The United Kingdom has become the most cost-conscious market in Europe, according to pan-European research by affiliate marketing company Affilinet, which found that 71% of UK consumers cite price as a key factor when making a purchasing decision.
In contrast to the British, only half of French consumers (53%) cited price as a major factor, instead citing product features (76%) as the most important factor in their retail purchase decisions. The Dutch also placed the most emphasis on product features (41%), while Spanish consumers were most receptive (35%) to personal recommendations via online channels such as email and social networks.
The study, while aimed to explore the online purchasing habits of consumers and how they respond to brand engagement techniques, also found that 95% of Europeans feel that the use of voucher codes does not negatively impact their perception of a brand. Moreover, nearly half of the consumers surveyed (46%) felt that voucher codes actually improves the relationship they have with brands.
According to Peter Rowe, managing director for Affilinet UK, "It's interesting to note that different markets have such a varied response to what makes them purchase a product. The 'one size fits all' approach to marketing has had its day and it is important for businesses to determine what has most resonance with their different audiences."
The research also highlighted how promiscuous consumers can be, particularly in the UK where 81% of shoppers showed very little brand loyalty if a competing brand was prepared to offer an incentive (such as a cash-back reward).
"Incentives such as voucher codes and cash-back rewards clearly have some degree of resonance with consumers," explained Rowe. "However, marketers need to find ways to integrate these offers intelligently into their campaigns to ensure they continue to have mass appeal - and to ensure that consumers don't begin to rely on the company as a 'discount brand'."
When asked about factors that prevent them from making purchases online, nearly half (47%) of European consumers said that not being able to try products for size was a major obstacle. However, security of payment was the biggest obstacle perceived by French and German consumers when purchasing online, with 57% of consumers from both countries citing this as a problem. A lack of face-to-face service time was the biggest issue for 28% of Dutch consumers.
But British consumers were found to be the least worried about buying products online with 22% claiming they have absolutely no problem doing so, rising to 31% in the Midlands.