The middle class, on the verge of an inflationary attack: it multiplied by 10 the use of apps to compare prices
They started as a resource to save only on premium items. But the truth is that, with the passage of time, the app that compares prices have been populating the cell phones of large numbers of Argentines seeking all kinds of savings, beyond the product or service in question.
The middle class analyzes more and more the advantages offered by each trade and makes a detailed analysis of the promotions and rebates of banks and cards.
"The Argentine consumer has now become a multishop, that is, it combines proximity, supermarkets and wholesalers," says Luis Alfredo Rodríguez, of Kantar Worldpanel, to iProUP. This firm, specialized in consumption, conducted an investigation which shows that a good part of society distributes its monthly budget between:
- Supermarkets and hypermarkets: 42%
- Express "self-service" or Chinese establishments: 29%
- Warehouses: 14%
- Wholesalers: 9%
- Others: 6%
Beyond the chosen channel, the truth is that today few leave aside the day in which they can achieve the greatest discounts, what promo offers their bank or card and in which establishment can make more your money.
This need to make a "smart purchase" is what explains a strong fact: the consultations in the app that compare prices multiplied by no less than 10.
Three years ago, the Government launched the Precios Claros website, which displays the amounts of 9,000 products and 109 categories reported by supermarkets.
By entering the name of an item, the system allows you to visualize the nearest stores in which it is marketed and its corresponding amount. In addition, it allows the assembly of a "list of errands" and exposes the special promotions of each establishment. This data is offered to developers to create their own app.
One of the most consulted (with more than one million monthly visits) is Buying Clear Prices, which experienced a rise in traffic close to 1,000% in recent months.
The application allows you to search the different amounts by typing the name of the item or scanning your bar code with the cell phone camera, to find out if it is cheap or expensive before adding it to the changuito. It also identifies the trade in the area where the lowest price is achieved.
"The list of most wanted products was changing based on inflation, before people focused on the most expensive, but now we have observed a shift towards items in the basic basket, such as milk, noodles and cream cheese," he says. iProUP Matías Boyano, creator of the application with Oscar Goenaga.
It adds that people achieve savings of up to 40%. As a differential, the app not only relies on Clear Prices information, but users can scan products and publish the values to notify others where to get them. A kind of "Waze" of recommendations.
"Chinese supermarkets are also there, although the app feeds on Clear Prices, the reality is that we encourage people to share offers, something that is highly valued in the interior", completes Boyano.
"In the app also appears a 'chanchito', indicating that it applies a promotion for that product," he remarks, adding that the platform shows the conditions to access the discounts, such as bank cards or loyalty programs.
IPhone users also have apps to buy prices. One of them is Where I Buy, created by Kevin Furman, who works as an application developer at Despegar.
In addition to individual items, it allows to compare the cost of a changuito loaded with merchandise in different locations. According to Furman, the application "relieves the 25 supermarkets closest to your home, which are less than 4 km, depending on the concentration of shops in the area."
"Something innovative, and that is not in the Government's app, is the possibility of putting together a tour, the platform is guiding you to buy such items in a supermarket and such others in the nearest convenience store," he tells iProUP.
It also allows the scanning of bar codes to see if it is cheaper elsewhere or if you respect the published price. If the latter is not fulfilled, the user can claim in the establishment and even has a button to report it in Consumer Protection.
In the future, it aims for the user to indicate their favorite categories on the main screen of the app, in which the featured products are shown.
"I set out some that seemed interesting to me, where there was a lot of dispersion of values, like wines, where differences of up to 40% are found," he adds. It also anticipates that it will add the prices of the wholesale supermarkets.
Knowing where to get the lowest price is not enough: you also have to make sure that it is respected and that the products are in stock. Especially, those included in the Care Prices and Essential Products programs.
While Consumer Defense offers a form on its website for complaints (missing, commercial disloyalty and misleading advertising, among other issues), the Government prepares the complete digitization of the process to better control the shops and as a complement to State inspections .
The agency will launch in July a mobile app that will raise all types of claims. You can add the scanned ticket or invoices, photos of missing or inadequate price signaling. In addition, it will include other functions, such as searching the map of products by neighborhood and commerce.
For its part, the Consumers Defense Association (Adecua) is working on a project for the Government to distribute QR codes in points of sale, which should be placed in visible places. By scanning them with the cell phone camera, people can make complaints easily, without having to write business data.
"The authorization of the Secretary of Commerce is missing", the head of ADECUA, Sandra González, advances iProUP. "We want any consumer to let us know immediately any stock problem, if you notice price differences in gondolas, if the amounts are not shown as appropriate, etc.", he adds.
According to González, the idea is that "they can make the claims without any delays, because if they do not get diluted".
"Once we receive them, we will pass them on to the enforcement authority, aiming to facilitate the complaints and to make them quickly and easily," González completes.
While they took more prominence with the Hot Sale that takes place this week, applications to compare amounts of appliances, technology and household items also showed strong growth so far this year.
One of them is History, which offers a comparison and a price history so that the user can check if the value of a product is reasonable or may be lower.
"Searches multiplied between 9 and 10 times," Ignacio de la Fuente, co-founder of the website, tells iProUP, who also assures that white goods are the most sought after.
Inflation is a great challenge when it comes to updating the information of the platform, so they are adapting the dates from which they perform the price comparison.
"We see that what the stores do is freeze the amount of the product through promotions, they give 30% a day and 5% the other to be able to change the values without people complaining so much," reveals De La Fuente.
Another option is MuyShopper, which compares online stores. Relieves the businesses that sell a product and highlights the one that offers it the cheapest. The app records the data of a hundred businesses, which enter between two and three times a day to verify the amounts.
For their part, the owners of the TurismoCity tourist metasearch engine created ComparaCity, which focuses on household items. You just have to enter an article to find the best options for each establishment. You can also check if the product increased at the time of purchase.
"Users not only want to save: they look for prices because they do not want to pay more," remarks iProUP Julián Gurfinkel, one of its founders.
With pocket decimated, the middle class glimpses in the app that compare prices a way not to lose so much before an inflation that continues without giving truce.