With inflation pinching their budgets, shoppers are trying a number of different ways to save money – cutting back on unnecessary purchases, looking for deals, opting for cheaper brands.

Oh, and abusing coupons.

While several studies and surveys have examined how inflation has impacted our purchases of groceries and other everyday necessities, the e-commerce fraud prevention company Forter has compiled a report about how higher prices are affecting our online shopping.

And apparently some shoppers who are desperate for savings, are willing to do whatever it takes to get them.

Forter found that the majority of shoppers, nearly two-thirds, have changed their online shopping habits as a result of higher prices. Among those, more than half shop online less often, while about a quarter only buy products with a coupon or other discount.

And if they can’t find a discount, many shoppers are willing to give themselves one. Forter says nearly half of all survey respondents “have considered manipulating how they shop online, including abusing retailers’ policies.” The most frequent type of abuse is combining or stacking coupons in violation of online retailers’ policies, cited by half of all would-be abusers. 15% have purchased, or have considered purchasing, highly-sought-out products with the express purpose of reselling them for a profit.


Among millennial shoppers, one in five admitted to considering opening multiple online accounts to reuse promotions, while one in four Gen Z shoppers have considered sharing passwords to online subscriptions with friends and family.

“When times feel tight, consumers will naturally look for ways to cut costs and corners,” Forter principal technologist Doriel Abrahams said in a statement. “Brands need to strike a balance between driving business with a great experience and limiting the damage caused by policy abuse. This comes down to knowing who your good customers are.”

So Forter suggests that retailers focus on offering more positive perks, to distract and dissuade potential abusers. Two thirds of survey respondents said they’d be more likely to shop – honestly – on a regular basis with an online retailer that offers free shipping or more affordable products. A third said frequent sales, free and easy returns and loyalty programs would entice them to shop more often, on the up-and-up.

And then there are the shoppers who don’t commit fraud – but don’t make purchases, either. One out of three respondents said they have been known to abandon their online shopping cart “due to frustration with their online shopping experience.”

So as shoppers change their online shopping habits, “brands that want to maintain customer loyalty and value in this macro environment must evolve, too,” Abrahams said. “From the simple – but important – perks to the full checkout experience, consumers want more and better from their favorite brands.”

And when it comes to enticing shoppers with offers, and trusting them not to go overboard taking advantage of them, brands want more and better from their customers, too. Everyone likes a good deal – but embracing abuse and fraud to save a buck is likely to result in fewer deals for us all.

Image source: Mockuper


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