Product Quality Trumps Price for Consumers, Study Finds
As brands and retailers endeavor to unlock the mystery surrounding consumers’ shopping habits and behaviors, the question of product quality vs. price comes into sharper focus. According to recent research from technology company First Insight, consumers are increasingly choosing quality.
In fact, 53 percent of consumers who responded to a First Insight survey said product quality was the most important factor when making product purchases, compared to price (38 percent). Furthermore, the research showed that consumer expectations for discounts are falling as an increasing proportion of shoppers said department store discounts had no influence on expectations for discounts across other categories, including vehicles, smartphones, furniture, home appliances and home electronics.
For example, First Insight found that the furniture and vehicle categories showed the “sharpest percentage change in expectations” compared to the prior survey, with the number of respondents saying “discounts had no impact on purchases rising 98 percent and 74 percent, respectively." Home appliances (36 percent), home electronics (27 percent) and smartphones (26 percent) also saw significant increases in people who said that discounts had no impact on their purchase decisions in these categories.
“For years, consumers have been trained by department stores and mass merchants to focus on finding deals, and many retailers have responded with deep discounts,” said Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight, in a press release. “The results of this study indicate that we may be reaching a tipping point, as retailers that have been focused on providing consumers with the quality, differentiated products they want and the price they expect are gaining greater traction and changing the consumer mind-set. As the pendulum swings away from discounts, retailers have an opportunity to capture greater sales through quality products in every category, from apparel to furniture and appliances.”
Quality vs. Price Perceptions by Age and Gender
Some interesting findings from the First Insight research include the following:
- The percentage of men and baby boomers who said discounts do not influence their purchase decisions more than doubled compared to the prior survey (111 percent and 128 percent increases, respectively) in the furniture category, with the percentage of millennials nearly doubling (94 percent increase). The percentage among women and Generation X respondents also increased roughly 77 percent each.
- The percentage of women and millennials who said discounts do not impact their purchase decisions on vehicles nearly doubled (97 percent and 93 percent, respectively). While the percentage of men who said discounts do not impact their purchase decisions on vehicles also increased, it was by a much slimmer margin (52 percent), and the same held true for Gen X (60 percent increase) and baby boomers (78 percent increase).
- While a growing percentage of men (61 percent more) and baby boomers (64 percent more) show lowering influence of discounts on smartphone purchases, the impact of discounts on women and younger generations’ purchase decisions in this category is about the same or increasing. For example, women saw a 9 percent decrease in the percentage of respondents who said department store discounts have “no influence” on expectations for smartphone purchases, with Generation X decreasing by 5 percent.
- The percentage of respondents that said department store discounts were having “no influence” on expectations for discounts in home appliances increased overall, particularly with baby boomers (87 percent increase). However, the percentage of millennials that said department store discounts were having “no influence” on expectations for discounts in home appliances increased by only 3 percent. Male respondents increased nearly 50 percent, with women respondents increasing 20 percent.
What are your perceptions on consumer purchasing decisions when evaluated through the lens of price vs. quality. Please leave a comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to get a discussion going on this important topic!