Bartering Britons knock an extra £2.3 billion off high street prices*

The tradition of haggling down prices was once reserved for the souks and markets of foreign climes, but as the recession continues to bite, Britons are abandoning their traditional reserve and finely honing their haggling techniques in a bid to bag a bargain on UK high streets.

  • Two thirds of Britons now happy to haggle on the high street
  • Britons now negotiate almost £50 per month in discounts by cashing in on voucher schemes and honing haggling techniques

According to research** among over 5,000 Britons by Moneysupermarket Vouchers, two thirds - 61 per cent – admit they have resorted to using bartering techniques to wangle a discount on the high street in the last six months, and 15 per cent say they now ALWAYS have a go at haggling to see if there’s room for negotiation.

Men are much more confident in the bartering stakes than women – 71 per cent of men have flexed their bargaining muscles to secure a discount in the last six months, compared to only 56 per cent of women. The research also revealed that London is the bargaining capital of Britain, with 67 per cent of capital-dwellers now happy to haggle, while Aberdeen residents are most reserved – 45 per cent wouldn’t dream of trying to barter down prices on the high street.

Sian Harrison, vouchers expert at comments; “The practice of bartering used to be seen as something of a taboo on British high streets, but as purse strings continue to tighten, Britons are becoming more bold in demanding value for money.

“Consumers are aware that they are in a strong position as retailers continue to struggle, so they are feeling more empowered to challenge set prices. The prevalence of discount vouchers on the high street is also helping to drive down prices. Savvy shoppers are making sure they are always armed with the latest vouchers to avoid paying over the odds.”

In a revival of the ‘coupon culture’ of decades past, the craze for using discount vouchers and codes has also reached epic proportions according to the study. Nine in ten Britons (91 per cent) have hit the high street armed with a discount voucher this year, with the average Brit having claimed almost £300 in savings in just the last six months.

Top shopping tips from Moneysupermarket Vouchers:

  1. Know what you want
    If you’re having a day out at the shops make sure you are clear from the outset what you are looking for, to reduce temptation and frivolous spending.
  2. Research the product
    Know the specification that you are looking for and what you expect in your product.
  3. Set yourself a budget
    Be clear on how much you want to spend and keep that in mind.
  4. Try shopping online for your product
    Try a comparison website like; take the hard work out of checking a number of retailers separately. Print your results page and take it with you, show it to the salesman as proof of cheaper prices – you can always buy it online when you go home if he or she won’t match/beat the price
  5. Attempt to reduce the price by asking for a discount
    If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  A sale to retailer is better than no sale at all.
  6. Could there be a discount if you need multiple products or could you get an added extra?
    Go shopping with a friend, could you get a reduction with buying multiple products?  Of if you are just after the one item, could there be an added extra thrown into the deal?
  7. Check to see whether you could use a discount voucher or promotional code when purchasing the product
    Remember vouchers are for shopping in stores, codes are for online shopping.
  8. Still ask for a discount on sale items
    If an item is on sale, it is more likely that the retailer wants to sell this than newer stock, don’t be afraid to ask for a reduction on top of the reduced price.
  9. Think about your purchasing methods, you may wish to use a credit card for cash back/incentives, or get a deal on cash.
    Ask if you can have a reduction by paying cash, this ensures the retailer does not incur a surcharge.  If not, use a credit card that offers cash back or other incentives.
  10. Don’t be afraid to try elsewhere
    If you think you may be able to get something cheaper elsewhere – try it!  You could always go back to the original retailer if not. 

Notes to editors:
*Brits save an average of £49.23 per month from bartering for discounts. Multiplied by ONS figures of adult population of 47,864,400 = £2.3 billion per month in collective savings

** Research was conducted by One Poll who questioned 5,010 UK adults on behalf of in April 2009


Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article

Contact us

MoneySuperMarket Press Office

For any media queries or interview requests please contact the MoneySuperMarket press office on...

Telephone 0203 826 4576