77% admit to buying items they do not need due to vouchers, sales and discounts

Almost eight in ten people surveyed by National Savings and Investments (NS&I) admitted to spending more money than they might otherwise have done because of being tempted by the prospect of saving money.

  • Men spend almost £25 more a month than women when using such discounts
  • The majority of people aged between 16 and 44 believe that the incentive of a saving or gaining a reward leads them to spend more money
  • A quarter of people say they regretted using vouchers and discounts when it turned out they had spent more money.

With thousands of people across the country loosening the purse strings during Manic Monday (8 December), Cyber Monday (1 December) and Black Friday (28 November), 77% of those surveyed said they made purchases simply because of vouchers, flash sales, discounts, special offers on groceries and loyalty points being offered.

The surveyed also showed that:

  • Only 13% actually believe they save money through using vouchers
  • 43% believe they spend more money as a result of using vouchers
  • 78% say having a discount voucher/code encourages them to eat at a restaurant over one they don’t have a discount for

The vast majority (85%) of those respondents aged between 16 and 44 believe that vouchers, flash sales, discounts and extra loyalty points encourage them to spend money they might not otherwise spend, with only 13% of all people surveyed stating that they actually save money through the use of vouchers.

People with children (87%) and females (81%) were revealed as most likely to be encouraged to spend more through taking up offers on vouchers, sales, discounts and extra loyalty points. Meanwhile, people aged 65 and over were least likely to be encouraged to spend more.

Amongst the people surveyed who believed they spent more each month as a result of using vouchers or discounts, the average additional spend per month was £72.  Interestingly, while the women surveyed assumed they are more likely to be encouraged to spend more  as a result of such offers, the survey findings actually reveal that it’s men who spend more at £85.72 per month, in comparison to £61.69 spent by women.

Additional spend using vouchers and discounts was revealed to be highest in London at £88 per month, meanwhile additional spend was found to be lowest in Scotland at £46 per month. In fact, 27% of respondents stated that they regretted using vouchers and discounts due to realising that they were spending more money with no actual savings being made.

As well as encouraging us to spend more, such offers also impacted on where we spend our money.78% of people said that having a voucher would encourage them to eat at a particular restaurant over one which didn’t offer a discount.  This was particularly the case for younger age groups, with 92% of 16-24 year olds, 87% of 25-34 and 82% of 35-44 saying they would be swayed by a voucher.

Julian Hynd, NS&I Retail Director, said:

“Our survey results show that rather than necessarily saving them money, people are all too often being swayed into spending money on items and services that they may not actually want or need.

“In order to encourage more responsible spending, we all need to think about whether the pursuit of saving money through sales and discounts is actually causing us to spend much more than we should or actually want to.”

Notes to Editors:

  • Senior NS&I spokespeople are available to discuss the survey results.

About this research

The Use of Offers Survey was conducted by TNS; among 2,430 Great British adults aged 16+ between 4th and 10th November 2014.

Table for increased spend due to vouchers/sales on essential and non-essential items
  All Gender Age
    Male Female 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Total 77% 72% 81% 86% 85% 85% 78% 73% 60%
Table for mean amount of additional spend per month due to discounts/flash sales
  All Gender Age
    Male Female 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Mean £71.72 £85.72 £61.69 £65.21 £65.15 £81.65 £81.89 £75.23 £58.90
Table for increased spend due to vouchers/sales on essential items (regions)
  All Regions
Scotland North West Greater London South East
Mean £71.72 £46.20 £75.62 £88.22 £86.99

About NS&I

NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with over 25 million customers and over £100 billion invested. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. Savings tips including a later life guide and further information on personal finance are available in the You and Your Money section on nsandi.com.

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