The Welsh haggle most, the Scots haggle least – but many Britons are seeking a better deal

4th September 2014


The majority of people will negotiate when making major purchases with 62% negotiating over price when buying a home and a similar number, 61%, haggling when purchasing a car according to research from Clydesdale Bank.

Almost half of those surveyed (44%) now expect to negotiate in their day-to-day life to ensure they are getting value for money, while a further 27% admitted that they do haggle although they find that it can be difficult and uncomfortable.

However there remains almost a quarter (24%) of the population who would simply never negotiate but they can take comfort in the fact that confidence increases with age with 63% of those aged 55 and over comfortable with haggling, compared to only 32% of those between 16 and 24.

The Welsh are the most focused on negotiating a good deal with half expecting to haggle on a regular basis in comparison to just 38% of Scots.

Region Percentage who expect to negotiate
Wales 50%
North East 48%
North West 48%
South West 48%
UK average 44%
Midlands 44%
South East 42%
Yorkshire 42%
London 40%
East 39%
Scotland 38%

The research also revealed that women are less confident when it comes to haggling with 27% never bargaining over price compared to only 18% of men.  Men also prefer to negotiate face–to-face whilst women are more likely to try to drive a bargain if they have family or a friend with them.

Steve Fletcher, Head of Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank Retail Network, says: “This research has highlighted that the majority of people will haggle when making major purchases such as buying a home or a new car. With the property market picking up this is good news for anyone trying to secure their dream house. However it also shows us that for some it can be an uncomfortable experience.

“At Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank we are focused on helping people to manage their finances and we understand that everyone has differing requirements so we have a range of products to meet individual needs without the need to negotiate.”

Leading psychologist, Dr Jane McCartney, explained: “People find it difficult to negotiate for a number of reasons. We may worry that the other person will think badly of us, maybe think we are financially hard up or come from the type of background where haggling is a way of life.

“Also maybe you’ve tried to negotiate over a purchase in the past and were just no good at it, then ended up red faced, because you couldn’t get any money off and still ended up buying the item anyway.  Finally some people just find it too embarrassing to discuss money and the easiest thing to do is just pay the price whatever it is to avoid the embarrassment.

“Some of the tricks used by sales people can seem quite obvious and are tried and tested.  Things like ‘this offer is on for today only’ or ‘let me speak to my boss and see what special discount I can negotiate just for you.’  Flattery is another well used tactic, making the buying customer feel unique or extra special in some way.  Also salespeople will want to enter into an exclusive, albeit temporary relationship with you, give you their undivided attention, an often used trick is to have a colleague try to interrupt them when they are in the middle of negotiations with you only to be dismissed, because you, not your purchasing money, are the centre of their attention.”

Dr Jane McCartney’s Top Tips:

To make things easier for yourself when you do have a situation where you know you need to negotiate over a price, have a few rules in place first.

Always set the amount you are prepared to pay, and stick to it.  Stand your ground both with the other party and yourself.

If you know that there is a possibility of caving in, make sure you have an exit strategy right from the start, before you sit down announce that you have another appointment at a specific time.  And then, if things are going OK you can always pop off to make a quick fictitious phone call to delay the upcoming appointment.

When it comes to the money for the purchase make sure you never give them your maximum amount, ideally you want them to discuss money first so you know what the ball park figure is from them.  Of course that’s what they’ll be wanting you to do first to find your maximum spend, so resist.

Finally stay in control, if you feel that the salesperson is getting the upper hand, walk away, you can always come back and start again, don’t be bullied, no matter how subtle it may seem.

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