If it seems like prices are going up and there are fewer deals available than there used to be, a new report offers a simple explanation for that – stores think we either don’t notice, or just don’t care.

The Pricing Disconnect Between Senior Retail Executives and Consumers”, by retail technology company First Insight, finds that retail executives are a little out of touch when it comes to knowing what their customers want.

First Insight conducted separate surveys with consumers and senior-level retail executives to compare their perspectives on consumers’ shopping and saving habits. What they found was “a significant perception gap” when it comes to how prices impact consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Both groups agreed that quality was the most important factor in determining what to buy. But while 40% of consumers felt low pricing was most important, only 20% of retail executives thought consumers actually felt that way.

When asked what motivates them to shop in store rather than online, consumers named discounts, promotions and coupons as being among the top three most important factors. But retail executives ranked them almost last in importance, prompting First Insight to point out that “in-store discounts are more important to consumers than retail executives know”.


And most shoppers prefer to shop in physical stores. Less than half said they frequently use mobile devices to shop, at least six times a month. But retail executives think this type of shopping behavior is much more popular than it really is, with 78% estimating that consumers are frequently shopping on their phones.

Finally, there’s the matter of prices in general. 60% of shoppers believe that prices are going up in retail stores, while only 20% of retail executives felt that consumers believe that. Are consumers misinformed, and retail executives know that prices aren’t actually going up? Or are the executives raising prices and hoping consumers won’t notice?

The report doesn’t try to answer those questions. Instead, it simply points out that there are big disconnects between what shoppers want, and what retailers think they want. And if retailers can’t cater to their customers, they risk losing them as customers altogether.

“While quality of products is most important to consumers, pricing plays a significantly more important role in how consumers make purchase decisions than senior retail executives realize,” the report concludes. “Further, many senior retail leaders are out of touch with the importance of discounts, coupons and promotions in-store.”

And if retailers don’t spend more time listening to and getting to know their customers, things may only get worse. “The impact of this disconnect will only continue to grow as prices rise due to tariffs,” First Insight CEO Greg Petro said. “Retailer and brand decision makers need to understand consumers’ perceptions to ensure they are able to continually attract today’s consumers with the right price-value equation.”

So if you don’t like the prices you see, the coupons you receive or the discounts you’re offered, don’t suffer in silence, or retailers might just assume you’re perfectly happy with it all. Then, they may be the ones who are surprised – when you happily do your shopping somewhere else.

Photo by virginiaretail



  1. I think top level retail execs don’t WANT price and discounts to be important to their customers so they try to rewrite the narrative to ‘price and discounts aren’t important to our customers’.

    What retail execs don’t realize is they can play all the Jedi mind tricks they want, customers aren’t buying it.

  2. So my question is how do we let retailers know we aren’t happy? I’ve repeatedly complained to coupons.com, red plum, and retailmenot. I never get coupons advertised for weekly papers. My area seems to be discriminated against when it comes to coupons.

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