Price increases are causing a large majority of American consumers to question long-held brand loyalty, according to the results of a 2023 consumer survey by consumer research platform Attest.
- 80% of Americans believe brands are using inflation as an excuse to hike prices.
- 88% of consumers will switch brands to save money. (While the survey involved all consumer product categories, 71% said they will drop brand loyalty to food & beverage brands to save money.)
The survey of 2,000 American consumers was taken Feb. 15. It covered a number of consumer categories, not just food & beverage, and most of the general responses were for the full universe of brands.
Across the product categories, inflation’s impact is weighing heavily on brand loyalty. A majority think brands are price-gouging due to inflation. The vast majority of shoppers (80%) feel that brands are involved in “greedflation” -- using inflation as an excuse to hike prices. Of this majority, 58% believe “more needs to be done” to protect consumers and stop brands from benefiting from this practice.
Shoppers have the least loyalty toward grocery brands: Food and beverage brands are cited as the type of products consumers are most likely to switch to save money (at 71%), followed by clothing/shoes (at 40%).
By contrast, out of all categories Americans are least likely to want to change their financial services provider (14%) to save some dollars, indicating a high level of trust being placed with these providers by consumers. This is followed by vice products (alcohol, tobacco) and furniture/decor brands (both at 16%).
Consumers feel food brands have raised prices the most: When quizzed on what types of products have experienced the most rapid rises in their opinion, groceries (at 75%) were far ahead of all other product types. Energy ranked second (37%) followed by travel (27%).
The research identifies another factor alongside inflation that is diminishing brand loyalty: public controversy. In this environment, brands are under even more pressure to avoid PR, advertising and product disasters. If a blunder does arise, the research also delves into consumers’ views on companies caught up in high-profile controversies and how they can set the record straight.
Consumers value transparency the most during a controversy: A majority of Americans want brands to fess up when they’ve messed up. 55% want a brand involved in a high-profile controversy to provide full transparency and steps on how they will fix it. 42% will be happy with the issuance of a public apology.
Most people are willing to wait before reacting: The most likely response from Americans is to give a brand time to issue a public statement before making up their mind on a response (35%). However, 26% are much less patient and will boycott/stop buying a brand’s products and services “immediately” due to a controversy.
Social media plays a key role for 15% of consumers, who will either unfollow a brand or publish public posts disapproving of a company involved in a controversy.
Those surveyed were most concerned by racism: An accusation of racism when a brand is involved in a controversy is the top issue that concerns the public (at 42%).