Boots launches budget range as UK shoppers cut back in cost of living crisis

Boots has launched a new budget brand that includes toiletries such as shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste for under £1 as the deepening cost of living crisis leaves UK shoppers cutting back even on essential items.

The high street health and beauty chain said it had created the new “everyday” brand to make it easier for customers to find the lowest-priced toiletries on its shelves as living costs continue to rise.

Jenna Whittingham-Ward, the head of beauty for Boots brands and exclusives, said the budget brand would allow customers to make “make small everyday switches to help save money” while leaving them “clean and feeling good”.

“At a time when many people are facing choices between heating and eating and we’re all bracing ourselves for a winter of feeling the pinch more than ever, we’re offering a no-compromise range to help customers,” she said.

With UK inflation running above 10% for the first time in 40 years, driven by soaring prices of food and fuel, Boots said shoppers were looking for deals and promotions.

Everything in the 60-product range will cost £1.50 or less, including large bottles of shampoo and conditioner for 75p and period products starting at 70p. The range also includes toothbrushes, cleansing wipes and hand wash.

Retailers are being forced to adapt to straitened times as retail sales data highlights shoppers cutting back and switching to cheaper own-label products.

Boots has already frozen the price of more than 1,500 products until at least the end of the year to make sure they remain affordable for customers.

In May, Asda launched the “just essentials” food brand aimed at shoppers facing pressure on their household finances, with the supermarket recently reporting that one in three shoppers were regularly buying the label.

Boots said the budget mango and papaya shampoo and 85p “zingy” raspberry and pomegranate shower gel would not disappoint, with Whittingham-Ward saying it had stuck to its slogan, “if it has got Boots on it, it has got our best in it”.

Makeup sales often thrive in difficult economic times as small luxuries become a way for cash-strapped consumers to treat themselves. This idea is known as the “lipstick effect” and Boots said it was seeing evidence of the trend, with overall beauty sales up 14% on last year and demand for fragrances rising by nearly a fifth.

“Sales of beauty products at Boots continue to rise, suggesting customers still want to treat themselves to new makeup, perfume or skincare, despite cost of living pressures,” said Seb James, the chief executive of Boots UK.

“During the last recession, we experienced two things: firstly, the ‘lipstick effect’, which is the determination to continue purchasing small treats, and secondly, increased spending on own label and promotions,” he added. “These trends have returned, with 500,000 new signups to our Advantage card [Boots’ loyalty scheme] within six months – the biggest number of new joiners for some time.”