The election of Donald Trump as US president is a powerful reminder to c-store retailers to know their shoppers, according to research analysts.
A survey by HIM Research and Consulting in the wake of the Trump victory found that only one in four shoppers expect UK food and drink prices to rise.
However, in light of the unpredictability of the US election result, one of the biggest lessons for retailers is to ‘know your customer’, according to HIM’s communications director Katie Littler.
“A lot of assumptions, predictions and experts have been shown to be wrong in the last few days. It’s a reminder to stay very close to the actual decision makers, your shoppers,” she said.
“If you don’t know exactly what they’re thinking and doing, then you’re just making decisions based on assumption, not fact, and you may be in for a big surprise!”
HIM’s survey found that 26% of respondents expected UK food and drink prices to go up, compared to 6% who thought they would fall. A further 39% said there would be no impact on food prices following the Trump victory.
However, 39% said they were more concerned about the state of the UK economy, against 41% whose opinions remain unaffected by the result.
“We don’t foresee a change in some of the longer term trends that have reared their head in UK grocery; shoppers are still ethically aware; the demand for healthier options has reached a tipping point; out of home eating has become a norm; convenience, solution-driven shopping will still drive spend and footfall,” Littler added.
“Previous periods of social and financial uncertainty have also seen shoppers turn to ‘affordable luxuries’ to cheer themselves up; snacking, food-to-go, coffee-to-go, desserts, time and stress savers could feature on increased numbers of shoppers lists!”
In terms of the impact of Brexit, HIM research found that 61% of shoppers expected prices to increase, although any change in shopper habits had been subtle to date, she said.