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Special offer: How do Brits really feel about deals?

It’s no secret that discounts and promotions catch our attention, but how do Brits really feel about the special offers retailers target them with?
By Editorial on Jan 24th, 2018   @freelotteriesuk

New research from pension advice specialist Portafina shows that Brits are actually quite savvy when it comes to understanding why retailers use offers and promotions.

The top five reasons Brits believe retailers offer a deal or promotion are:

  • To encourage customers to make unplanned purchases (31 per cent)
  • To get rid of stock (22 per cent)
  • So, they can make more money from customers (15 per cent)
  • Competition from other retailers (12 per cent)
  • They can afford as the cost of the product is already marked up (11 per cent)


And generally, shoppers want to see retailers offering discounts and promotions; only 9 per cent would prefer a world where prices are fixed.

Separating the good deals from the marketing ploys

The research also explores how savvy Brits think they are when it comes to separating the good deals from a marketing ploy and for many, it seems this is where things become less clear.

Even though over 90 per cent claim to do some sort of research to make sure a deal is as good as it looks, over two thirds think they are just ok, or even worse, when it comes to sorting the good deals from the bad ones.

These findings potentially indicate that even though consumers across the UK know what’s going on when it comes to offers and promotions from retailers, they still fall for their charms anyway. But why is this?

Emotion buys

Some key findings indicate that these buying decisions could be emotionally driven, as two thirds of Brits say that an offer or deal makes them feel happy because they are saving money.

For 36 per cent, an offer or promotion makes them feel a sense of pride in being a savvy shopper. In addition, almost a third of shoppers feel less guilty about making a purchase if an offer or promotion is involved.

Using special offers for justification

This emotionally-led reasoning for indulging in deals and offers is backed up by Dr Thomas Webb, reader in psychology at the University of Sheffield.

Research conducted by the University of Sheffield and published in the British Journal of Social Psychology suggests that people use special offers to justify an impromptu purchase to themselves. Webb says, 'For example, people might feel that a special offer is a relatively unique opportunity that cannot be missed. Sadly, we also found evidence that justifying indulgences in this way served to undermine peoples' good intentions - eg, save money for the New Year.'

We all love a good deal!

Commenting on the research, Jamie-Smith Thompson, managing director at Portafina says that it’s no surprise to find out that most of us love a good deal now and again.

'Although, what stood out for me is our collective honesty. It seems that only a third of us think we are better than average when it comes to spotting a good deal from a bad one, even though the vast majority of us claim to do some sort of research before buying an offer or promotion.

'To me, this reinforces the fact that our emotions can be very powerful, especially when it comes to not wanting to miss out on something!

'The key to being an even savvier shopper means knowing the true value of anything you are planning to buy, whether it’s on offer or not. Being able to spot a good deal from a bad one puts you in the driving seat and in control of your finances, not the retailer.'

Are you a great deal spotter? Click here to find out!