Baby it’s cold outside: Which brands are helping consumers during tough post-Christmas period?

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Vision Critical spoke to 2,000 UK consumers on an online community to find out which brands they thought were the most and least helpful during the difficult, post-Christmas period. Retailers have been voted top in a league of ‘helpful’ companies and brands with budget brands and supermarkets such as Poundland and ASDA receiving the most praise for helping during a difficult time of year.

"Brands could be missing an opportunity to not support consumers during January, particularly mums."

In a new study by Vision Critical, consumers have ranked retailers at the top in a league of ‘helpful’ companies and brands during the tough post-Christmas period. Vision Critical talked to 2,000 UK consumers on an online community during January and found that budget brands and supermarkets such as Poundland and ASDA were most praised for helping during a difficult month.

Consumers voted these brands to be the most helpful:
Poundland    41% *
ASDA    38%
Tesco    35%
Aldi    32%
Lidl    31%
*Percentage of consumers who thought the brand helped a lot/helped a little

The survey reveals that 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 that January is the toughest month financially and 76% of them cut their budget. The things most likely to be cut are their own clothing (41%) and non-food treats (44%).

Coping
Companies that offer good discounts are perceived to be helpful and differentiate themselves from others. When a brand can deliver unique and relevant help, it gets a competitive edge. 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.”

Specific ways consumers cited that 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 “2 for one deals aren't always cheaper. Smaller packs can be cheaper than larger packs.”

Methodology
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 January 11-13, 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 January 16-23, 2013.

A subsequent phase of quantitative research was conducted via another online survey with 2,000 UK residents, ages 18+. Fieldwork was conducted February 1-3, 2013.

About Vision Critical
Vision Critical pairs the world’s leading market research specialists with the most innovative software developers, marrying the precision of market research with the speed and power of online technology. Serving over 600 global brands through offices across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, Vision Critical creates powerful software and research solutions like the world’s leading Community Panel platform. For more information, please visit http://www.visioncritical.com

For further information: Lucy Davison Keen as Mustard Marketing, 020 7717 1684/Jocelyn Senior, Keen as Mustard Marketing, 07967 098567

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Jocelyn Senior

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