New report identifies the UK's post-recession 'bounce-back consumer'

News release

Stephanie Dobson
Public Relations Manager, Business Information
+44 (0)115 992 2515 Tel Email

New report identifies the UK’s post-recession ‘bounce-back consumer’

  • Recession has heralded the end of brand monogamy as nearly two-thirds of consumers are less loyal than before
  • Over 40% of consumers believe companies are not fair to customers
  • More than 80% of consumers are ‘increasingly aware’ of prices, but that doesn’t mean going downmarket
  • Keen pricing, rewarding loyalty and customer service – not just lip service - will be key to winning the fight for the bounce-back consumer post-recession

Nottingham, UK, 28 May 2009 - Experian has today published its latest Insight Report, which shows that the recession has caused a huge section of the UK population to radically rethink how, when and with whom they spend their money.  Experian’s report also highlights the major impact this will have on brands over the next decade as ‘bounce-back’ consumers demand even more for even less in the post-recession UK.

According to Experian’s report the ‘more for less’ mindset does not simply translate as cheap. Bounce-back consumers will think twice about buying the cheapest item they can find and instead apply specific selection criteria to shop around for the best value on everything from shampoo to washing machines.

New recessionary behaviours
According to Experian’s latest report maximizing behaviours – where consumers demand the best of everything across the price/service/quality/value spectrum – are already beginning to emerge.  

Experian’s research highlights that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of UK consumers are more likely to have shopped around for the best deal over the last six months, and 25 per cent now take more time over choosing products. In addition, more than 80 per cent of consumers claim to be increasingly aware of the price of goods and services, and this emphasis on value is not likely to change even as the economy improves.  However, a focus on value does not mean that companies can cut corners with their green credentials. UK consumers are not avoiding going consciously; today 70 per cent of consumers are concerned about what they can do personally to help the environment, compared to 40 per cent a decade ago.

The end of brand monogamy
Experian’s analysis reveals that the recession has signaled the end of brand monogamy. Even among historically brand-loyal consumer groups we are witnessing increasingly volatile and promiscuous behaviour. According to Experian’s Insight Report, more than half of consumers have moved to using a different shop in the last year because of poor or indifferent service, and up to 63 per cent claim to be less loyal to companies now than they were previously. This decrease in loyalty is linked into an evaporation of trust.  Experian’s research reveals that UK consumers are more suspicious of companies and big business than ever before – 40 per cent believe companies are not fair to consumers.

Joe Staton, Planning Director at The Future Foundation, an Experian company, commented on the report’s findings: “In the post-recession UK we are going to see the rise of the promiscuous, bounce-back consumer – one whose loyalty has to be won and re-won every day. The biggest casualty will be brand monogamy as consumers demand higher levels of service than ever before, and drop those brands we do not believe fully appreciate – and indeed reward – their custom.

“In the face of this intensification of price scrutiny and volatility, it is even more vital to remind consumers of the multiple value benefits of a brand or product – and ensure companies deliver on price, rewarding loyalty and most of all, on service.”

Experian’s Insight Report predicts that post-recession life will see a move from conspicuous consumption to concerned and considered consumption as shoppers evaluate and constantly re-evaluate every choice and purchase.  In this new world, Experian’s report highlights three key elements that will help businesses win the fight for the bounce-back consumer:

Price - The thrifty make do and mend mindset that has galvanized consumers across the spectrum will not disappear post-recession.  Right across the spectrum consumers will emerge from the downturn more aware and knowledgeable about the price value equation.  This means brands will need to be transparent about costs, highlight benefits and revisit all-inclusive and package deals to lock consumers in at a great price.

Loyalty - Brands cannot assume that if they cared for consumers during the recession – like supermarkets with their quality-at-interesting price points – that this will carry them through post-recession. Loyalty will need to be rewarded and re-won every day with reward points schemes, personalised discounts and targeted on-to-one one communications.

Service - Exceptional customer service will be the making or breaking of brands, post recession. Bounce-back behaviours will be characterised by a willingness and ability to look elsewhere for better customer service experience for consumers dissatisfied on any level.  Personal recommendations will be key to out-performing the competition in the toughest markets.