The Rise of the Conscious Consumer: Brand Values & Loyalty Across Europe  

Research about consumer loyalty shows that consumers are less loyal and more interested in brand values. Here's the country-level breakdown.
Updated on September 26, 2023

As the festive season gets into full swing, marketers are raising their ad budgets and thinking of creative ways to stand out. We all know that price is a big factor when it comes to attracting customers, but our latest research found that it isn’t the only thing that can drive purchases during the festive season. What we found, as we look into 2020, is that we are officially entering the age of the conscious consumer.

The “conscious consumer” is someone who buys based on social, environmental, and political values. Price is a factor, but it isn’t always the primary factor. During the Golden Quarter this year, it’s important for retailers and brands to think about how to connect emotionally with these shoppers. Christmas is a season of giving and community, which means consumers are thinking more than ever about what they’re buying and how it connects to their values.

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In Criteo’s global survey on consumer loyalty, “Why We Buy”, we asked Europeans from eight different countries what made them stay loyal to a brand and, specifically, how values impacted their purchasing habits.

The findings have significant implications as businesses prepare for the upcoming festive season. We wanted this survey to answer what makes EMEA consumers loyal to brands and what makes them switch.

Here’s what our survey showed:

1. France

In France, two-thirds of consumers are open to trying a new brand. More than half (58%) said that they had to agree that a brand’s value mattered when they were making a decision to shop there. Half of French consumers said that they wouldn’t purchase at a brand again if the brand didn’t share their values.

2. United Kingdom

Consumers in the UK are even less loyal than those in France – 79% said that they would be willing to switch to a new brand. Brand values don’t have as much as an impact in the UK, either. A third of UK consumers said they wouldn’t shop at a company that didn’t share their same values.

3. Germany

While Germany is often recognised as the most conscious country in the region – if not the world – less than half (42%) of consumers said they would stop shopping at a brand if the brand’s values weren’t aligned with their own. Just under two-thirds (63%) of German consumers said they are willing to try a new brand.

4. Italy

Italian consumers feel strongly about brand values – 63% of those surveyed said their purchasing decisions are affected by a company’s mission and values. The majority are open to new brands, too, with 80% saying they were willing to consider a new brand.

5. Spain

In Spain, 76% of consumers are willing to try a new brand, but only if they agree with the brand’s mission and values. Two-thirds said that mission and values have an impact on their purchasing decision.

6. Netherlands

In the Netherlands, brand values matter, but only 29% of consumers said that they paid attention to the company mission and values. Just over a third (36%) said they wouldn’t return to a brand that didn’t share their same values.

7. Poland

Of the countries surveyed, Polish  consumers are most likely to switch brands. When asked if they were willing to switch brands, 88% of Polish consumers said yes. Yet they pay close attention to brand values, with 72% saying that their purchasing decision was affected by how a company represented itself.

8. Sweden

In Sweden, 70% of shoppers are willing to consider a new brand. Just around half (46%) of Swedish consumers said that their purchasing decision is affected by a company’s mission and values.

Brand Values & Customer Journey

No matter what country, there are two things that our survey discovered: a big segment of European consumers are conscious consumers and many of them are willing to change brands.

As businesses build out festive season marketing strategies, it’s critical to keep that in mind. By telling your story and promoting your values through your ads, you can build relationships and loyalty while appealing to conscious consumers.

At a time when more consumers than ever before are thinking about how their purchases make an impact, forward-thinking businesses should focus on ad campaigns that don’t just show prices and product, but show  values, too.

Blaise Lucey

Blaise has helped Fortune 500s and start-ups build comprehensive content marketing strategies from the ground up. He loves figuring out how technology can tell better stories and foster relationships.

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