Cheap is cheerful - new generation proud of their price tags

Article date: 9 January 2007

  • But could buying frenzy be false economy?

British shoppers are becoming addicted to the thrill of buyingon the cheap. No longer embarrassed to bag a bargain they arespending more than ever on low cost items and are proud of theirpurchases.

But the increasing inability to resist a bargain could lead to asurge in our overall spending as people adopt a “little andvery often” shopping policy.

The study by Norwich Union Insurance* found that this so-called"price tag pride" has had a dramatic impact on our spendinghabits:

  • Nearly one in five (17%) Brits often spend more than plannedbecause they just can’t resist a bargain
  • Just under a quarter (24%) justify spending on bargain buysbecause of their low price tag
  • Over half (55%) are proud to say they’ve nabbed abargain, while over a quarter (27%) get such a buzz from it theycan’t wait for their next "bargain hit".

The research reveals that price-tag pride isparticularly rife among younger shoppers, with 58% of 18-24 yearolds saying they are proud to tell people they have found abargain. Furthermore, one in ten 18-24 year olds admit theycan’t wait for people to ask them where they bought items sothey can boast about their shopping prowess.

Financial expert and presenter of C4's Your Money or YourWife, Cesarina Holm-Kander, believes that we are witnessing ageneration shift, which explains why shopping attitudes havechanged so considerably over the past 40 years. Using NorwichUnion’s findings, the financial expert has identified threevery different generations of spending types.

  1. Price-tag Prouds, 20–40 yearolds
    Unlike their parents, the new generation ofBritish shopper loves a good bargain and is not afraid to say so.In fact, young adults’ love for all things low-cost is fastbecoming a national obsession, with people proudly telling friendsand family just how cheap their latest purchase was and buyingmore items, more often than ever.
  2. Cash Flashers, 40–70 yearolds
    People in their forties and fifties – thebaby-boomers – were the first real consumer culturegeneration and are more materialistic and flash with their cashthan their parents. While they like to bag a good bargain, theycertainly won’t boast about it. Instead they tend to use themoney saved to treat themselves to more expensive items to enhancetheir status.
  3. Shamed to Spend, 70 year olds+
    Today’s frugal pensioners were born duringand just after wartime austerity and grew up in a world wherespending money was a luxury. Items were repaired and kept asopposed to today’s throwaway consumer culture. As a result,pensioners are still reluctant to spend their cash - even onbargains - and just 2% would consider treating themselves to itemsthey don’t really need.

But could the trend backfire on the price-tag prouds? Instead ofsaving money could bargain hunters actually be running the risk ofgetting into serious debt?

“Norwich Union’s research has shown that people get areal buzz from bagging a bargain and that it can get quiteaddictive,” says Cesarina Holm-Kander.

“What we don’t realise is that while we’respending less on single items, we’re spending much morefrequently – what used to be an occasional shopping trip hasbecome a weekly activity for many British women. This could explainwhy, despite the popularity of bargain shopping, more and moreBrits are getting themselves into serious debt.”

Norwich Union’s research also found that:

  • Women are more likely than men to admit to being "price tagproud" and enjoy letting people know how much their bargains costthem
  • However, because women can’t resist a bargain, comparedto men, they are particularly prone to spending more overall thanthey intend too
  • But both men and women are most likely to splurge on food andgroceries.

It also appears that bargain hunters arelosing count of how much they’re spending. Nearly two-thirds(62%) of Brits admit they have no idea what their possessions areworth in total.

Dominic Clayden, director of technical claims at Norwich Union,comments: “Our research shows a change in buying behaviour,with young adults especially happy to splash out more regularly onbargains. But can all those small price tags lead to big bills atthe end of each month?

“Worryingly many people also appear to be losing track of howmuch their belongings are actually worth. So we would remindpeople, when renewing their home insurance, to take into accountthose extra items they have bought themselves to ensure they areall sufficiently insured.”


Case studies available upon request

Press office contacts:

Joanna Pritchard at Lexis PR
Telephone: 020 7908 6440 

Sophie Lam at Lexis PR
Telephone: 020 7908 6482 

Rebecca Holmes, Norwich Union Press Office
Telephone: 01603 354 346/07800 690731

Notes to editors:

*ICM interviewed a random sample of 1000 adults aged18+ on-line across the UK between December 1 and December 32006.

ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abide by itsrules. Further information at

About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is theUK’s largest general insurer with a market share of around14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment productsand one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAsprovide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in theUK.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at

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