With the nation's larger supermarkets reporting on their trading results, two things stood out about consumer behaviour and both suggest that it's not just the phones that are smart these days. When it comes to our food shopping it seems that the recession has brought out the frugal make-do-and-mend trait. Supermarkets have reported that while consumers continue to do the 'big shop' at out of town stores once a month or so, the trend seems to be for shoppers to focus their smaller, daily shops using either online suppliers or local stores. In addition, the big winners in the profits race are not, perhaps surprisingly, the middle range stores but those at the extremes, the discount superstores and quality stores. So are you a smart shopper?
1. Smart Shopping Basics
Online offers, discount vouchers and codes are everywhere these days. Retailers offer them to coupon sites and voucher sites in an attempt to boost sales. For online shoppers this means that offers are only a search engine search away and, before you buy, add the words "discount voucher" to your search term. Most supermarkets will offer a discount or cash-back deal when you first sign up along with regular internet-only discounts. If you'd prefer to do the 'big shop' in the comfort of your own home (and save on petrol) then internet supermarket shopping is for you.
2. Quality or Quantity?
Supermarkets such as Waitrose have long prided themselves on offering quality products. This in theory should mean that during the recession they should have lost all their customers and now have signs across the door indicating they're no longer trading. Yet this is not so. Smart shoppers know the old maxim 'buy cheap, buy twice' and quality produce remains popular as we continue to worry about our health and focus on making sure we get the best for our limited money.
3. Stocking up on Fillers
At the other end of the scale, LIDL and ALDI have also reported healthy profits. When it comes to bulk buying of staple, non-perishable products, smart shoppers know that you can't water down rice so why pay the extra price? The value supermarkets are where you should be searching for discounts on your basic food stores, saving money for the quality purchase mentioned above.
4. Compare Supermarket Prices
Before you do your big monthly shop, check out some of the handy price comparison sites such as My Supermarket.com and Compare Supermarket Prices.co.uk - these types of sites will compare prices for every product you want, then find the cheapest supplier. Typically they compare all of the big players such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Ocado and Asda with average savings of around £17 every time you shop so well worth a look!
5. What's in it for me?
The supermarkets' results are, of course, of more interest to them. However, for consumers the results can provide a clue to future bargains. The mid-range supermarkets are the ones who will be next to up the heat in the on-going supermarket wars, with a range of offers, and special rewards. For smart shoppers these supermarkets are the ones to keep an eye on.