First Insight Reveals Consumer Markdown Mania and its Effect on Retailers

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New research revealed at NRF’s BIG Show finds shoppers expect more discounts, less willing to pay full price for items

PITTSBURGH, PA, January 17, 2016 – Today, a new report from First Insight, the world’s leading provider of technology solutions that empower retailers and manufacturers to introduce the right new products at the right price, uncovers what discounts consumers expect as well as how retailers can leave behind the dangerous strategy of using big sales to drive traffic to their stores.

Retailers are in a race to the bottom as they continue to use markdowns to entice consumers, creating a demand for larger, more compelling discounts. This has spawned a unique challenge for businesses, as they are forced to consistently mark down the price of items, whether it be to meet the expectations of consumers or to make up for overstocks and returns.

How Retailers Have Created “Sales Fatigue”

From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Memorial Day and 4th of July sales, retailers have conditioned consumers to seek out deals all throughout the year. This strategy has significantly changed shopping behavior, leading the average shopper to become increasingly price sensitive and selective with their purchases. 

The survey found 45 percent of women must see a markdown of 41 percent or greater to even enter a store, and 39 percent of consumers are willing to travel to another store to see if they can buy an item at a lower price. 

Additionally, in a previous study, First Insight found that the majority of women are no longer interested in paying full price for items. On average, across all womenswear categories tested, consumers were willing to pay only 76 percent of full price.

Who Suffers the Most and Who Reaps the Benefits?

While brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to keep pace with the rise of online shopping – 60 percent of consumers see the biggest product markdowns online – some brick-and-mortar retailers still have a reputation for offering the best discounts. 

The survey found that consumers expect to find worthwhile markdowns at retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, as 34 percent of consumers think they find the best value at big box stores, followed by department stores and off-price retailers, such as Macy’s and T.J. Maxx, at 26 percent each.

Consumers are less likely to turn to luxury and boutique brands for value, with only six percent finding the greatest value at luxury retailers and just three percent turning to boutique retailers. No matter the retailer, however, big brand names take a hit, as 45 percent of consumers only buy brand name items when they’re on sale.

“This new markdowns-focused shopping mindset is hurting the entire retail industry as deep discounts have completely shifted the way consumers view an item’s worth,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “Retailers need to stop relying on markdowns to solve their problems, and instead, re-examine their pricing strategies and invest in technologies like predictive analytics to learn more about what their customers value most.” 

To review the full research and recommendations on how retailers can cure their business of the markdown virus, download the full report.



First Insight’s consumer survey polled 1,303 consumers across America regarding their sentiment around retail markdowns. The survey was conducted online between October 29 and November 3, 2016.

About First Insight, Inc.

First Insight is the world’s leading provider of solutions that empower brands to incorporate the voice of the consumer into the design and merchandising of new products. Through the use of online consumer engagement, the First Insight solution gathers real-time consumer data and applies predictive analytic models to create actionable insights, which drive measurable value. Retailers, manufacturers and brands use the First Insight solution to design, select, price and market the most profitable new products for reduced markdown rates and improved sales, margins and inventory turnover. Customers include some of world’s leading vertically integrated brands, sporting goods companies, department stores, mass merchant retailers and wholesalers. For further information, please visit

Media Contact:
Stephanie Burke
Highwire PR
(646) 838-1190 ext. 48

Company Contact:
Gretchen Jezerc
VP, Marketing & Product Management
First Insight, Inc.


shoppers  Survey Results  markdowns  Report