The low-cost world is nothing new to L’Observatoire Cetelem. Back in 2009, we were one of the first publications to report on the Dacia craze and its various effects. Then, in 2010, we assessed its impact against the backdrop of the subprime crisis.
Today, crises abound once again. The geopolitical crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine has been rumbling on alongside an economic crisis marked by the sudden, damaging return of inflation levels that we had mistakenly believed belonged to the past. In last year’s Cetelem Barometer, consumers were already anticipating the emergence and consequences of this inflation, particularly in terms of purchasing power.
As a concept that has always been synonymous with the lowest prices, the low-cost approach seemed to be the natural choice when the theme of this latest Observatoire Cetelem was being chosen. Without revealing the full breadth of the study’s findings, two key elements stand out. The first is perfectly reflected in the title of this survey. Gone are the days when low-cost options might have been considered a shameful facet of consumerism, when one might have stepped through the doors of a shop almost with a feeling of embarrassment, hoping not to be seen. The low-cost segment is aimed at all consumers. It caters to everyone, whether they are in this market out of choice or necessity. People on high and modest incomes alike go for low-cost options for different reasons, chiefly depending on whether they live in Eastern or Western Europe.
Second, while the low-cost market enjoys a relatively positive image that has more to do with reason than passion, it is probably safe to say that it has significant room for growth, particularly in sectors where it has yet to truly make its mark. But this growth should come with a condition. The low-cost philosophy must not forget its roots, its raison d’être. In other words, it must stay faithful to its cut-price DNA.
Head of L’Observatoire Cetelem