Study: Most US Consumers Would Cheat on Their Favorite Brands

strategyCheater alert! ICLP, a global loyalty marketing agency, revealed this week that despite a projected 3.6% increase in holiday spend this season, the majority of US consumers are in less committed relationships with their favorite retailers than ever before, with as many as 86% likely to cheat on their preferred brands.

Based on these results, it’s clear that retailers need to have a greater understanding of why the majority of consumers feel this lack of devotion.

Devotion, which is a factor of how passionate, committed and intimate consumers feel with a retailer, is key to creating effective loyalty strategies that generate valuable and long-lasting customer relationships.

ICLP surveyed 1,000 US consumers, ranging from Millennials to Baby Boomers, to examine the psychological parallels between human and brand relationships. The poll rated their experiences with friends and romantic partners, as well as brand relationships on seven core relationship criteria, including: recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication.

The power of devotion – and the consequences of feelings of indifference

Only 14% of US consumers report feeling devoted to their favorite brands, meaning that 86% are inclined to “cheat” by engaging and shopping with competitors.

Devotion is an extremely powerful business driver, as evident by 96% of those who feel devoted to their favorite retailers claiming that they would recommend the brand to others.

“ICLP’s recent study represents ground-breaking work in understanding the key components of brand loyalty,” a report summary notes. “Our analyses suggested that the same seven basic types of relationships emerged for both brand and close relationships. In fact, a majority of respondents approached their relationships with favorite brands in a very similar manner to how they approached their close relationships. Therefore, developing a strong and devoted relationship with a brand might not be so different from developing a strong and caring bond with another person, suggesting that people might buy with their hearts. This is exciting work, as it not only allows us to better understand and track the various types of brand loyalty, but it will also provide retailers with critical insights into targeting the needs and desires of specific classes of consumers in order to promote greater loyalty.”