Shoppers are highly likely to boycott brands which run “promotions that aren’t as good as they sound” according to new research into how much UK consumers trust retailers and brands.

Disappointing promotions damage shopper trust


Shoppers are highly likely to boycott brands which run “promotions that aren’t as good as they sound” according to new research into how much UK consumers trust retailers and brands.

Nearly six in 10 shoppers (59%) cited disappointing promotions as a key irritant in future purchasing decisions, putting it top of the factors which put shoppers off retailers and brands.

The latest industry report from Shoppercentric, a leading independent shopper research agency, “WindowON…Trust Issues”, reveals high levels of cynicism and falling levels of trust amongst the UK population.

This could have dire consequences for brands and retailers, because shoppers are increasingly voting with their wallets:

  • 36% of UK shoppers have ‘stopped buying a brand or using a company’ because they were uncomfortable with something they did or stood for.
  • Having taken a stand in relation to one brand or company, 58% of these ‘boycotters’ said they were more likely to do the same again in the future.
  • 41% of boycotters were 55+ compared to 34% of non-boycotters.
  • 55% of shoppers always or frequently look for products that are transparent about their contents e.g. see thru packs/clear labelling information.
  • 32% always or frequently look for products that demonstrate their ethical policies.

Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director at Shoppercentric (pictured), says: “Over the last few years, with the rise of social media and 24/7 news, it has become clear that consumers are increasingly aware of shortfalls in the behaviour of the companies they buy from… If consumers are as cynical as our research indicates, it highlights the need for brands and retailers to be more aware of how trust issues can develop and what they need to do to avoid this. There’s the potential for serious impact on businesses when trust issues lead to a negative change in behaviour, something retailers can ill-afford to happen.”

Nearly half of all UK shoppers – 46% – now fall into the cynical bracket, failing to agree at all with the statement that they are ‘trustful of others’. These shoppers are also less likely to agree that ‘most people are trustful of others’, ‘most people are trustworthy’ and ‘most people are basically honest’.

Trust is a major issue, as nearly three quarters (74%) of UK shoppers agreed that they ‘want to feel good about the retailers they use’ while almost the same percentage (73%) ‘want the money they spend to go to companies they trust’.

Shoppers rate corporate retailers and brands poorly in relation to putting consumer interests first, in comparison to other institutions and businesses.

Shoppercentric also asked people what factors irritated them most, drawing up a list of key irritants (those that scored 8+ out of 10, where 10 is annoying enough to not buy that product or use that retailer).

As mentioned above, ‘Promotions that aren’t as good as they sound, was ranked number one irritant by the most respondents, followed by so-called ‘shrinkflation’, where reduce their size or quality but keep the same price with 58%. In third place are retailers and brands who make changes which negatively impact shoppers but lets them profit on 55%.

Pinnington concludes: “The individual irritations may seem relatively harmless in isolation, but these can create real frustration and annoyance among shoppers. To see a considerable proportion of shoppers giving such high annoyance points for so many factors should be a red flag to retailers and brands. When all else feels equal, such as price, range and accessibility, it can be the sense of connection, or not, that can lead a shopper to remain loyal to their usual brand/retailer, or choose to go elsewhere.

She adds: “Our research implies that 1 in 3 UK shoppers have taken action – to shop elsewhere or stop buying a particular product so this willingness to act is not limited to a small minority. This is the context in which trust issues need to be viewed and unless retailers and brands understand the potential impact that trust issues – big or small – can have on shoppers, they run the risk of falling foul of shoppers who are increasingly aware, thoughtful and willing to act.”

The Shoppercentric report can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To use reCAPTCHA you must get an API key from here and enter keys in the plugin settings page at here