Asda and Poundland have been voted the most helpful retailers in the tough post-Christmas period by shoppers in a study by a company specialising in creating online communities for retail brands.
The Vision Critical survey talked to 2,000 UK consumers on an online community during January 2013 and found budget brands and supermarkets won the most praise for helping shoppers out during a difficult month.
The five brands voted most helpful by consumers*
*Percentage of consumers who thought the brand helped a lot/helped a little
The survey reveals brands could be missing an opportunity to support consumers during January, particularly mums. The post-Christmas period is seen as the worst time of the year by 45% of consumers. Many have spent more than planned on Christmas with the result that 74% struggle financially in January. Specifically, 81% of mums say January is the toughest month financially and 76% of them cut their budget, researchers found. The things most likely to be cut are their own clothing (41%) and non-food treats (44%).
Companies that offer good discounts are perceived to be helpful and differentiate themselves from others, said Vision Critical. When a brand can deliver unique and relevant help, it gets a competitive edge, the company said. One mum commented: “Asda is supportive during January, as it runs a babies & toddlers event. From pushchairs to baby nappies etc are all on offer meaning mums can stock up early in the year.”
Consumers said specific ways in which companies can help are: not to put prices up in January “perhaps the gas bill could go up in April instead of January?”, to reduce delivery costs and to be more honest over pricing “two for one deals aren’t always cheaper. Smaller packs can be cheaper than larger packs.”
Vision Critical carried out three phases of research with a nationally representative sample of UK residents to understand the consumer mindset in January after the highs and lows of Christmas and the New Year. The first phase of research was conducted via an online quantitative survey with 2,000 UK residents, ages 18+. Fieldwork was conducted 11-13 January 2013.
The second phase of research was conducted via an online qualitative mini-community with 25 UK mums who were struggling in January (both financially and for other reasons), ages 18-54. Fieldwork was conducted 16-23 January 2013.
A subsequent phase of quantitative research was conducted via another online survey with 2,000 UK residents, ages 18+. Fieldwork was conducted 1-3 February 2013.