Despite a long and relatively steadily improving economy, consumers remain so focused on value that pricing remains retailers' most pressing business worry.
An April 2018 study of US retailers by Retail Systems Research (RSR) found that pricing concerns far outstripped other issues. Keeping up with the competition’s prices was the No. 1 challenge, cited by 58% of respondents.
When asked about their top three business challenges, 65% of retailers cited "aggressive competitors of like items make price our primary demand driver." And 60% cited "increased consumer price sensitivity." Those two challenges were the only ones cited by more than half of the respondents.
But pricing pressures were more acute in some sectors than others. In particular, the study noted that fashion and apparel retailers were much less likely to be focused on pricing parity (at 39%) and tended to be more concerned about minimizing markdown spend (48%).