Brits Care More About Quality

Ideagen is a provider of global regulatory and compliance software, serving highly regulated industries such as life sciences, healthcare, banking and finance and insurance. Their solutions include reducing risks by strengthening compliance, reducing costs and delivering ROI. Check out their new report below:

“A third of consumers care more about quality than a year ago despite cost of living crunch, reveals new report from Ideagen” 

  • Quality is top over price and convenience when it comes to food  
  • Yet, 1 in 10 have seen a reduction in the quality of products and services during the economic downturn
  • Decades on, a quarter are still impacted by food quality scandals such as horse meat in food and salmonella

Nottingham, UK, 21st March 2023

New research has shed light on the importance of quality for consumers, despite the continuing rise of the cost of living, as nearly a third (31%) say that quality of products and services is more important now than it was a year ago. For Gen Z and Millennials, this demand for quality is even greater, with over half (54%) of 18-24 year olds and 43% of 25-34 year olds putting more emphasis on it than a year ago.

Building trust in uncertain times”, a new study* from global regulatory compliance firm

Ideagen, explores the significance of quality in  consumers’ purchasing decisions, the role of safety and quality symbols in providing reassurance during uncertain times, and the impact that past quality-related events have on society.  

Ideagen appointed Walnut Unlimited to interview a representative sample of 2,000 adults in GB and discovered that the cost of living has put a greater emphasis on price, but consumers aren’t willing to compromise on quality of goods and services, even with rising household costs. Over a third (34%) rank quality as the most important when making a purchase, much higher than convenience (3%) and customer service (2%). That said, unsurprisingly price still is a key consideration for purchasing decisions, with over half (58%) citing this as their number one priority.

The report also looks at how demand for quality compares against other considerations when making different purchase types. Quality is top over price and convenience when it comes to food and medicine, with over half (51%) and nearly two thirds (63%) respectively citing this as the most important, even for those in lower socioeconomic households. Meanwhile, in other industries quality and safety priorities also remained. For example, 29% said safety was a deciding factor when buying a flight and 17% said the same for financial services purchases.

Symbols of safety

Awareness of quality symbols among the public is high. The majority (76%) of consumers pay attention to at least one quality or safety symbol when purchasing products and services.

Food quality symbols are the most recognised, with 55% of respondents more likely to pay attention to a quality standard symbol if it is food related. Fairtrade (85%), British Lion Quality (71%) and Red Tractor (71%) symbols are the most identifiable.

While only 9% of respondents recognised UKCA, the UK Conformity Assessed marking, compared to 66% who recognised its pre-Brexit predecessor, CE, suggesting there is a lack of awareness amongst the public of newer product marketing that have come into force since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Companies can’t afford to cut corners

Despite demand from consumers, Ideagen research found that there has been some reduction in the quality of products and services, with 1 in 10 consumers reporting a noticeable decrease. However, for companies that prioritise quality, this presents an opportunity to set themselves apart in a crowded market.

Ben Dorks, CEO, Ideagen commented on the findings

“Businesses are walking the fine line between cost and quality and these results suggest they can’t afford to cut corners, even in poor economic climates. “People are paying more for goods and services and expect to see and feel more for their money. Our report underscores the ongoing importance of quality and safety for consumers and the need for companies to prioritise it. While cost continues to be important, it goes hand in hand with quality, and consumers aren’t willing to compromise on the latter despite challenging times.”

When it comes to determining quality, a third (33%) said raw ingredients, while 17% said regulation were key indicators. The importance placed on reviews is at an all-time low, with 44% of consumers citing them as the least important factor. Younger demographics, more receptive to social media and influencer marketing, are bucking this trend and placing a greater emphasis on reviews. Nearly a third (31%) of 18–34-year-olds cite them as the most important.

Quality scandal awareness high and reputational damage lingers

Consumers are still conscious of past quality-related events decades after they hit the headlines. Two thirds (65%) were aware of BSE (mad cow disease) in the 1990s and 62% were conscious of the 1980s salmonella scandal, and half (54%) of horse meat in the food supply chain in the early 2010s. Significantly , these events still impact today’s consumers, with nearly quarter (24%) of those who were aware of each event respectively saying it impacted their behaviour e.g. purchasing and healthcare judgements and opinions respectively. This highlights the lasting impact that quality issues can have on consumer trust and purchasing decisions.

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