More than half of US shoppers believe they are loyal to a product if they have purchased it at least three times. However, unswerving brand loyalty may almost be a thing of the past, as only 8% of global consumers and 9% of US consumers say they are loyal to brands or products they’ve always bought, per a report from Nielsen.
If anything, brand loyalty has become increasingly fragile. A bad experience with a brand often sends consumers on the hunt for something new, and many consumers appear happy to explore new brands. Half (49% share) of global consumers say they sometimes try new brands and products. Others are even more enthusiastic about it, with 42% share reporting that they love to try new brands. In the US, while slightly more (55% share) say they sometimes try new brands and products, not as many (36% share) actually love to experiment.
What drives consumers to switch brands? The answer isn’t terribly surprising. A full 38% of global consumers identified value for money as one reason for choosing a new product or brand, while just about one-third (32%) say price or promotion drives their choice. Price-conscious behavior is also a key reason behind the growth in private label purchase intent.
While consumers are often driven by financial considerations such as price and value in their shopping, they also choose products because of features like superior quality or function (20%) and ease and convenience (20%).
Other research has found that brand trust is a significant driver in purchasing decisions. A report from Edelman revealed that, for a large majority of global and US consumers, a deciding factor in a purchase decision is trusting a brand to do the right thing. The same report found that brand trust can also lead to loyalty and advocacy for a brand.
Being Loyal Does Not Mean Being Exclusive
Wavemaker and Buzzfeed, in a survey of 3,000 US consumers, discovered similar brand loyalty behavior to Nielsen. US consumers know they are spoiled for choice, with 9 in 10 respondents saying they believe they have more choice. Meanwhile, 86% of them also said they are open to switching brands.
Because of this choice, it’s no wonder that nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents say they consider 2 to 4 brands when making a purchase. Brands should take note that being one of those few selected brands under consideration is vital, as research from McKinsey that brands in the initial consideration set are more likely to be considered later in the buying journey.
There also exists a sizable set (22%) of consumers who claim to eschew any brand loyalty in their decision-making and start from scratch every time they are ready to make a purchase.
Loyalty Influenced by Recommendations and Reviews
Nielsen points out that only 15% of global consumers are influenced to stay loyal to a brand due to advertising or marketing messages. Instead, 26% of global consumers report that brands gain presence with them through recommendations.
Recent data from Kantar Media found that consumers’ most used and trusted source of information about brands across the globe is friends and family. The same data shows that consumers also trust review sites for brand information. And while reviews can influence consumers to try and become loyal to a brand, they also can have the opposite effect, with 26% of consumers in the Nielsen study saying that reviews have the ability to prompt disloyal actions.