Consumers are always looking for ways to grab good deals and maximize savings on household shopping bills. The hunt for the next sale or offer is usually one of the ways shoppers get to save an extra coin and make cuts in their budget.

One of the best ways of finding products at the lowest possible price is by comparison shopping. This is when one browses several stores and then makes a purchase from the store that offers the most competitive rate.

Peris Nyaguthii has been doing her household shopping at the same wholesale store located in Nairobi West for years now. She shops once in about every four months and for this reason buys goods in bulk. It’s a routine she has become accustomed to; she buys toiletries and dry foods like rice and sugar at the wholesale store but pops into the supermarket if there is an offer on products she needs.

“Lately I’ve been shopping at both the wholesale store and supermarket because of supermarkets like Carrefour which have crazy offers. I window shop to see the offers of the month then compare with the wholesale store to see which one has the better offer. But there are things that I will still stick to buying at the wholesale store,” she says.

On days she goes to the supermarket to replenish foodstuff like milk, sausages or eggs, Peris says she will not pass up a good deal on a product that she had not intended to buy, if there’s one.

“Every time I walk into the supermarket I find that the dishwashing liquid is sold at two for the price of one, so I have stopped buying it at the wholesale store because I’m obviously saving money on that product,” she says.

“The other thing with supermarkets is that I get to experiment with new products. Most of the time, unfortunately I won’t find them at the wholesale store so I go off budget and buy at the supermarket,”

For consumers, the rule of thumb is that you ultimately pay less for goods that you buy in bulk.

This has proved to be true for Peris and she has seen huge savings in her household budget. She says she saves a significant amount of money, up to KSh3000 per month, by buying products every four months in bulk instead of every month.

Her expenditure, for each visit to the wholesale store is between KSH15, 000 and KSh20, 000.

Kalondu Mwania’s experience is almost similar to Peris’s. She shops four times a year and prefers to buy products at a wholesale store in Eastleigh.

By shopping at the wholesale store, she has found efficiency, since she doesn’t have to do the same thing every month and, peace of mind that her the household is adequately stocked for the next four months.

Supermarket runs for her, are for things she cannot find in wholesale shops like sausages.

“It’s been three years since I started shopping at wholesale stores. This stemmed from a conversation I had with a relative who has a shop in the estate. She told me that whatever we buy in supermarkets is the same thing that she gets at wholesale stores. She asked me to try, and see the difference in terms of budget, and it was massive,” she says.

Now that she buys in bulk, Kalondu estimates she is saving 45 per cent of what she used to spend at supermarkets which she used to visit every month.

The most important aspect of buying at a wholesale, for her, is the value for money, not the brand name. For example a kilogramme of sugar at the wholesale store is KSh90 whereas the same goes for KSh102 at Carrefour or KSh109 at Naivas Supermarket.

Wholesale shops, just like supermarkets, also have varying price points on goods.

While there are some savings to be made at a wholesale store, there is something to be said about the difference in the shopping experience when compared to a supermarket.

At the wholesale store, you don’t have to push a heavy trolley for about half an hour to two hours. But it also lacks the thrill of seeing new products neatly arranged calling for you to try them out.

“That experience is lovely,” Kalondu says about shopping at a supermarket. “Going and seeing different things and being tempted to buy new things. It’s interesting, but the experience of the wholesale is you know what you’re going to get there. There is no room for impulse buying.  It helps you save because you won’t spend money on, I don’t know, the new Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate. You rattle off your list and in 10 minutes you’re done,” she says.

Unlike supermarkets, wholesales rarely have end month offers and customer loyalty reward points that can be redeemed later. Additionally, some items have a minimum order quality for goods like maize flour.

Here is a comparison of basic household goods between a wholesale store and a supermarket.

Cooking oil14501532
Toilet paper230300
Washing powder 3.5kgs850899
Ranee Rice 5kg11501152
Geisha 12pcs9201572
Carton of milk 12pcs530527
Indomie jumbo500480