Brands not as important to today’s consumers

Customers just aren’t as loyal to brands as they used to be, according to new research from consultancy Salmon.

According to the new Buying Tomorrow report from Salmon, brand loyalty is not as important to today’s consumers when they are shopping as speed, innovation and convenience.

The study, which surveyed more than 6,000 consumers across the UK, USA and Benelux, showed that almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) consumers believed that speed of delivery was more important to them than the brand name being ordered (78 per cent).

New technologies were also changing consumer shopping habits, with 45 per cent currently using or likely to use digital assistants such as Amazon Echo’s Alexa or Google Home in the next 12 months.

Shoppers said they were more likely to use these devices than smart lighting (42 per cent), smart fridges and other white goods (42 per cent), virtual reality (40 per cent) and Apple Home (37 per cent).

Almost a quarter of those polled (23 per cent) were identified as being ‘digitally obsessed’, as they made almost all of their purchases online.

More than half (57 per cent) said they could see the benefit of ‘programmatic commerce’, which allows technology to automatically purchase goods for them based on their set of product preferences. This is up from 53 per cent a year earlier.

Just under two-thirds (60 per cent) of shoppers said that if a retailer were more digitally innovative, they would be more likely to shop there, with a further 73 per cent saying they planned to spend more in the future.

Sixty per cent of consumers also thought that all online retailers should offer same-day delivery, compared with research from 2016, which showed an average expected delivery time of 2.6 days.

On average, there were currently four devices per household and more than half (51 per cent) of all those surveyed also said they couldn’t comfortably live one day without connected devices.

However, Salmon argued that retailers were failing to provide digital and innovative experiences for consumers, as 57 per cent believed the technology, apps and services they used in their own lives were more sophisticated than those provided by a digital retailer.

Almost seven-in-10 (69 per cent) said they wanted to see greater innovation to improve the customer experience, which Salmon believed showed a desire to shop with only the most forward-thinking stores.

This is reflected in the performance of online retail giant Amazon, which has seen its share of total online spending reach 37 per cent. Looking at the UK only, this figure rises to 39 per cent.

Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Salmon, said: “Loyalty is a complex thing. Across all sectors, we’re seeing fewer people favouring and remaining strongly aligned to certain brands and companies. This is especially prevalent in digital commerce – where the consumer focus on finding the lowest prices and fastest delivery doesn’t lend itself to being loyal to a certain product.

“However, as the study shows, loyalty is still there to be captured. Consumers are increasingly loyal to services over retailers – this is largely because the likes of Amazon are seen to be innovating and delivering the best overall experience to the consumer.

“It is this ‘experience’ that drives loyalty and will be the difference between being a leader in digital commerce and being left behind,” continued Mr Fletcher. “What this means, however, is that retailers need to offer consumers a host of convenient services and harness innovative technologies in the process if they are going to attract and retain customers’ attention. As consumers are becoming more open to trying new technologies – or expect to in the coming months – retailers need to put in the groundwork from now if they are to meet high expectations.”