A survey conducted by Marketing Week in partnership with global market insights tools provider Cint to gather insights on loyalty in supermarket shopping has revealed that despite the evolution in loyalty marketing, consumers are still largely driven by practical factors such as price and quality. According to the response of 1,000 Census representative consumers, almost half feel indifferent when it comes to loyalty towards their chosen supermarket, which demonstrates that the link between loyalty benefits and cost savings is still not clear in the mind of the consumer.


Unsurprisingly, the survey revealed that Tesco still leads in market share of shoppers at more than 30 per cent (with the closest competitor being Asda), but almost a third of respondents shop in a different supermarket to the one they shopped at five years ago. Of those, a quarter moved to what they perceived as a cheaper supermarket and the same proportion changed for convenience reasons, either visiting a new supermarket nearer to home, or en route to a regular location such as work.


Considering the factors that could drive change in the future, the quality of products is a big factor, with 45 per cent of consumers citing they would switch supermarkets if there was a decrease in quality of products, and 54 per cent saying they would change supermarket in the event of price hikes. Interestingly, despite the rising cost of food putting pressure on household spend, 41 per cent of respondents would be prepared to pay more for products if they thought the quality was higher, with an equal number saying they’d like to if they could afford to.


Other survey highlights include:


o   62.7% base their supermarket choice on price

o   54% choose location as the main factor (close to school run/work)

o   46% base their choice on quality

o   Only 3% give consideration to the sustainability or ethics in sourcing of products

o   Almost 16% of shoppers choose their supermarket because they like its loyalty programme

o   Geographically, the highest percentage of people who have changed supermarket for price reasons were in Scotland (at 38%) and the lowest in London (at 15%)

o   47.5% feel indifferent about their loyalty to the supermarket they currently shop at

o   Only 12% feel very loyal to their supermarket, with 36% feeling ‘somewhat’ loyal

o   More than half feel they will probably continue to shop at their chosen supermarket in 2014


Cint CEO Bo Mattsson commented: “Loyalty has become the buzzword in retail and the FMCG sector, with significant resource given to this area through loyalty marketing. The results of our survey show, however, that loyalty is still a proportionately low consideration in supermarket choice, with only 12 per cent of people feeling very loyal to their chosen outlet. Marketers therefore need to demonstrate the benefits of loyalty programmes in relation to cost savings, since consumers are so driven on price but don’t seem to be seeing the link to loyalty programmes and cost savings.


“The survey also showed that we must not take for granted what we think market conditions dictate when it comes to consumer choices; for instance, it was surprising that the proportion of people who value ethically or sustainably sourced products is really quite low – in a time where events such as the horse meat scandal have thrown light on the food chain and also a time where it might be deemed safe to assume that consumers are interested in these important issues. Perhaps they are, but not enough to make it priority consideration, it seems.  In addition, it’s interesting to see quite a high proportion of people changing supermarket in the last five years, when historically it might have been the case that supermarket choice was almost one for life!  These results show that in order to maximise marketing spend, brands and retailers must make a commitment to the continual gathering of insights to ensure their resources are targeted to best effect for the maximum ROI, and not base decisions on assumptions.”


Cint believes that in addition to online consumer surveys, marketers should embrace the latest technologies to ensure that the feedback they receive from consumers is even more accurate. Cint’s partnerships with organisations, including facial expression monitoring specialist Real Eyes, and Sticky,a technology platform to help ensure display ads get seen, facilitate this for even more targeted campaigns.


For further press information, please contact Gina Tunley or Emilie Legrand at cint@punchcomms.com / +44 (0) 1858 411 600.

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