseas competitors such as Aldi, Iceland and Lidl over the past few months.

Overall, this research has revealed that nine out of ten (90%) UK adults now use recession-busting shopping strategies when they do the weekly shop. Money off vouchers have also reached the top of the shopping list with the number of frugal consumers’ regularly using these has also shot up to 74%, compared with 26% last year. In addition, a fifth of shoppers (20%) now compare prices online before taking a trip down the aisles, this has more than tripled from just 6% in August 2008.

When it comes to shopping online 6.4 million consumers now claim to avoid the hustle bustle of their local supermarket by carrying out their weekly food shop online. Again, this has tripled from just 5% of consumers in August 2008. In fact, this is becoming so popular with consumers, industry commentators predict that the value of online food sales could hit £8 billion by 2011.

These recessionary cut backs could also have positive lifestyle implications for many savvy shoppers as they revert to the good life. Almost a fifth of consumers have now taken to growing their own fruit and vegetables, up from just 8% in August 2008. This has created a waiting list for allotments across the country amongst those who do not have the option at home. Just this week, Tesco has applied for planning permission to create allotments for rent at its Dobbies Garden Centre - they also plan to sell allotment starter kits.

As a result of ‘pinching the pennies’ becoming very much the new ‘splashing the cash’, figures suggest supermarkets may turn out to be one of the few winners in the recession. For example, Morrisons has just surprised the market with an unscheduled trading update indicating full year profits would be £70 million ahead of expectations. Share prices in Sainsbury’s and Tesco have also experienced a rise.

Rumina Hassam, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, says: “In the face of uncertain economic forecasts, continued volatility in the housing market, and worrying increases in national unemployment, Brits are making savvy cutbacks to their fundamental spending routine to beat the recession at its own game.

“The number of Brits making basic changes to their weekly food shopping patterns has increased dramatically since last year, as the effects of the recession continue to amplify. However, despite the economic outlook remaining uncertain, consumers may find they have the last laugh – as the lessons learnt from the schooling in savviness they are currently experiencing as a result of the recession will remain vital, even long after the economy recovers.”

Rumina's 10 thrifty trolley tips:

  1. Switch to a credit card from a supermarket. You can earn extra loyalty points and often get 0% on purchases in store for a period of time.
  2. Tesco credit card: Make purchases from a range of selected items at Tesco Direct using your Tesco Credit Card, interest free, for a fixed number of months. 5 points for every 4 you spend at Tesco or Tesco.com and 1 point for every 4 you spend elsewhere.
  3. Sainsbury's credit card: Earn 4 points per 1 spent when using card in conjunction with Nectar card in Sainsbury's store, 2 points per 1 when only using card. Earn 1 point per 5 spent when making any other purchase. Enjoy 0% for the first 12 months on Sainsbury's shopping.
  4. Asda credit card: Quadruple points are earned for the first 3 months and every December when you shop at Asda. Double points are earned everywhere else you use your card for the first 3 months and each and every time you shop at Asda. And you'll earn single points every time you use your card outside of Asda. Also a 5% discount at ASDA Living stores.
  5. Always use your reward/loyalty cards such as Tescos, which allow you to collect points while you shop.
  6. Humble pie never tasted so good - switch down a brand and you could save 15% off a family shop over year, potentially saving 800.
  7. The late bird gets the worm - switch to shopping at night and you'll be much more likely to bag a bargain as supermarkets make big reductions on items near their sell-by dates. Generally these reductions start at 7pm.
  8. Don't shop while hungry. Eat before you leave home so you won't be as tempted to buy more than you need.
  9. Shop with a list. Allow yourself to buy off-list items only if they're unadvertised specials at prices too low to pass up.
  10. Cook more from scratch. Pre-packaged items save time, but that convenience comes at a price.

For more information please contact:
Tracy North, uSwitch.com 020 7802 2925 / tracynorth@uswitch.com

About uSwitch:
uSwitch.com is a free, impartial online and telephone-based comparison and switching service, helping consumers compare prices on gas, electricity, water, heating cover, home telephone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones, personal finance products and car insurance.

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