One quarter of Scottish shoppers worry Brexit could impact spending habits

Buch St

More than 25 per cent of Scottish consumers are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their spending plans over the next 12 months (against a UK average of 20 per cent), while almost two-thirds worry about their lack of disposable income, according to PwC’s new Total Retail report.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK shoppers reveals that brand loyalty is a priority with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) stating that they are a loyal shopper who knows which brands and products they buy most often.

Price is still the most important factor for determining customer loyalty – 62 per cent of Scottish respondents say they return to a retailer because prices are good (59 per cent across the UK).

Other important reasons are trust in the brand (46 per cent in Scotland and 43 per cent across UK), and items being in stock (37 per cent in Scotland and UK).  Almost six in 10 Scottish and UK consumers only shop with companies they trust to minimise online security risks.

Madeleine Thomson, retail and consumer leader at PwC, said: “2017 will be a crucial year for retailers; a combination of price inflation on goods and groceries will mean that brand loyalty will play a more significant role than ever.

“However, with prices on the up and less disposable income available to the average Scottish consumer as a result, retailers will need to be versatile in order to keep their customers from looking for cheaper options elsewhere. The customer experience is key.”

Other consumer habits highlighted by the report show that almost half (48 per cent) of Scottish shoppers buy online because they find it more convenient than visiting a shop although they do worry about fake goods when doing so. 29 per cent of Scots are concerned that luxury cosmetics and fragrances purchases may not be genuine, a quarter feel the same over jewellery and watches, while 22 per cent of Scots worry about clothing, shoes or leather goods.

Ms Thomson adds: “The way retailers are evolving is fascinating with a bigger focus on online platforms and making products more accessible to customers. People have more choice than ever now in terms of ordering goods and the products available to them. Making the process as easy as possible, and via as many channels as possible is one way to stay ahead of the curve.”

The report also finds that one in five consumers argue retailers’ mobile websites are an obstacle to making purchases.

Ms Thomson said: “The rise of digital, our reliance on Amazon – 91.9 per cent of Scottish shoppers (UK is 91 per cent) use the site - and increases in wearable and mobile shopping are also highlighted in this year’s survey. However, something else that is equally important is the value that Scottish shoppers continue to place on in-store experience, with the number one in-store attribute being shop staff with a deep knowledge of their product range.

“As we look ahead, the ‘Total Retail’ experience looks to be defined as simple and streamlined; one that maintains a human touch, blending the best of technological advances with helpful and expert staff both in-store and online.”