UK Shoppers Exceptionally Loyal – Till They’re Not

Carol Feigenbaum |
 09/19/18 |
3 min read

You have a new product line that’s perfect for your UK audience and can’t wait to use your social media listening savvy to get in front of these amazingly loyal consumers and win their hearts and business. But that exceptional loyalty can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. Here’s how to not fall on it.

Who Says They’re So Loyal Anyway?

With rising costs an unavoidable expectation in life, anticipating that you’ll pay more for things makes sense. And if you’re in the UK, anticipating you may pay quite a bit more, particularly for food, thanks to Brexit, is smart planning.

Research Live found that “63% of shoppers would be willing to pay more for British brands in fresh produce, fresh dairy (60%) and fresh meat categories (59%) if prices increased post-Brexit.” Does that mean UK shoppers are okay with this increase, or feel noncommittal to the whole Brexit idea either way so maintaining loyalty isn’t really a big deal? Not in the least.

Popping around in NetBase Pro reveals quite a bit of negative Net Sentiment (a measure of positivity or negativity, from -100 to 100):

So, then they just must be extremely loyal – stubbornly so – to things they like? Well, it goes beyond that too.

According to folks at CM Brand, a branded product retailer based in the UK, who created this, “65% of UK shoppers identify themselves as loyal, compared to 61% globally.” And while that number may not sound astoundingly high, it’s a trend to take note of – particularly the reasons behind it.

So yes, UK shoppers pride themselves on their loyalty, exhibiting fierce allegiance to foods, brands and services they hold dear, but even stubborn loyalty has its limits.

Let’s look at what drives loyalty in the UK, by exploring what residents are saying online about their favorite stores:

We can see that UK consumers are well aware of competitors vying for their love, and appreciate music, fashion, gaming (#ps4share) and giveaways.

And this intel offers opportunities for brands who live outside of those categories, and may not offer giveaways regularly, to step beyond their comfort zone and discover adjacencies, create experiences and enlist influencers.

While many brands may not be able to afford collaborating with K-Pop star @TiffanyYoungOfficial, listed at the top of our influencer list, she’d certainly boost sales in many verticals catering to Gen Z kids and their parents! Offering an experience – or giveaway, where families could win tickets to see this kid icon would send parents scurrying to spread awareness of your brand (assuming that was part of the competition), particularly if that contest was promoted by the star herself.

And @MegganGrubb would likely be an exceptional choice for all things fitness and healthful living. Having her share the benefits of a relevant product with her many Instagram followers, linking to your purchase page, would be money well spent.

There are also great, overarching and accessible influencers for any UK locale with @PhotosofBritain. The visual imagery is stunning, and having your shop (or if you could encourage a product placement within one) shared in such a way could create a valuable touchpoint with potential consumers. Forget a Yelp review – if something like this could work for you, make it happen:

And even if none of that makes sense for you, who doesn’t love pugs? As you can see, if jewelry, hair and accessories shop, Claire’s UK, can make a successful marketing mascot of Doug the Pug, imagine what you can do with a little digging?

There are relevant online influencers for any occasion, and consumers waiting to be wowed and won over. And we know they’re loyal, they love that about themselves.

So if you’re selling consumer goods, if/when food prices hit a certain threshold, all the love in the world won’t keep shoppers spending money on a week’s worth of groceries that could last a month. And the same goes for other favorite products and services. If retailers get lazy and take Brits buying habits and exceptional loyalty for granted, they’ll ultimately lose out.

Once that loyalty transfers to a competitor, especially one who understands how to create a lively interaction between themselves and consumers, good luck winning them back. The most challenging bit about fiercely loyal followers is that they aren’t big on second chances. And if your competition has a pug in place, you’re done for. Go find your own puppy power first!

We help brands uncover unexpected adjacencies and love showing off how this is done! Reach out for a demo.


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