92% of Britons willing to give new brands a chance due to inflation; consumers refuse to give up on favourite booze or tobacco products
● 79% believe that brands are involved in “greedflation” – using inflation as an excuse to hike prices
● Consumers most likely to boycott a brand’s product/service “immediately” if involved in a high-profile controversy
[25 April 2023, UK]: New research released today reveals what makes Britons break up with brands, views on how brands are acting in response to inflation and the ways high-profile controversies affect consumer behaviour.
Attest, a leading consumer research platform, finds that inflation is making a majority of Brits reconsider long-held brand loyalty, with nine in 10 (92%) saying they are now willing to try different products and services due to price pressures.
● Cigarettes & alcohol have the highest brand loyalty: When asked what type of product they are most likely to switch brands to save money, alcohol and tobacco (at 11%) ranked lowest out of all categories, highlighting the brand loyalty such products have with the British public. Conversely, grocery brands top the poll with 73% of consumers willing to switch, followed by clothing/shoes (38%) and energy (34%).
● A majority think brands are price gouging due to inflation: The vast majority of shoppers (at 79%) feel that brands are involved in“greedflation”. Of this majority, 71% believe “more needs to be done” to protect consumers and stop brands from benefiting from this practice.
● Consumers feel food & energy companies lifted prices the most: When quizzed on what types of products have experienced the most rapid rises in their opinion, groceries (at 65%) and energy (62%) are the most cited, with travel (28%) far behind.
Consumers are divided over the number one reason they would stop buying a brand’s product/service. Price increases and having a “negative experience” with a brand are in joint top spot (both at 30%), followed by bad customer service (18%).
When brands do bad, consumers want transparency
The research identifies another factor alongside inflation that is diminishing brand loyalty: public controversy.
In this environment, brands are under even more pressure to avoid PR, advertising and product disasters. But, if a blunder does arise, the research also delves into consumers’ views on companies caught up in high-profile controversies and how they can set the record straight:
● People are split on how to respond: The most likely response from Britons is to boycott/stop buying a brand’s products and services“immediately”, with a third (33%) favouring this approach.
○ By contrast, however, 30% are much more forgiving and are willing to give a brand time to issue a statement before making up their mind.
○ While social media plays a key role for 19% of people, who will either unfollow a brand or publish public posts disapproving of a company involved in a controversy.
● Brits most concerned by brand racism and treatment of animals: An accusation of racism when a brand is involved in a controversy is the top issue that concerns the public (at 42%).
○ This is followed by accusations of poor treatment of animals (38%), bad treatment of employees (35%), discrimination (based on people with disabilities, religion, and sexual orientation, at 33%), sexism (24%) and “greenwashing” (22%).
○ A combined 20% of Britons are concerned with brands involved in political controversies:
■ 11% express concern if a brand was accused of right-wing, socially conservative politics.
■ While 9% would feel the same way regarding accusations of left-wing, socially liberal politics.
● Consumers value transparency the most during a controversy: A majority of Britons 54%) want a brand involved in a high-profile controversy to provide full transparency and steps on how they will fix it.
○ 51% will be happy with the issuance of a public apology alone.
○ Other remedies favoured by people include removing the person responsible (33%), offering a discount/refund (27%) and providing services to lodge complaints (20%).
To coincide with the release of this research, Attest is launching a campaign urging brands to finally remove guesswork and gut decisions from their marketing playbook for good.
To bring Attest’s “Make Guesswork Illegal” campaign fully to life – with a dose of well-aimed humor – Attest CEO and founder Jeremy King donned a lab coat to walk us through the Guesswork Crime Lab, where the most salacious brand crimes are investigated for their lack of consumer forethought.
The campaign is rooted in reality as Jeremy started his career as a scientist focused on behaviour, genetics and ecology, long before he founded Attest in 2015.