Following a difficult few years for retailers, American Express’ Dan Edelman examines shoppers’ main motivations and priorities as we head into the most prosperous part of the year

As consumers refine their focus on value, what it means to be a good retailer today is more complex than ever and involves ensuring your proposition appeals to shoppers while delivering a great customer experience.

We recently surveyed 2,000 consumers with the aim of helping retailers leverage the latest trends shaping shopping and to pinpoint shoppers’ preferences. From payments to packaging, delivery and deals, we analysed responses and identified four groups united by distinct motivations and priorities. Here’s what we found. 

Practical purchasers 

Convenience is king for these shoppers. The entire shopping experience must be as smooth and seamless as possible.

This group favours ecommerce, with more than half (58%) buying online at least once a week.

What’s more, the vast majority (93%) value retailers that accommodate last-minute purchases and quick delivery times – a habit that has persisted from the pandemic.

“This group favours ecommerce, with more than half (58%) buying online at least once a week”

Tolerance for friction is low for these digital-first shoppers. Most (85%) would abandon a payment if they can’t use their preferred payment method and more than half (53%) believe they shouldn’t have to enter their payment details at all. 

Retailers can win over this cohort by ensuring payment and checkout processes are as easy and frictionless as possible. Those that offer customers choice at checkout and help them to get their purchase in their hand as fast as possible will have the edge.

Savvy spenders 

This group is primarily driven by value. They prioritise bargains and sales over repeat buying with regular outlets, and spend greater time shopping around.

However, the majority are doing this through necessity rather than choice. Many say they have less disposable income now, are buying less overall (52%) and are switching to more affordable brands (32%). 

Understandably, this group want retailers to offer free returns (46%) and loyalty points (54%). They also want personalised promotions, with a third (31%) saying this would encourage them to spend more.

Rewarding savvy spenders’ loyalty is key, while price matches, multi-buy discounts and flexible payments will help win over this cash-conscious cohort.

Sustainable shoppers

With the environment front of mind, a large majority of these shoppers (86%) support their local high street rather than buying online, keeping their carbon footprint low. Two in five (40%) say that an ‘end of life’ recycling scheme would make them shop and spend more regularly with a retailer.

This group also say that sustainable packaging and a brand’s ethical reputation are all important when deciding who to spend with. Almost two thirds (63%) would only shop with a retailer offering sustainable delivery options. 

“These shoppers want greater visibility of how sustainable and eco-friendly products are, as well as the green credentials of the retailer they’re buying from”

Clear sustainability credentials are crucial. These shoppers want greater visibility of how sustainable and eco-friendly products are, as well as the green credentials of the retailer they’re buying from.  

Experience seekers 

For this group, it’s all about the experience. The majority (79%) believe social interaction is an important part of shopping and put emphasis on the importance of brilliant customer service rather than prioritising speed and efficiency.

They are more likely to spend on travel and holidays, as well as homeware and home renovations. But seven in 10 (69%) also say they proactively save for high-value/big-ticket items and restrict spending on high-frequency/low-value items. 

To entice this cohort, merchants must ensure both the in-store and online experience – and customer service – are as top-notch as possible to drive loyalty and repeat spend. 

To discover more about current British shopper behaviours, download the latest American Express report How We Buy: The Trends Shaping Shopping


Daniel Edelman, vice president and UK general manager, merchant services at American Express

At American Express Dan leads the Merchant Services UK organisation responsible for managing the relationships with existing merchants on the network and most importantly signing up new merchants to the network to grow coverage. He is also responsible for relationships with aggregators across Europe and the growth of the Pay with Bank Transfer Open Banking business in Europe.