Is this the end of customer loyalty?

Is this the end of customer loyalty?

Over half (56%) of Brits have switched from a favourite brand they were loyal to due to increased inflation and the cost of living crisis, while one in five shoppers (19%) agree that they can ‘no longer afford to be loyal’. That’s according to the second annual Emarsys Customer Loyalty Index.

The research, which includes data from more than 2,000 UK shoppers, examines how different attributes – age, gender, geography, geopolitics and ethics – affect loyalty in an economic environment suffering from high inflation, fiscal uncertainty and unprecedented political instability. Of those surveyed, 64% have changed their attitude towards loyalty over the last 12 months.

Price trumps loyalty

When it comes to dropping their favourite brands, the number one reason cited by shoppers was price increases, with 56% stating this as their reason for abandoning their loyalty to a shop or brand.

A difficult shopping experience followed close behind with 55%, just ahead of selling poor quality products (47%).

Brits stay loyal to UK and Ukraine

Despite the financial pressures facing many consumers on the home front, UK shoppers are remaining loyal to certain supermarkets, brands and suppliers.

Fifty-seven percent of UK respondents said they are staying loyal to UK-made products rather than those produced abroad. Thirty-one percent of Brits are also prioritising products from Ukraine. On the flip side, the Loyalty Index indicates that UK shoppers will actively avoid products produced in China or Russia; 42% of consumers are less likely to buy items made in China, while more than half(57%) of us are less likely to buy Russian-made products.

Some groups are more price-sensitive than others

Across the board, 56% of Brits say inflation has impacted their loyalty to a brand, with many moving away from branded items in order to save money. But when this data is parsed along income, gender and political lines, a different picture emerges. 

From an economic standpoint, loyalty is obviously easier to demonstrate for those that feel less financial pressure. Seventy-one percent of those in households with an income of £120,000 or more say they consider themselves ‘loyal’ to a certain type of retailer, brand or store – compared to less than half (44%) of respondents in households with an income of less than £8,000.

Along gender lines, there are some interesting splits between the loyalty of men and women when purchasing: alcoholic drinks with 20% of men remaining loyal and 15% of women, beauty and skincare with 17% of men remaining loyal and 40% of women.

Despite variation in the figures, there isn’t much conscious intent to remain loyal to many of these industries. Thiry-three percent of consumers would look to remain loyal to their food brands if a recession struck, but every other industry was less than 10%; 28% specifically stated that they wouldn’t look to remain loyal to any industry.

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