Despite doom and gloom in many parts of the retail sector, there are some brands which have bucked the trend and are doing relatively well both financially and in terms of consumer perception.
A major piece of consumer research by YouGov released in January 2019 reveals which retail brands have improved how consumers perceive the value they offer. The research shows that value seems to be a key factor in retaining and attracting customers.
Four brands which have increased their value scores are Ikea, Primark, Next, and ASOS. While scores for the other three have been steadily increasing over time, Next is unusual in that its scores had been on a downward trajectory but over the last year scores have markedly improved.
Using YouGov’s planning and tracking tools Profiles and BrandIndex, the report looks at the link between consumer perception – particularly in terms of quality and value – and a brand’s fortunes. It explores which brands are declining in these metrics and which are thriving despite an uncertain economic climate.
Quality and value: most improved retailers
Offering value for money is essential for retailers in retaining their customer base, and as is clear from recent business failures in British retail, perception of quality undoubtedly has real-world implications.
Brands that stand out with regards to positive perception of quality and value tend to be supermarket clothing brands as well as low-cost clothing and homeware retailers.
Who’s losing consumer perception of quality and value?
The retailers with the biggest drop in quality over the past year are Toys R Us (-8), Maplin (-4), Homebase (-4), WH Smith (-3), and House of Fraser (-3), some of which have suffered financial difficulties, store closures or both.
Consumers have tightened their belts since the 2008 financial crisis, so offering value for money is vital. Customer experience is also key, and large brands can no longer rely on their legacy to carry them if the in-store (or online) experience is disappointing or frustrating. The data indicates that brands such as Primark are managing to stay buoyant in a challenging environment for these very reasons.
“Clearly there are huge external factors at play which are out of brands’ control and it would be misleading to suggest that simply improving value for money or quality will miraculously transform a retailer’s fortunes. However, the data does indicate that there is a strong link between certain brand health metrics and commercial performance,“ says David Ellis, Director at YouGov.