This has to be a brand advertiser’s worst nightmare…
“Be afraid … be very afraid.” AMP Agency, a Boston-based branding firm, has just completed a study of consumers, “Inside the Buy,” that suggests that actually very few consumers between the ages of 25 and 49 are moved to purchase by habit, or sentimental considerations for a brand.
The study, based on a Fall 2010 poll of 865 Gen X and Y consumers, looks at what happens in the “consideration phase” of the purchase path, where the Web and what AMP found to be a “new/modern path” to purchase hold sway. The quantitative and qualitative study also addressed a changing view of brand loyalty. The firm found that just 3% of consumers say they are loyal to a particular brand and never buy anything else.
The study, which looks at five product categories — baby products, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty, and fashion — finds that the very idea of loyalty has changed for 97% of consumers. “New consumer behavior is redefining what we view as ‘contemporary loyalty’,” said Allison Marsh, VP, Consumer Insights at AMP Agency. “With more information, consumers have seized control and are more open to the wide choices in the marketplace.”
Just like we’re finding in the Middle East where increasing Internet and social media usage is influencing social change for the better by allowing up to the minute information flow, here in Consumption Land, the ability to use search engines to search for positive and negative reviews of individual products, as well as user based communication sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc., are allowing consumers to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Moreover, user based gathering sites allow crowdsourcing at astounding speed. In theory, and what it looks like it actually happening on a minute by minute basis, a single consumer finds a brand worth recommending, or conversely, finds a brand not living up to its marketing message (e.g. fake statistics, planned obsolescence, etc.), those brands are quickly exposed for the better or worse, or adds additional supporting evidence to previously mentioned findings.
This trend shows no signs of abating. In fact, it will likely become the societal norm as Gen X and Gen Y grows older, and our children learn to use scour the web for the brands who acquired brand loyalty the old fashioned way — by producing the best product on the market vs. relying on marketing chicanery.
Study: Gens X, Y Rely On Research, Less On Loyalty
Inside The Buy (opens to pdf)