Women more willing to switch brands

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 31st August 2009

Australians have made various lifestyle changes in response to the recession, including sacrificing some of their favourite brands to save money. However, it is the type of sacrifices being made that has proved most interesting, according to Datamonitor’s Recession & Recovery research.

Madam Butterfly
The downturn has prompted the majority of Australians to make some sort of sacrifice in their everyday spending. Whether it is bringing lunch from home, renting DVDs instead of going to the cinema, or making sure every drop of toothpaste is squeezed out before another tube is purchased, consumers around the country have undertaken measured changes to their lifestyles as a result of the Global Financial Crisis.

One of the more predictable manifestations of the downturn has been a growing propensity to switch brands and, sometimes, stores in order to save money. While this in itself may not be groundbreaking, it is the examination of who is switching where the most intriguing insights are revealed.

The willingness to switch brands is a sentiment most aligned with female consumers, according to the study. When asked in July 2009, about one-third of Australian men claimed they are now buying cheaper brands, while over half of Australian women are doing the same. Even store choice has been impacted by women’s willingness to switch: around one-third of Australian women report that they are shopping around for the best price, which is almost double the proportion of men who exhibit the same behaviour.

“The downturn has paved the way for a new breed of ‘butterfly consumers’, who are easily distracted by different offerings, whether it is new product variants, improved store formats or more engaging shopping experiences,” Katrina Diamonon, Datamonitor analyst, based in Sydney, explained. “In the downturn, it is the prospect of lower prices and greater value that is making them flutter.”

Where did they go?

One-in-five Australian women reported that they are starting to shop at discounters like Aldi, and are doing so either ‘most of the time’ or ‘all of the time’.

The discount mentality was shown by the staggering response to the opening of Costco in Melbourne two weeks ago. The level of interest garnered by the launch would have made Apple proud and is a clear sign of the bargain hunting mindset.

“The popularity of the retail giant is indicative of Australians’ propensity to actively seek greater value amid the downturn. And since women are the primary grocery shoppers, it is not surprising that they are more fervent in their intentions to shop at discount stores,” Ms Diamonon said.

Shopping IQ on the rise?
“The downturn has not diminished women’s brand loyalty, but rather enhanced their shopping IQ and encouraged them to become more ‘considered’ shoppers,” Ms Diamonon advised. “They will certainly stick with their favourite brands if the perceived benefits justify the cost, but if they don’t deliver, expect these butterflies to take flight.”