However, loyalty may be as much a function of inertia as anything else.
Last year, Yotpo found that 90% of consumers surveyed considered themselves brand loyal, in contrast to the conventional thinking that loyalty was dead. That number hasn’t changed, according to this year’s survey of 2,100 U.S. adults; 89.1% of consumers said they were brand loyal, with 25% saying they were more loyal than last year.
‘I tend to buy from the same brand.’ The survey asked respondents “what does being brand loyal mean to you?” The top response was “I tend to buy from the same brand” (67%). That was followed by “I love the brand” (39.5%) and “I buy from the brand despite cheaper competitors” (37.7%). However, the phrase “I tend to buy from the same brand” suggests softness and that loyalty for many people is a function of inertia.
In response to the question “How many times do you purchase from the same company before you’d consider yourself loyal?” roughly 87% of respondents said at least three times. Of that group, 36.4% said that it took at least five purchases for them to consider themselves brand loyal. Those numbers are quite similar to last year’s survey.
Customer service comes in third. The top drivers of brand loyalty were:
- Product — 78%
- Price — 63%
- Customer service — 26%
- Loyalty program — 22%
- Shopping experience — 17%
- Connection to a charity or cause — 9%
- Ads/marketing — 4%
- Other — 2%
Customer service was important but not as important as one might have thought, although the 26% figure is effectively an increase from the 7% last year who cited “above and beyond” customer service as their primary loyalty driver.
Loyal customers still resist marketing objectives. What will these loyal customers do for the brands they like? The answer is several things, although they resist common marketing objectives such as signing up for emails, following on social media or submitting reviews:
- Join their loyalty program – 59%
- Refer the brand to others – 59%
- Spend more on products even with cheaper options elsewhere – 36%
- Take a survey – 32%
- Shop in their physical store – 27%
- Sign up for emails, newsletters, physical mail – 19%
- Participate in a contest or promotion – 18%
- Submit a review, upload a photo or video – 18%
- Follow and engage with the brand on social media – 10%
- Attend their events – 5%
- None of the above – 2%
Why we should care. There were other findings in the research, but these are the most noteworthy. Essentially, brand loyalty is alive but it may be mostly a function of finding a product that’s “good enough” and sticking with it out of inertia. Clearly, marketers that want true loyalty will need to do more.
One might be tempted to read this study and conclude service doesn’t really matter. While it’s not entirely clear from the survey, I suspect that those who are truly loyal (buy from brand despite cheaper options, love the brand) would cite service to a higher degree than the general respondent pool.
Finally, it was also interesting that more people were willing to participate in a survey than sign up for email or follow the brand on social media.