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On loyalty

March 20, 2012

(Peter Snow and his Swingometer,  courtesy of the BBC

Things are starting (quietly) to look up in the UK at the moment.

After a “near record low” back in December the consumer confidence index is on the rise.

House sales are starting to pick up, and house prices are rising too (hallelujah!)

We’re not out yet – unemployment is eye-wateringly high still and well-known retailers are floundering left, right, and centre - but it feels a little more optimistic now than it has for a while.

Something that’s really interesting me at the moment is how much the way that we’ve seen people behave in the recession will stay true when times start to get a little better.

Particularly when it comes to brand loyalty.

A new report says that nearly 20% of UK shoppers aren’t brand loyal to a supermarket anymore.  I was surprised that of all the supermarkets that I thought might be okay Waitrose is actually the worst for swing voters:

“Of the top six grocers in the country, Waitrose is the most likely to see its customers shop around with 22.6 per cent of its customer base likely to shop with its rivals”

The thing I find interesting is how many people are still prepared to switch, despite the financial difficulty (petrol prices etc.) involved in moving away to a different supermarket / shopping in multiple retailers for the best deals.

How important is physical distance anymore? (Unless this is just further proof that there really are too many supermarkets in the UK…)

Interesting times for the supermarket war certainly, and bearing in mind their recent results probably evidence that the brand switch for Sainsbury’s has worked by emphasising price.

The thing that I’m left wondering is how much the landscape for brand loyalty has changed, and which brands it is changing for.  It might level the playing field a little in some sectors.

(Although maybe not for the soft drinks industry if this report is anything to go by.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 20, 2012 10:50 am

    I did some groups with supermarket switchers in about 2008 and the interesting thing was that the switchers were chopping and changing supermarkets that were *on their normal routes*, rather than nearest home.

    So they’d switch from the Asda near home to the Tesco on the way home from work or do a top up shop at the Morissons on the way back from Grandma’s house…

    I’d find regular switching too confusing – and time wasting. Nothing is ever laid out the same way in another store and I’ve better things to do with my day than waste 15 minutes trawling the aisles to find where they’ve hidden the honey.

    I supose that’s reflected in the importance The Grocer places on staff assistance to find things in their weekly supermarket mystery shops…

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