Three quarters of UK consumers would boycott a brand they don’t trust, new EY research reveals

28 August 2017

  • Share

Nearly three quarters (74%) of UK consumers would stop purchasing products from a brand whose actions they no longer trust, new findings from EY reveal today. Interestingly, this sentiment increases with age with 64% of 16-24 year olds agreeing compared to 80% of consumers aged over 55.

The research, which is based on a survey of 2,500 UK consumers, looks at whether a brand’s actions has an impact on its customers’ purchasing decisions. Four in five (80%) consumers say they have questioned whether to continue purchasing from a brand that has acted improperly, such as treating its staff poorly. Additionally, 81% of consumers agree that the behaviour of a company is as important as the products it sells. Furthermore, 67% of consumers say they would stop buying a brand if it was bought by a company that had suffered negative publicity.

According to the survey, the corporate values that have the biggest impact on consumers’ shopping habits are the customer experience (86%), the brand having a clear purpose (82%) and good treatment of staff (78%). These values appear to be paramount to the purchase process, with 83% of consumers feeling encouraged to shop with a brand they favour.

Customers are still a brand’s best advocate too. Consumers stated that word of mouth (84%) and online reviews (73%) were the most important external factors considered before purchasing products from a brand. Traditional media still has an impact, with almost half (47%) of consumers stating that it influences their purchases – interestingly, this increases to 63% with consumers aged 25-34.

Conversely, when consumers were asked whether they would post critical comments about retailers on social media, 42% of them said they would. Broken down by age groups, the younger demographics were more likely to do so with 47% of 16-24 year olds, 62% of 25-34 year olds, 53% of 35-44 year olds, 41% of 45-54 year olds, and 27% of consumers over 55 years old saying they would air their grievances on social media.

Julie Carlyle, Partner and Head of Retail at EY, says: “This new research clearly shows that not only are customers still the best advocate for brands they trust, but also that they are sensitive to what brand value represents to them. Traditional processes such as word of mouth and peer reviews still appear to hold more weight than the likes of social media.

“To protect margin, organisations need a clear understanding of the values that their customers find important. These go beyond short-term price promotions and hit on longer-term intangible assets such as an organisation’s culture.”