Many UK consumers turn to local brands

23 April 2010

LONDON: Many consumers in the UK prefer to buy brands that are made domestically, a trend that has been encouraged by the onset of the financial crisis.

According to a survey by Leapfrog, the market research firm, 75% of shoppers in the country think about the national origins of a brand as part of the purchase process.

More specifically, 26% of consumers suggested that they preferred to "buy British" in order to contribute to the domestic economy.

Elsewhere, 23% of people thought a brand risked losing its identity if it was acquired by a firm based outside of the UK, which could have implications for Cadbury after its takeover by Kraft, the US food giant.

Figures fell to 22% for individuals who opted to purchase goods made in Britain as it gave them a greater insight into the origin of the item concerned.

Some 41% of contributors said foreign ownership meant a product could no longer be described as being British, while goods met this criterion if they were manufactured in the UK for 35% of the sample.

Advertising also played a role in this area, with 12% of respondents suggesting that a brand which reflected the country's history and culture in its communications could be defined as being British.

Hovis, Bisto and Oxo, all of which are owned by Premier Foods, were considered to be the quintessential British brands.

"In an increasingly globalised consumer world, local brands have never been more important, more loved or more popular," Michael Gillane, head of marketing, savoury foods at Premier Foods, said.

"Our research shows that provenance is more important to the UK when the economic climate is tough."

"In the last 24 months there has been a 20% growth in interest in this area, with 59% saying that provenance is a really big issue for them."

By sector, 31% of participants argued the takeover of a British food or drinks company by an overseas rival would have a negative impact on their perception of the domestic organisation concerned.

This total reached 15% for automakers, although Land Rover, which is now part of Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate, was still believed to be a British brand by 39% of the panel.

Women were typically more interested than men about supporting brands that displayed what were considered to be typically British values.

The over-55 year old demographic also placed more emphasis on "buying British" to support the economy than younger consumers, Leapfrog found.

"It's key for marketers to understand the emotional response to Britishness. Making sure that resonates with consumers is really important," Sarah Buckle, research director at the company, said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff