Remember going to birthday parties as a kid?
The house was decorated with flashy streamers and brightly coloured balloons. An assortment of snacks, along with a bowl of fruit punch, arranged upon a plastic tablecloth. Presents piled high in a corner. And the pièce de résistance? The cake of course!
(If you were lucky you would get an edge piece for maximum icing goodness)
But in the midst of all the excitement, I have to admit I was always the most excited for the games to start. Even the most terrifying game of all – truth or dare.
With some friends, there was comfort in choosing dare, knowing they wouldn’t take the opportunity to publicly humiliate you, but the lesson everyone learns quickly is not everyone can be trusted, so sometimes it was best to just pick truth. Especially when you’re surrounded by all your 8-year-old friends, and worse… their parents!
Now that we’re older, the game of truth and dare is still played on a daily basis but this time, the temperamental UK summer weather is hosting its party, and yes, we have to go!
So, off we go to another day at the UK summer weather’s party, and the game goes like this:
The UK Summer weather tempts us with an enticing dare. It’s warm! Dare you to go out in the garden without sunscreen.
Our response without falter, “Dare accepted!”
The UK Summer weather laughs at our confidence and counterattacks with a hard truth – it’s raining again and our favourite sports team just lost.
We shout to the skies, “You’ve gone too far! I’m not playing anymore! I want to go home and cry!”
Now we’re sunburnt and emotionally devastated but refuse to go home and cry (most days) because we’re adults now. Instead, we head to the shop, grab some self-tan, and beat the UK Summer weather at its own game.
As the trend for a natural glow hits the UK, the key to marketing nirvana is to focus on proven results and ease of application – because it’s such a shame to see bronzed skin paired with fluorescent orange hands.
Other elements of everyday personal maintenance remain relatively consistent for most people living in the UK with changes baring themselves in the move towards more natural-inspired makeup as opposed to a full-blown look to go out on the town, which people often use as a day look. (Don’t ask me why. I have yet to figure this out)
But even when considering this minor change in shopping habits, the summer months still remain the highest spending months of the year, which may come as no surprise as attitudes tend to relax when the weather is nice – because just try to be in a bad mood when the sun is out! Spoiler alert: you can’t.
So, the road through summer is paved with good intentions seeing 53% of consumers setting a budget for summer shopping and 89% admitting they are likely to go over it.
But not everyone shares this carefree attitude, as many consumers are wary of making big purchases without being able to touch, feel and experience it before making a commitment.
50% of shoppers start researching online to make sure they get the best price, with 82% continuing to head into store for further comparisons.
Consumer confidence has plummeted year on year following the UK’s vote to leave the EU and it shows in 70% of consumers who are only spending between £1 and £100 on their summer purchases. This number grew to 72% when looking to purchase a barbeque, leaving a small 5% of consumers who are looking to spend more than £200. The same statistic applies to power garden equipment purchases, with 12% looking to spend more than £200.
Shoppers are looking to snag savings where they can, so even though they’re not breaking the bank, the urge to swipe that pretty little card is nearly irresistible. As soon as the days get warmer in the early summer months 62% of consumers want a shiny new toy to take home and play with straight away.
This is against 25% of people who put off such purchases due to lack of funds or to wait for seasonal offers which should be seen as detrimental to retailers.
Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a consumer and business psychologist at UCL, says that constant discounting can lead to a “dilution of trust”, meaning shoppers come to believe goods are overpriced to begin with.
Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar, also agrees with Dr. Tsivrikoss’s view, saying many retailers have been “left behind” as buying patterns have changed.
“These companies are stuck in a rigid, seasonal buying cycle which no longer reflects how consumers shop,” says Mr Tooke.
When you take into account that the overall value of retail sales dropped by 2% in 2016 compared to 2015 [Kantar Worldpanel], this argument doesn’t leave much room for debate.
Retailers need to develop transparency and add value to their customer’s summer experiences.
Now that we’re all adults, can’t we just stop playing games with each other? This isn’t an 8-year-olds birthday party, after all.