15 May 13

Deal obsessed Britons ‘Paralysed by Choice’ as three million shoppers admit spending 24 hours researching every major purchase



Cost conscious Britons are becoming increasingly paranoid about missing out on good deals, spending hours researching online, scouring the high street and interrogating friends, before finally taking the plunge and making a purchase, a new report commissioned by EDF Energy has found.



Squeezed household budgets during the economic downturn have turned the country into a nation of reluctant deal hunters, determined to secure a good price but faced with an almost never-ending choice of what, where, and when to buy goods and services. Technology fuels the obsession as shoppers can browse thousands of options in store or online available on their smart phones, voucher codes, cash-back deals, check comparison sites, and customer reviews, according to the study.


But as a result, consumers are suffering from ‘analysis paralysis’; overwhelmed by choice and fearful of missing out on a good deal.


The online EDF Energy/You Gov poll found:


  • Over three quarters (77%) admit to feeling pressure to shop around for a good deal - but only a third (37%) say they enjoy it*
  • Britons are terrified of regret, with nearly half (48%) shopping around because they fear missing a good deal
  • Just under half of shoppers (49%) admit to spending more than two hours researching a £200+ purchase, with three million Britons dedicating more than 24 hours of time researching each major purchasing decision (+£200)
  • With more consumers feeling the strain of the constant quest for the perfect purchase, over half (51%) are now rating simplicity and flexibility as key features when selecting products or services
  • 95% of those who own a smart phone having used it to research a product**
  • However, when it comes to trusted sources, over a third (35%) trust themselves as being the best source of information, followed by comparison sites (33%) and partners (12%)



The Analysis Paralysis: the Rise of the Navigator Brands report
which was commissioned by EDF Energy in partnership with consumer trends agency Canvas8, found shoppers are now turning to simple, flexible goods and services, which take the hassle out of shopping around and do the hard work for them.


Holidaymakers for example are increasingly returning to traditional package deals rather than booking each part of their trip separately – but remain in control, as travel agents offer options on flight times, hotels, catering and display independent customer reviews on their websites.

And in the energy sector – which has been criticised for the number and complexity of tariffs on offer - EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise tariff monitors the market for customers, informing them if another supplier is more than £1 a week cheaper (that’s £52 a year) at typical use.The tariff - which fixes energy prices at a highly competitive price - also allows customers to leave for free at any point. Over 1.2m energy accounts have switched to Blue+ Price Promise since it was launched last April.


Martin Stead, Marketing Director, EDF Energy comments: "As our research shows, we now have access to more options and knowledge than ever before, meaning each decision, from our morning cup of coffee to our summer holiday can feel like a minefield, exacerbated by the nagging sense that somewhere out there is the ‘perfect solution’. Nowhere is this more applicable than the energy sector. Customers are now faced with a multitude of products and numerous commentators providing advice, instruction and opinion.


“That’s why we created Blue +Price Promise to help simplify the process. The tariff puts customers in the driving seat and delivers what they have told us they want: a low priced fixed deal, a promise to monitor the market for customers and to inform them if another supplier is more than £1 a week cheaper and the flexibility to leave for free at any time.”


EDF Energy’s Blue +Price Promise February 2015 tariff is currently the cheapest fixed priced deal on the market without exit fees. Based on a national average of regional prices, the annual dual fuel bill for a customer on Blue +Price Promise February 2015 paying by direct debit will be £1,192 a year at typical consumption.****EDF Energy also ensures its most vulnerable customers automatically benefit from its cheapest available tariff – as part a ground-breaking pledge to support those most in need.*****


Nick Morris, Founder of trend agency, Canvas8, said: "At Canvas8, we’ve seen a new trend emerging. One that on the face of it looks very like the do-it-for-me culture of old. But rather than it being based on lack of knowledge, it's based on refinement of knowledge and simplicity. Central to this is the emergence of Navigator Brands: businesses that help us save time whilst keeping us connected. They process data to make our lives less stressful. Working quietly in the background, they free us up to get on with what really matters in our lives."


:: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 6429 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th March - 4th April 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).



*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 6429 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th March - 4th April 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


**IPSOS OTX Media – The Media, Content and Technology Research specialists – Study of Private Smartphone Users in the UK.


*** Customers will be informed via email within 10 days of a supplier informing the company of a deal which is £52 a year cheaper, at typical consumption. The same information will also be published on the EDF Energy website and updated within two working days of a supplier informing the company of a deal which is £52 or more a year cheaper. Customers who are not online will be sent a letter within 10 days. The Price Promise takes account of dual fuel and direct debit discounts EDF Energy is aware of, but not cashback offers or other indirect offers.


**** Typical consumption as defined by Ofgem is 3,300 kWh electricity and 16,500 kWh gas consumption and 5,000 kWh of electricity for Economy 7 meters).


*****To find out more EDF Energy’s pledge to help its most vulnerable customers, click on the following link http://www.edfenergy.com/media-centre/press-news/EDF-Energys-most-vulnerable-customers-benefit-from-cheapest-price-pledge.shtml