IELTS Shopping Vocabulary
It’s possible the examiner may ask you questions about your shopping habits in the IELTS Speaking exam. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you often go shopping for personal items?
Maxine: When I can afford it yes … my college is in the city centre and I do a lot of window shopping … but being a student I’m on a tight budget so I have to be careful with money …
Examiner: Are there many shops where you live?
Jenny: We’ve got a few local shops nearby and a few independent stores but none of the big high street names … I have to go into town for them …
Examiner: Do you enjoy shopping?
Marco: It depends … I hate it when the sales are on … crowds of people all trying to snap up a bargain … I find it all a bit stressful … I also get annoyed when shop assistants try to give me the hard sell when all I want to do is look around …
Part 2-style task
Describe a time when you bought something for someone. You should say
- when this was
- what is was you bought
- who you bought it for
and say how you felt about buying it for them.
Coleen: I’d like to tell you about the time … about four years ago … my husband and I bought a computer for our daughter … she was about to go to university and we’d promised her we would treat her to one … at the time there had been a big advertising campaign for the latest Apple Macbook and our daughter was very keen to have one … she kept telling us they were value for money … even though they seemed very expensive to us … anyway we tried to shop around to see if we could pick up a bargain … this was in the middle of the summer sales and wherever you went prices were being slashed on big brand names … but unfortunately not Apple products … we ended up having to pay the full price … I remember my daughter justifying the cost by pointing out how nice the Apple carrier bag was … but it was lovely to see her so excited and the customer service she’s received during the four years she’s had it has been excellent … so it was value for money after all …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: Do you think we will stop using paper money in the future?
Louisa: I think it’s almost certain … at the moment it’s still possible to pay in cash but I’m sure this will change … the problem is people are more likely to get into debt and run up a credit card bill when this happens.
Examiner: How do companies encourage the consumer to spend their money?
Peter: Well … a recent development in my country is something called ‘Black Friday’ where people are encouraged to shop until they drop and buy the latest must-have products … then there are things like loyalty cards to get the customer back in the store …
Examiner: What do you think shops need to do to create a positive shopping experience?
Tania: The main thing for me is not being pressurised to buy … I appreciate that shop assistants are probably on commission but if I’m looking for clothes for example I like to take my time … to try something on … and to ask for help if I need it …
- advertising campaign: a series of advertisements to persuade people to buy something
- big brand names: large well-known companies or product names
- to be careful with money: to not over-spend
- carrier bag: bags (usually plastic) supplied by shops
- customer service: the degree to which customers are treated well
- to get into debt: to owe money
- to give someone the hard sell: to put pressure on someone to buy something
- high street names: well-known shops
- independent stores: small shops independent of large companies
- local shops: community shops
- loyalty card: a card issued by a shop to allow customers to save money on the basis of what they spend
- must-have product: a product that is very popular that a lot of people want to have
- to be on a tight budget: to have a limited amount of money to spend
- to be on commission: to pay someone in relation to the amount they sell
- a pay in cash: to pay for something using coins or paper money
- to pay the full price: to pay the full amount for something
- to pick up a bargain: to buy something much cheaper than the normal price
- to run up a credit card bill: to owe money on a credit card
- to shop around: to try different shops to find the best deal
- shop assistant: the person who serves customers
- to shop until you drop: to do a lot of shopping
- to slash prices: to reduce prices a great deal
- to snap up a bargain: to buy something quickly that is being sold cheaply
- summer sales: a period in the year when things are sold cheaply
- to try something on: to see if an item of clothing fits or is suitable
- to be value for money: to be worth the cost
- window shopping: to visit a store to look at items without the intention of buying anything
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