How online shopping is shaping customer loyalty




With an abundance of information sources now at the fingertips of anyone with a phone or computer, consumers experience no difficulty making planned, informed purchases. This wealth of knowledge has important implications for consumer behavior.

For the past four years, GfK has conducted FutureBuy, a syndicated survey of consumers with respect to a wide range of attitudes and behaviors. Interestingly, our research reveals that consumers are increasingly expressing a decreased loyalty to brands and retailers, and an overall belief that they are less influenced by traditional marketing efforts.

To illustrate, in the 2018 results for FutureBuy, we found that 49% of European respondents agreed with the statement “I am now less loyal to any one retailer, because I have to shop around more to find the best values.” Asking European respondents the same question with respect to brands yielded a similar result.

However, brands and retailers are not the only traditional gatekeepers who are under threat. In our results, we also find that 42% of our European respondents go so far as to agree with the statement “Retailers, advertisers, and brands have less influence on my purchase decisions than ever before”.



The declining influence of retailers, advertisers, and brands across the globe.

So what does influence modern consumers? What behaviors and attitudes are replacing traditional indicators of value and quality (such as brands, retailers, and advertisers)? When we explore the types of behavior that people report doing more of in 2018, we find a variety of responses that might explain the effect. Amongst European consumers:

·        32% report comparing different prices from different stores more often.

·        40% report researching online more often.

·        43% report using the internet to find the products they want more often.

This leveraging of alternate sources of information and search means that people no longer have to read a product description on a manufacturer website, or browse a catalogue at a favorite retailer. Such insights have important implications for marketing strategy, as brands and retailers need to find new ways to play a role in evolving purchase journeys.


Running since 2015, GfK captures with FutureBuy the trends on the market. The syndicated study gives you early visibility of emerging trends that are reshaping shopping. It tracks shopping behavior across 18 categories in key global markets. With access to FutureBuy (via an easy-to-use dashboard), you can get a better understanding of where people are shopping, their habits and attitudes, the devices they use, and even payment and delivery preferences.

If you want to know what your shoppers do and think, get in touch to find out more about the FutureBuy study.