Insight: TMC research shows shoppers favour price and social approval over brands

Price and social approval have been ranked as having the biggest influence on shopper buying decisions while brand names trail behind, reports new research from The Market Creative.

‘Shopping Uncovered – How we Really Shop’ surveyed more than a thousand home and leisure shoppers to better understand the drivers to buy1.

Based on The Market Creative’s new Shopper Forces model, the study mapped the relative influence of price, need to touch, shopping experience, need for education, brand, and social approval. The data provides insight to decision making dependent on category and age group.

Price was the single biggest driving factor for the majority of shoppers. More than two-thirds (68%) hunt out the lowest price and are tempted by a bargain. Boomers were the only generation not to be swayed by price, prioritising being able to touch a product.

Shoppers are heavily influenced by others as 64% agreed that social approval is a major force in their decision to buy. This is prominent across all generations – even 58% of boomers share and listen to friends or read reviews before buying.

Having a pleasant shopping experience is important to all generations, and the third most important factor overall (61%) whether buying online or from a physical store. Sixty percent of respondents feel the need to touch before they buy with the same proportion seeking advice and education.

Shoppers were least likely to be influenced by brand names – 49% agreed that this mattered. However, brands appear to be most important to millennials, particularly when buying fitness, sports or outdoor goods.

Shopping Uncovered also looked at how shoppers prefer to buy. It found that regardless of how digital consumers are in their daily lives, the generations shop surprisingly similarly.

Forty percent of shoppers buy solely online while the majority favoured to visit a physical store at some point in their buying journey. Generation X has embraced online shopping the most (43%), followed by millennials (42%) and boomers (37%).

Sue Benson, Managing Director at The Market Creative said: “If a brand can’t compete on price they can get the edge by providing an exceptional shopping experience, which is easy for customers to share. We’re all going to have to work harder on brand stories to make them more compelling and to ensure brand investment actually inspires shoppers to act.

“We were amazed at how subtle the differences are between the generations, particularly in the continued need for a physical store. No matter how old or young you are, we all still enjoy the whole shopping experience and want to see and touch before we part with our cash.

“This is the first research based on our Shopper Forces model. It’s clear that it will really help retailers and brands to prioritise their messages and activity to incite growth and improve ROI.”

‘Shopping Uncovered – How We Really Shop’ is intended to help retailers and brands make more informed decisions and prioritise their budgets. The report is available to download at


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