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UK shoppers love promotions

Customers are becoming more and more savvy about marketing tactics and techniques. These are the findings of the second in the series of ‘What the Brits want from promotions’ from WPP’s Mando

Promotions are an essential part of the marketing toolkit. They enable marketers to think fast, act fast and to see results fast – an ideal mechanism to engage today’s consumer.

They are a widely used and very effective device across multiple channels, sectors, and disciplines. And they can open up a whole new world to marketers for acquisition, for engagement, for switching from one brand to another, to shift well-established perceptions, to drive sales, to build brand awareness or simply to create new news.

Promotions have an enormously positive impact on the brands that offer them, the consumers that participate in them and the environment that they operate in.

Since Mando published ‘What the Brits Want from Promotions 1.0’ in 2021 a lot has changed. ‘What the Brits Want from Promotions 2.0’ – created by Mando and Mando-Connect, in partnership with YouGov and supported by The Institute of Promotional Marketing – explores the new British promotional landscape. It identifies what Brits really want from promotions – how to design them, how to ensure maximum participation and effectiveness and how to get the rewards offered right.

Here are the findings:

1. Brits think brands should offer promotions

In fact, 69% of the sample think all brands should offer promotions. What is more, 78% think promotions are a great way for brands to reward their customers.

2. Brits love promotions

A total of 85% of the sample say promotions are appealing, 72% of adults take part in promotions, and the average Brit takes part in 12 promotions over six months.

3. Participation rates vary by audience

Men and women participate equally in promotions (71% of men and 74% of women do so). Younger and older age groups participate less (73% of 18-24s, and only 66% of 55s and overs, take part in promotions, compared with 77% of 25-34s and 76% of 45-54s).

Socio-economic groups matter too. AB Brits participate in promotions more than other groups. In fact, 78% of AB Brits take part in promotions compared with 75% of C1s, 68% of C2s and 66% of DEs.

4. Money off is more popular than bonuses

Drilling down into what appeals to the sample, money off is the clear winner. In fact, 65.2% of the sample cited money off as appealing and 39.3% said it causes them to participate.

Next is money back. A total of 43.2% of the sample said this is appealing and 22.2% said it causes them to participate.

Added-value rewards came in third. In this case, 34.5% said this incentive is appealing and 18.2% said it causes them to participate.

5. Savviness is the primary motivator

Increasingly, participants in the survey say they are motivated by getting a good deal, getting something for nothing and having nothing to lose.

6. Brits like digital promotions best

Brits have a very clear point of view on their preferred way into a promotion. They prefer digital entry routes and digital promotions. Over half (56%) say they want to enter a promotion online. The next most popular entry route is email (39%), then through a mobile app (28%). The top three entry routes are clearly all digital.

7. Money and offers are the favoured rewards

Coming in top is money rewards – 60% of the sample wanted money. Next comes a discount/offer with 50% wanting money, and 45% said they wanted free products/services/experiences.

8. It’s critical to build trust, not destroy it

Being trustworthy is key. It is easy to lose people’s trust in promotions in many ways. These are the percentages of our sample that cited the following reasons for losing trust:

  • When the terms and conditions are complicated and have loopholes to catch people out – 54%
  • When it’s unclear what the prizes/rewards are and how to win/redeem them – 45%
  • When the terms and conditions are not clearly communicated – 39%
  • I don’t believe people actually win the prizes – 36%
  • When the number of winners in not communicated – 31%
  • When the promotion is endorsed by an influencer or celebrity – 30%
  • When the promotion doesn’t adhere to industry codes and best practice – 28%
  • A bad previous experience participating in brand’s promotions – 27%
  • When the prizes offered are from brands I do not trust – 27%
  • When there are only a small number of prizes so there are only a few winners – 23%
  • When the prizes offered are from brands I do not know – 19%

9. Promotions work even better in loyalty

Our findings showed that loyalty programme members are more engaged in promotions than people who are not engaged in such programmes.

Take part in promotions Think all brands should offer promotions Think promotions are a great way for brands to reward customers
Loyalty programme members 77% 70% 81%
Average Brit 72% 69% 78%
Not a member of loyalty programme 59% 62% 66%

10. Promotions pack a big punch

The impact of promotions is very positive across rational and emotional metrics. This is how our survey sample reacts when a brand offers a promotion:

  • I am more like to try a new brand – 73%
  • I am more likely to notice a brand – 72%
  • I find a brand more appealing – 63%
  • I spend more money with a brand – 57%
  • I shop more often with a brand – 57%
  • I don’t care about the brand; I just shop whatever is on promotion – 51%
  • I am more likely to recommend a brand – 50%
  • I am more loyal to a brand – 35%
  • I feel more emotionally connected to a brand – 34% 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov PLC.


published on

11 May 2023


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