84.51°’s latest research on shoppers’ brand loyalty attitudes and behaviors shows that a higher percentage of customers say loyalty is on the rise.

Years of economic and product disruptions are driving a shift in brand loyalty among grocery shoppers. Tightening budgets and empty shelves have made shoppers more willing to try new brands they might not have considered before. As a result, one might think brand loyalty is on the decline—but in fact, the opposite is true.

Three trends uncovered by the research include:

  • Customer definitions of brand loyalty have changed. While shopper perceptions of brand loyalty have changed and there’s is no consensus on its definition, in most shoppers’ minds it has shifted away from exclusivity. One key shift is that shopper loyalty does not guarantee brand purchases. Nearly half (43%) of respondents perceived brand loyalty to be based on preference; more than 30% defined it based on their purchase behavior and 24% defined it based on consideration.
  • Customer expectations and values have shifted. Research uncovered changes in customer expectations that have altered the dynamics of brand loyalty to different categories. While shoppers are motivated by price, brand trust and value are also important. Shoppers across the economic spectrum are looking for opportunities to stretch their budgets. Pinched by high prices, 62% of shoppers said getting a “good value” for their money is important when it comes to selecting a brand over competitors. The second most important quality is trust; 34% said they choose brands that they trust.
  • The brand-customer relationship has evolved. Today’s customers expect brands to be thoughtful about the interactions they initiate with them. A brand’s efforts to engage the customer will be perceived as self-serving if the customer feels like a target, not a person. As a result, even brands that enjoy a high level of loyalty need to give customers reasons to remain faithful.

The full white paper, "The loyalty shift decoded: Key insights for winning customer devotion in an uncertain economy," can be found here.