Shoppers are more disloyal to and dissatisfied with fashion retailers than at any time in the past 10 years, according to a new report from Verdict Consulting.
The How Britain Shops report, which was compiled by Verdict and Barclays, shows that 25.2% of shoppers are dissatisfied with where they bought their clothes and would prefer to shop elsewhere. This is a 3.1% increase on shopper loyalty figures from 1998 and 3% up on 2007 figures.
On footwear purchases, 19.4% of shoppers said they felt no loyalty to retailers. This was up 3.4% on last year. However, Marks & Spencer’s footwear still commanded huge loyalty among shoppers, with 90.9% of those surveyed saying they were loyal to its footwear offer.
Across the whole retail sector, 22.1% of shoppers, or 10.8 million people, had no loyalty to the retailers they shopped with.
Verdict said that although not every shopper would act on their disloyal feelings, such a high level of fickleness should worry retailers who are already suffering the effects of weaker consumer sentiment and weaker consumer spending.
Neil Saunders, consulting director at Verdict, said: “In the current environment it’s critical for retailers to hang on to every customer they’ve got. Such a low rate of loyalty demonstrates the extent to which people are shopping around and are increasingly willing to punish retailers that don’t meet their expectations. It should act as a wake-up call to retailers.”
Verdict said that while the credit crunch had made shoppers more inclined to shop around for bargains, it was not the only reason for the downturn in loyalty. It said the increased choice of shops had driven the decline, particularly with new or international retailers entering the market. The rise of etail has also made it easier for customers to switch shops.