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  1. National Consumer Agency 2008 Market Research Findings A Report by

  2. Table of Contents • A. Research Background & Methodology • B. Profile of Sample • MAIN FINDINGS: • SECTION 1: Consumer Rights Awareness Levels • SECTION 2: Pricing • SECTION 3: Making Complaints • SECTION 4: Other Consumer Organisations/Bodies • SECTION 5: Switching • SECTION 6: Grocery Shopping • KEY LEARNINGS

  3. B. Profile of Sample – I (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) MAIN GROCERY SHOPPER % % % % 15-17 AB 18-24 Married Male C1 Yes No 25-34 Living as Married C2 35-44 45-54 Single Female D 55-64 E Wid/Div/ Sep F50+ 65-74 F50-

  4. B. Profile of Sample – II – Main Grocery Shoppers (Base: All Mainly Responsible for Grocery Shopping in Home – 528) % % % % 18-24 AB Male 25-34 C1 Married 35-44 C2 Living as Married Female 45-54 Single D 55-64 E Wid/Div/ Sep 65-74 F50+ F50-

  5. B. Profile of Sample – III – Internet Use (Base: All Respondents – 1,003) USE INTERNET EVER PURCHASED ONLINE BANKING ONLINE (Base: All Internet Users - 640) (Base: All Internet Users - 640) Yes Yes Yes No No No

  6. Amárach Research was commissioned in 2008 to continue the programme of research being conducted by the National Consumer Agency with a view to maintaining the considerable momentum gathered throughout 2007-2008 in terms of empowering the consumer. Key to the research is the comparison (where possible) of data collected in previous waves i.e. Benchmark (Nov/Dec 2007) and Wave 1 (Aug 2008) with the current consumer landscape Wave 2 (Nov/Dec 2008), illustrating the impact of the NCA in relevant areas and highlighting areas for further development. The research was conducted by means of face-to-face interviewing with 1,003 people between the ages of 15-74. To ensure that the data is nationally representative, quotas were applied on the basis of age, gender, social class and region. Interviewing was conducted over a 4 week period in November/ December 2008. A. Research Background & Methodology

  7. Summary of Key Findings

  8. The number of Irish consumers claiming to be somewhat confident of their rights as consumers continues to increase by wave on wave of market research– with 3 in 4 now saying that they are somewhat confident. 25-44 year olds continue to be most confident of their rights versus all other age groups, so too do the ABC1 social classes. As with the previous wave, main grocery shoppers are more confident in their rights as a consumer than those not responsible for grocery shopping (78% versus 71%). Evidence of increased perceived knowledge of consumer rights (69%). No major changes from the previous wave as 25-44 year olds are more likely to feel knowledgeable with regards to their consumer rights as are ABC1’s and main grocery shoppers. 7 in 10 feel that they are protected regarding their rights as a consumer - the highest incidence yet. The number of those who don't feel protected has fallen to 1 in 10 this is highest amongst the younger age group (15-24 year olds). Key Findings – I Section 1 – Consumer Rights Awareness Levels

  9. 3 in 4 Irish consumers shop around to some extent when purchasing goods or services. Women are more likely to shop around than men (79% versus 69%), as are those responsible for the main grocery shop (82%). Price is the number one influencing factor in determining where to shop. Just under 2 in 5 Irish consumers believe that they are not getting value for money in Supermarkets and newsagents. Women are more likely than men to say that shops selling clothing and footwear are not giving the Irish consumer value for money (34% versus 29%). Almost 1 in 4 believe that they are getting value for money. 15-24 year olds and those who are not responsible for the main grocery shop are more likely to believe that they are getting value for money. 2 in 3 Irish consumers never use price comparison websites. Those aged 55+ are least likely to do so. 97% of those who use price comparison websites find them somewhat useful. 83% of Irish consumers said that they would be prepared to make a complaint. The younger age group (15-24 year olds) and those not responsible for the main grocery shop would be least likely to complain. Key Findings– II Section 2 – Pricing

  10. Supermarkets and newsagents and shops selling clothing or footwear are places where Irish consumers are more likely to have had reasons to complain or return an item in the last 12 months. Despite having reason to complain, 1 in 4 Irish consumers did not do so. However, more complaints were made in this wave than the previous wave of market research. Of those who complained, 2 in 3 complained to a member of staff, while over 1 in 3 complained to the manager. 3% of Irish consumers complained to the NCA: Men and those aged 15-24 are more likely to have complained to a member of staff. Almost 3 in 5 complaints related to a product being faulty or a product/ service not living up to expectations. Key Findings– III Section 3 – Making Complaints

  11. Of those who have cause or reason to complain, 7 in 10 returned the item: 15-24 year olds were more likely to have returned the item compared to the older age cohorts. Almost 1 in 4 (23%) of Irish consumers who returned an item said that the process was somewhat difficult. 26% of women compared with 18% of men are more likely to say that the process was difficult. The average cost of righting a complaint was 4.2 hours of personal time which is slightly lower than the 4.6 average of the previous wave. 1 in 10 who have complained claim their problem is not yet resolved: Over 1 in 2 (14 people) who’s complaint has not yet been resolved said that they will pursue the problem and not give up until it is completely resolved. Over 1 in 2 felt under stress or worried as a result of their complaint: Women felt under more stress than men (56% versus 48%) whereas C2DE were under more stress than ABC1 (56% versus 48%). 3 in 5 women were worried compared to just over 1 in 2 men (53%). Key Findings– IV Section 3 – Making Complaints – (cont’d)

  12. Almost 2 in 3 who complained about the business or a service/product provided believe they will probably buy from the business again – a marginal increase on the previous wave. The perceived hassle associated with complaining continues to be the number one reason for not complaining – this is true for 1 in 2. This is particularly evident amongst males (52%), C2DE (54%) and those who are responsible for the main grocery shop – 58% versus 42% for those not responsible. Key Findings– V Section 3 – Making Complaints (cont’d)

  13. 42% of Irish consumers have one or more credit cards. Not much change has occurred since the previous wave as just over 1 in 2 say they are comfortable using their card online: Those not responsible for the main grocery shop and those aged 25-44 are more likely to feel comfortable. Switching providers for mobile phones continues to be top of list of providers of which consumers are likely to have switched from before, with 1 in 4 saying they have done so: The 15-24 age cohort are most likely to have switched before. Switching providers in order to get a better deal is the most influential factor as cited by 4 in 5 Irish consumers. Recommendations from friends/colleagues continues to be a key driver of switching for all services. This is particularly true to say for women (60%): Almost 1 in 3 mentioned that they prefer to keep switching their car and home insurance in order to get a better deal – this is particularly evident amongst men and ABC1s for car insurance. A dramatic increase is evident amongst Irish consumers who prefer to keep switching where they do their main and top up grocery shopping in order to ensure they’re getting the best deals. Key Findings– VI Section 4 – Switching

  14. 3 in 4 Irish consumers who had switched providers in the past considered it to be an easy process: The younger age cohort (15-24 year olds) were most likely to say so with just under 3 in 5 saying that it was very easy. As with the previous wave, the main reason for not switching providers continues to be that consumers are already getting the best value for their money from their current provider – this is particularly evident amongst those who are confident and knowledgeable of their rights as a consumer. As with those who have switched providers in the past, switching providers for mobile phones, car insurance and main and top up grocery shop remains at the top of the list for future likelihood of switching – however, all have decreased in likelihood since the previous wave. Key Findings– VII Section 4– Switching (cont’d)

  15. Women are much more likely than their male counterparts to be responsible for the main grocery shop (78% versus 22%). The average amount that Irish consumers are spending on their main grocery shop has increased slightly from the previous wave – with 1 in 2 spending between €100 and €200. The majority of Irish consumers (86%) who are responsible for the main grocery shop claim that they are aware of the prices of everyday goods such as bread, milk, etc. Not much has shifted since the previous wave in terms of buying own brand goods versus regular brand goods – on average just over one third of goods bought by consumers are own brand goods. Location of the store continues to be the most convenient factor when choosing where to do the main grocery shop. Key Findings– VIII Section 5 – Grocery Shopping

  16. Just over 1 in 2 Irish consumers have changed the way in which they shop for groceries since the start of the year – a marginal increase on the previous wave: 25-44 year olds and ABC1s are more likely to have changed their ways. Cutting back and buying less is the main reason to why Irish consumers have changed their shopping habits. 1 in 4 Irish consumers have not changed their shopping habits because they are happy with where they currently shop. Taking more advantage of special offers and using coupons has replaced buying cheaper versions of products as the number one change when carrying out the main grocery shop – this is more evident amongst males (46% versus 35% for females). Almost 2 in 5 Irish consumers believe that convenience stores are more expensive than larger supermarkets. Key Findings– IX Section 5– Grocery Shopping (cont’d)

  17. Section 1: Consumer Rights Awareness Levels

  18. Confidence About Rights as a Consumer (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Level of Confidence % % % Very confident 70% 66% 75% Fairly confident Neither/Nor 21% 18% Not very confident 12% Not at all confident 3 in 4 now claim to be somewhat confident of their rights as consumers, with numbers of those not confident continuing to fall.

  19. Knowledge About Consumer Rights (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Level of Knowledge % % % Very knowledgeable 59% 62% 69% Fairly knowledgeable Neither/Nor 26% 24% Not very knowledgeable 15% Not at all knowledgeable Evidence of increased perceived knowledge of consumer rights.

  20. Protected Regarding Consumer Rights (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Level of Protection % % % Very protected Fairly protected 70% 60% 61% Neither/Nor Not very protected 18% 16% 10% Not at all protected 1 in 10 feel they are not protected with regard to their rights as consumers whereas 7 in 10 feel that they are protected – the highest incidence yet.

  21. Section 2: Pricing *Note: All new questions added in this wave

  22. Shopping Around (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Key influencer in determining where to shop? Comparison of prices % % I always compare/shop around for better prices Price 75% I sometimes compare/shop around for better prices Convenience I very rarely compare/shop around for better prices Service I never compare/shop around for better prices Knowing someone who works there Other Don’t know 3 in 4 assert that they shop around to some extent when purchasing goods or services. Price is the key influencing factor in determining where to shop.

  23. Areas Where Consumers Are Not Getting Value for Money – I (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Primary % % Primary areas consumers feel they are not getting value for money in are supermarkets/newsagents and clothing and footwear.

  24. Areas Where Consumers Are Not Getting Value for Money – II (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Secondary % % Almost 1 in 4 claim that they feel they are getting value for money.

  25. Price Comparison Sites (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Frequency of Using Sites Usefulness of Sites (Base: All aged 15-74 who use sites sometimes/all the time – 226 (22%)) % Not at all useful Very rarely Yes, sometimes Somewhat useful No, never Very useful Yes, all the time Two thirds of consumers never use price comparison websites. Of those who do, 97% find them somewhat or very useful.

  26. Section 3: Making Complaints

  27. Complaining Nation? (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) As a consumer would you be prepared to complain if a problem had occurred or you are dissatisfied with a good or service you have purchased? Yes No General willingness to complain evident amongst Irish consumers.

  28. Goods & Services Purchased in Past 12 Months – I Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Goods & Services Purchased: % Ever Bought 2008 – Wave 2 2008 PRIMARY SECONDARY (-11%)

  29. Goods & Services Purchased in Past 12 Months - II (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 Goods & Services Purchased: % Ever Bought 2008 – Wave 2 2008 (-7%) TERTIARY (-10%)

  30. Goods & Services Bought with Reason to Complain or Return an Item (Primary & Secondary) Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) % With Reason to Complain or Return Ever Reason to Complain/Return from: PRIMARY SECONDARY (+6%) (+5%) 1 in 5 Irish consumers have bought an item in a supermarket/newsagents previously that they had cause to complain or return the item.

  31. Whether Complaint Made When had Reason to Do So (Base: All those who had cause or reason to complain in past 12 months - 386) Whether Made Complaint Reason to Complain No Yes No Yes Despite having reason to complain, 1 in 4 people did not do so. However, this is slightly up on the number of consumers who complained in the previous wave.

  32. Body Complained To (Base: All those who made a complaint in past 12 months - 289) Complained to: Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 Benchmark 2007 – – Two thirds complained to a member of staff, while over one third complained to the manager – a slight increase on the previous wave. Of those who complained to the NCA, 5 people said they were very helpful, 2 people said they were somewhat helpful, and 1 person said that they were not helpful.

  33. Reasons for Complaint (Base: All those who made a complaint in past 12 months - 289) Reasons for Complaint: Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 Benchmark 2007 The majority of complaints related to a product being faulty or a product/service not living up to expectations.

  34. Returning of Items Bought with Reason to Complain (Base: All those who complained in past 12 months - 289) Whether Returned Item Yes No Can’t remember Just over 7 in 10 people returned item about which they had a complaint, a slight increase versus Wave 1 2008.

  35. Assessment of the Returns Process (Base: All who returned an item - 206) Level of Difficulty Experienced  Women are more likely than men to say that the returns process was difficult (26% versus 18%). % % % Not at all difficult 72% 68% 70% Not very difficult Neither/Nor Somewhat difficult 27% 24% 23% Very difficult Almost 1 in 4 people who returned an item described the process of returning that item as at least somewhat difficult.

  36. Type of Difficulty Experienced (Base: All who found the returns process difficult – 47*) The main reason cited for having difficulty during the returns process was due to unhelpful staff. * Caution: small base

  37. Resolution Status of Problem (Base: All those who made a complaint in past 12 months - 289) Whether Complaint Resolved % Completely resolved  95% were satisfied with the outcome Refused/ Not Stated Not resolved at all Partly resolved 1 in 10 people who have made a complaint claim that their problem is not yet resolved either in part or at all. Of these, over 1 in 2 (14 people) said that they will pursue the problem and not give up until it is completely resolved.

  38. Emotional Cost of Problem/Complaint (Base: All those who made a complaint in past 12 months - 289) Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 To what extent have you felt: Total Experience A great deal A little % % % (-31%) (+26%) (-21%) More than half of those who complained felt that they had been under stress, frustrated or worried as a result of their complaint .

  39. Likelihood of Buying Again from Business Complained About (Base: All those who made a complaint in past 12 months - 289) Likelihood to Buy Again Yes No I don’t have a choice Despite having complained about the business or a service/product provided, almost 2 in 3 feel that they will probably buy from that business again – a slight increase on the previous wave.

  40. Reasons for Not Complaining (Base: All those who had reason to make a complaint but didn’t in past 12 months - 97) Reasons for Not Complaining: Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 Benchmark 2007 The most popular reason for not complaining continues to be the hassle that it would involve – almost 1 in 2 cited this reason. Over 1 in 5 didn’t see the point in complaining and a similar number claimed not to have the time. Only 4% claimed they did not complain due to being unsure of their rights as a consumer - a decrease from the previous two waves.

  41. Section 4: Switching

  42. Confidence in Online Use of Credit Cards (Base: All Credit Card Holders – 424 – 42%) Confidence in Online Use of Credit Cards Wave 2 2008 Wave 1 2008 % % Very happy and comfortable 52 % Comfort-able 51 % Comfortable Fairly happy and comfortable Neither/Nor Somewhat nervous/afraid to do so 30% Nervous/ Afraid 27% Nervous/Afraid Very nervous/afraid to do so Not applicable as I don’t have internet access Those who are not responsible for the main grocery shop are more likely to feel comfortable about using credit cards online, as are those aged 25-44.

  43. Extent of Switching Providers – I –Primary & Secondary Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: All aged 15-74 – 1,003) No Yes Switching Providers (-4%) PRIMARY SECONDARY (-5%) As with the previous wave consumers continue to be most likely to have switched mobile phone provider, car insurance provider or where they do their main grocery shop.

  44. Reasons for Switching (Base: All aged 15-74 who switched providers – 545 – (54%)) Switching Providers % To get a better deal is clearly the most influential factor in switching behaviour. With 4 in 5 citing this as their number one reason for switching.

  45. Reason for Switching Providers – I Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: All who switched providers for each service) Switching Providers Switched current a/c bank Fixed line phone Broadband provider Mobile provider (Base: 133 (13%)) (Base: 116 (12%)) (Base: 86 (9%)) (Base: 255 (25%)) % % % % – Recommendations by friends/colleagues continues to be the key driver of switching for all services. Over in 1 in 5 prefer to keep switching mobile phone providers all the time in order to ensure that they’re getting the best deals.

  46. Reason for Switching Providers – II Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: All who switched providers for each service) Switching Providers Health Insurance Car Insurance Home Insurance (Base: 57 (6%)) (Base: 256 (26%)) (Base: 140 (14%)) % % % - Although recommendations from family and friends is the number one influencer when switching insurance providers, almost 1 in 3 mentioned that they prefer to keep switching their car and home insurance all the time to ensure that they’re getting the best deals.

  47. Reason for Switching Providers – III Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: All who switched providers for each service) Switching Providers Main Grocery Shop Top-up Grocery Shop (Base: 212 – (23%)) (Base: 181 – (19%)) % % (+12%) (+13%) Over 2 in 5 are constantly switching where they do their grocery shopping – both top up and main in order to be sure that they are getting the best deals.

  48. Experience of the Switching Process (Base: All who have switched providers - 545) % Very Difficult  Those aged 15-24 are more likely to say that the switching process was easy – with just under 3 in 5 saying that it was very easy. Somewhat Difficult Neither/Nor Somewhat Easy 75% easy Very Easy Not Stated 3 in 4 consumers who had switched providers considered it an easy process – with just under 1 in 2 stating that it was very easy to do so.

  49. Reason for Not Switching – I Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: Those who have not switched for each service) Not Switching Current a/c bank Fixed line phone Broadband provider Mobile provider (Base: 870) (Base: 887) (Base: 917) (Base: 748) % % % % Main reason for not switching continues to be due to consumers getting the best value for money from their current provider.

  50. Reason for Not Switching – II Wave 2 ‘08 Wave 1 ‘08 (Base: All who switched providers for each service) Not Switching Health Insurance Car Insurance Home Insurance (Base: 946) (Base: 747) (Base: 863) % % % Main reason for not switching continues to be due to consumers getting the best value for money from their current provider.