Last updateFri, 29 May 2020 12pm

UK Consumers Display Irrational Shopping Behaviour as Austerity Continues

Research report: Personality & Profit

  • Londoners haggle more than anyone else in the UK
  • Women are less likely to go on payday spending sprees
  • Men are more likely to consider ethics when shopping

These are some of the findings from a new survey by marketing agency RAPP, which has been tracking the shopping and spending habits of UK consumers in Austerity since 2010.

July 14th 2014: Almost half of Londoners say they haggle wherever possible. As many as 45 per cent of Londoners agree or strongly agree that they haggle when shopping. This figure is only matched by people in Northern Ireland and compares with only 35 per cent in the south of England and 40 per cent in the north.

In terms of gender, men are more willing to try haggling wherever possible, with 45 per cent who agree or strongly agree that they do it, compared to only 33 per cent of women.

Younger people are more likely to haggle than people over 65. Nearly half (47 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds agree or strongly agree that they haggle wherever possible and 45 per cent of 25 to 44 year olds do so as well. Among older age groups this falls with only 34 per cent of 45 to 64 year olds and 34 per cent of the over 65s saying they haggle.

Impulse purchases

London's shopping temptations mean that unplanned spending sprees can be hard to resist with 29 per cent of Londoners admitting to them, the highest of any region. Wales is the lowest at 12 per cent. The figure is 16 per cent in the south and also in the east, and 21 per cent admit to them in the north.

Your age affects your likelihood to go on unplanned sprees with 38 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds most likely to splurge. The figure falls to 27 per cent among 25 to 44 year olds and drops dramatically to 11 per cent among those aged 45 to 64. It is only 8 per cent among the over 65s.

Women are less likely to blow their earnings as soon as they receive them. Only 17 per cent agree or strongly agree that they do this compared to 21 per cent of men. Similar numbers admit to unplanned shopping sprees (19 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women).

Men claim to be more decisive shoppers (61 per cent versus 49 per cent of women) and more disciplined shoppers (60 per cent of men versus 51 per cent of women).


Women are better than men when it comes to taking advantage of loyalty points and schemes, with 76 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing that they do this when shopping compared with 70 per cent of men.

Londoners are also most likely to use loyalty schemes (77 per cent) ahead of Northern Ireland (76 per cent). But in general people across the UK have become adept at factoring loyalty points and schemes into their budgeting, with 75 per cent in the south, 74 per cent in the east and 71 per cent in the north, Wales and in Scotland.

The research shows that in addition to haggling and loyalty schemes, many Londoners also watch the pennies in other ways with nearly a third of Londoners (31 per cent) saying they have downgraded on items they have bought in the past two years. This is the same percentage as Scotland and behind only the north of England (33 per cent).


Men are more likely to put ethical considerations ahead of price than women, with 22 per cent saying that they agree or strongly agree that ethics come first against only 18 per cent of women.

More than a third (35 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds say ethics is more important than price, which falls to just 14 per cent among 45 to 64 year olds and people aged 65 plus.

Londoners are most likely to say that ethical shopping is more important than price (27 per cent agree or strongly agree). This is lower in the south (17 per cent), east (20 per cent) and the north (25 per cent). Wales is the lowest with 11 per cent.

Margaret Wagner, chief marketing officer of RAPP UK, said: "Despite what the government tells us, 82 per cent of British consumers still feel like we're in Austerity. This means that after four years, we're still finding new ways to make our money go further. This brings out interesting spending and shopping habits as different people adopt different tools and strategies."

"For example, three quarters of people use loyalty cards, but women are more adept at this. However, it is men who are haggling more."

The national study, conducted by Tonic Insight for RAPP, spoke to 2040 people aged 18 and above during April 2014.

Other key insights found during the study:

82 per cent don't feel like we're in recovery
59 per cent of consumers prefer to be cautious than buy on impulse
71 per cent describe themselves as bargain hunters
62 per cent call themselves savvy shoppers


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