Brand preference still affects consumer spend
When it comes down to brand preference, especially over a busy period like December, various factors play a role in the mind of a consumer. A burst of consumer spend is also anticipated due to the sharp reduction in interest rates over the past few months.
According to Leigh Murray, Managing Director of REACT Surveys, a recent snap survey was conducted by the company to investigate brand loyalty in three different industries including fast food, retail clothing and petroleum. Initial findings showed that cleanliness, good quality, service and value for money still plays a very importantly role when it comes to brand preference.
"Even though our research was conducted to gauge further in-depth research and to test the research process and methodologies, it clearly reflects that consumers prefer trusted, older family brands above the rest."
In the fast food arena, it was found that 66% prefer KFC, because of clean fast food outlets and good tasting food. The second choice was McDonalds that received 22% of the votes, followed by Spur, Scooters and Steers. "It is very interesting that not value for money, but cleanliness, service, good tasting and play areas for children played a bigger role when it comes down to choice in the fast food survey," says Murray.
"With a higher domestic tourism flood expected this Festive Season, consumers are looking for good service, friendly staff and convenience when choosing service stations. During research conducted respondents were requested to list the preferred brands, which included Shell, Total, Caltex, Engen and BP.
Shell was rated as the most popular brand according to consumers followed by Total and Caltex. "What we find significant, is the fact that Sasol was mentioned as a brand but not an outlet and with them branding their own service stations soon, it will be quite interesting to monitor the changes in consumer behaviour and perception," continues Murray.
At service stations around 50% of the respondents confirmed that they make use of convenience stores, 22% visit the restrooms, 20% use car wash facilities with 8% using the on-site ATM's where available.
"By looking at these results, service stations offering the above mentioned facilities, especially those with well-trained staff and clean, fully stocked convenience stores take preference," says Murray.
On the clothing retail side, REACT Surveys gave respondents a list of 10 clothing stores to comment on. These include Ackerman's, Edgars, Foschini, Markhams, Truworths, Mr Price, Sales House, Queenspark, Stuttafords and Jet Stores.
According to Murray, female respondents preferred to shop at Edgars, with Mr Price being their second choice, while males were exactly the opposite. "The respondents selected these two brands because of frequent shopping and price.
An interesting result was that no brand bias was shown based on race. We would however need to explore the demographics of the respondents to show the correlation between the income and age of the respondent and brand selection."
Murray feels strongly about the fact that brand loyalty still plays an important role in South Africa. "Although many factors are considered, it looks like consumers will rather spend their money where they feel comfortable. Older, trusted brands, coupled with excellent customer service are therefore still the preferred choice. It is however up to the individual brand to sustain customer loyalty and trust by continuously reviewing their customer service and quality," concludes Murray.
Chillibush Public Relations
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