New research reveals what makes Americans stop buying from their preferred brands, discusses views on how brands are acting in response to inflation, and addresses the ways high-profile controversies affect consumer behavior.  

Attest, a consumer research platform, finds that consumers are nearly neck-and-neck when asked for the number one reason why they would stop buying a brand’s product/service. A “negative experience” with a brand (33%) is only just ahead of price increases (32%) as the top reason. This is followed by bad customer service at 18%. 

Majority of consumers questioning long-held brand loyalty

Inflation’s impact is weighing heavily on brand loyalty for American consumers, with 8 in 10 (88%) saying they are now willing to try different products and services due to price pressures. 

  • 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%).
  • A majority think brands are price gouging due to inflation: The vast majority of shoppers (at 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. 
  • Consumers feel food brands have lifted prices the most: When quizzed on what types of products have experienced the most rapid rises, in consumers' opinions, groceries (at 75%) were far ahead of all other product types.

When brands do badly, consumers want transparency 

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. But, 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. Fifty-five percent want a brand involved in a high-profile controversy to provide full transparency and steps on how they will fix it.
    • Forty-two percent will be happy with the issuance of a public apology.
    • Other remedies favored by people include removing the person responsible (32%), offering a discount/refund (29%) and providing services to lodge complaints (18%). 
  • 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%). 
    • By contrast, 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. 
  • Americans 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%).
    • This is followed by accusations of discrimination (based on people with disabilities, religion, and sexual orientation) and poor treatment of employees (both at 35%). The other top issues include the treatment of animals (32%), while a combined 27% of Americans are concerned with brands involved in political controversies:
      • Fifteen percent express concern if a brand was accused of left-wing, socially liberal politics.
      • While 12% would feel the same way regarding accusations of ring-wing, socially conservative politics.
      • Sixteen percent say that “greenwashing” would worry them the most, while ageism is the least cited as a concerning issue for the public (at 8%).

Source: Attest