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Everyone likes getting a good deal. But when it comes to choosing between saving time and saving money, it seems shoppers would rather compromise on cost than on convenience.

That’s among the findings of a new survey from the National Retail Federation. Its latest Consumer View report found that “today’s consumers increasingly prioritize convenience when it comes to purchases” – and they’re willing to pay for it.

The report actually begins by noting “a conflicting consumer story.” When asked what matters most to them when shopping, about a third of the shoppers surveyed mention quality, while another third mention price. Only about one in ten said convenience.

But it turns out convenience matters more than many of these shoppers are letting on.

The report found that 66% of the survey respondents pay for a delivery shipping service like Amazon Prime, Shipt or Instacart, and one quarter pay for more than one service. This “points to consumers’ willingness to pay for convenience,” the NRF concludes, even if these same consumers claim quality and price are most important to them.

Paying for convenience is most prevalent at the grocery store – or, more precisely, most prevalent among people who don’t want to have to go inside a grocery store at all. 66% of the shoppers surveyed said they’re willing to pay more for convenience when getting their groceries.

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“Our lives are getting busier every day and not many people have the luxury to spend hours at the grocery store,” one shopper told the survey takers. “Our time with family and work is precious to us, so we choose the most convenient options when purchasing items for our family,” another said.

And if convenient means having to pay more, so be it.

Saving money and searching for the best deals takes time. And many non-couponers say the main reason they don’t use coupons is because it takes too much effort. So it stands to reason that people who are most concerned with saving time when shopping, are willing to forego saving money.

That said, a number of recent surveys have found that many shoppers wish they didn’t have to make a choice between saving time and money. They’d like to do both. One survey found that 68% of online grocery shoppers “get frustrated when unable to use coupons or discounts online.” Another survey found that shoppers would be more likely to buy groceries online if they could use coupons, and another found that nearly half of all shoppers who had tried online grocery shopping gave up on it because they couldn’t find as many deals online as in the store.

“Today’s busy consumer embraces — and expects — convenience in every part of their retail experience,” the NRF study noted. And it seems they also expect not to be overcharged for it. Late last year, Kroger ran a holiday promotion offering free pickup for orders made online, which only raised the question – Kroger charges you to drive yourself to the store and pick up your own groceries? Other stores like Walmart don’t. So you can’t blame shoppers for coming to expect that some services can be both convenient and free.

For now, at least, it seems busy shoppers are willing to pay for the privilege of not having to push around a shopping cart and wait in line for a cashier to scan their items one by one. But as more retailers compete for these shoppers’ business, their only options to set themselves apart are to become even more convenient – or less expensive. So in the end, shoppers may ultimately find that opting for convenience doesn’t necessarily have to come at a cost.

Image source: Walmart

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Sure we buy Amazon Prime for groceries - deranged.mederanged.me

  2. Some of these people’s tunes regarding savings vs. convenience will likely change with the next economic downturn. It tends to happen like clockwork and behaviors change. Then there will be articles on this site about studies reflecting that.

    Also, having an Amazon Prime membership is not only about shipping but all the other benefits it offers. People have been willing to pay for Costco memberships and others for decades for all their benefits.

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