Consumers less loyal to brands now, survey finds

The Nielsen poll showed that Singaporeans were most likely to switch brand loyalties when it came to products like chocolates and biscuits, as well as dairy goods. They were also willing to try new brands of shampoo, coffee or tea. The main reason fo
The Nielsen poll showed that Singaporeans were most likely to switch brand loyalties when it came to products like chocolates and biscuits, as well as dairy goods. They were also willing to try new brands of shampoo, coffee or tea. The main reason for switching brands was to get the best value for money.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Trying new brands no longer a big risk given rising incomes in developing markets, it says

Consumers are far less loyal to brands these days and are increasingly willing to try new products, a new survey out yesterday noted.

It found that the "gamble" of trying new brands is not so great any more, given rising income levels in developing markets.

Indeed, only 8 per cent of those polled in the global survey felt loyalty to a favourite brand, while 28 per cent of consumers here said they loved trying new things.

The survey also noted that 61 per cent of people here said they could experiment with other brands and products, although they still preferred to stick with their favourites.

But about 50 per cent of these respondents said they were now more likely to try brands that they have never used before than they would have been five years ago.

"With the huge assortment of products and services now accessible in stores or online, the risk for brand owners has never been greater," said Mr Garick Kea, head of consumer insights here at global measurement firm Nielsen, which carried out the global poll. "Sourcing cheap deals... has become an integral part of everyday life, with the bar being raised higher for brands to connect and engage with their audiences."

The survey also showed that Singaporeans were most likely to switch brand loyalties when it came to products like chocolates and biscuits, as well as dairy goods. They were also willing to try new brands of shampoo, coffee or tea and skincare products like moisturisers.

  • 8%

    Percentage of those polled in the global survey who felt loyalty to a favourite brand.

  • 61%

    Percentage of people polled here who said they could experiment with other brands and products, although they still preferred to stick with their favourites.

The main reason for switching brands was to get the best value for money, although convenience also ranked high.

Business and retail experts said firms can retain consumer loyalty by offering niche products.

Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Business Management director Esther Ho said: "This means that offering a wide range of products that appears undifferentiated may not necessarily give the upper hand.

"Instead, offering a specially curated range that appeals to customers as individuals and makes it convenient and easy for them to use or buy may be more advantageous."

Singapore Polytechnic marketing and retail lecturer Lucas Tok said: "It depends a lot on the trends... For example, people are now more interested in Fairtrade products and that makes them receptive to trying brands with a sustainable image."

Fairtrade products are sourced from partnerships that are ethical and contribute to sustainable development.

That shift might give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) some advantages. Ms Leung Sau Yee of Singapore Polytechnic's School of Business said: "What consumers want now are brands that make the effort to keep up to date with consumer needs, and provide solutions to their problems. There are SMEs that are more agile in adapting to consumers' changing needs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'Consumers less loyal to brands now, survey finds'. Print Edition | Subscribe