Search Results for:

The Rise of Green Consumerism: What do Brands Need to Know?

Environmental degradation is hitting the headlines lately. News articles and documentaries around rising seas, declining air quality and shrinking animal populations are more common than ever – and they’re beginning to cut through.

A couple of moments stand out in particular. In Australia, it was the War on Waste TV program, while in the UK, David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series sparked a cultural shift around plastic consumption.

Sales of reusable coffee cups and water bottles took off, plastic straws were banned in many bars and restaurants, and brands like Evian and Coca-Cola promised packaging made from recycled materials.

The impulse to “go green” is clearly gaining momentum. According to a recent bespoke study we carried out in the UK and America:

Half of digital consumers say environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions.

There’s a difference between intention and action, but brands could miss out on a big group of consumers if their green credentials aren’t up to scratch.

Millennials are leading the way.

From free-range meat to vegan skincare products, millennials are regularly considered to be the ones driving the sustainable movement with their lifestyle and behavioral changes.

Often coined the “Green Generation”, many brands are starting to see the appeal and opportunity in these changes. UK sandwich chain Pret A Manger now has three all-vegetarian outlets, for example, while L’Oréal has unveiled its first vegan hair color range.

Our global data shows firm evidence for this. Millennials (aged 22-35) are more likely than any other generation to say that they would pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products.

Over 60% say this, compared to 55% of Gen X (aged 36-54) and just 46% of baby boomers (aged 55-64). Gen Z are hot on their heels, though, and figures for this generation are only likely to grow as its members’ disposable income grows.

And it’s important to note that if millennials are more conscious than ever about their purchases reflecting their beliefs and values, and Generation Z is close on their trail, a long-term change is most likely taking place.

Where does the responsibility lie?

As a society, we now have a level of understanding of the damage being done by our “throwaway” culture. But whose responsibility is it to initiate change?

The consumers we surveyed in the UK and U.S. admitted they felt most responsible for the future of the planet, but 52% believed responsibility lies with manufacturers or production bodies.

The responses we’ve seen so far from the biggest brands are a step in the right direction, but there are still huge amounts of consumer goods out there that rely excessively on plastic material.

This invariably means consumers are faced with less choice in their ambition to ‘go green’.

We see evidence for this in our UK and U.S. data. Although high proportions choose reusable bags, bottles and recycle, just 34% of those surveyed actively avoid products that are harmful to the environment, like plastic straws or cutlery.

For brands, this represents an opportunity to focus on the solutions that can be made to our plastic problem.

Stainless steel straw producers Turtle Savers is one brand to emerge following the revolt against single-use plastics. As bars and restaurants began banning plastic straws, a lucrative gap in the market was left for them to capitalize on. Other brands need to follow suit and work to provide consumers with alternatives to plastic products.

CPG brands face the bulk of the pressure.

CPG brands, in particular, will face increasing pressure and expectation to initiate change. When determining the “greenness” of different product categories, consumers are most likely to research cleaning and personal care products.

In part, this could be down to the assumption that eco-friendly products are more natural and better for their health, which is also likely to be why food is highly researched.

62% of eco-conscious consumers in the UK and U.S. believe eco-friendly products are better for their health.

For household products, in particular, there’s been a recent movement away from products that contain harsh chemicals following reports that many household products have toxic chemicals linked to health problems.

Unilever has been quick to capitalize on this trend and is reaping rewards as a result. Earlier this year, the company revealed that its ‘sustainable living’ brands grew faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth.

And for the first time in 20 years, it’s decided to roll out a new personal care brand, Love Beauty and Planet – an eco-conscious brand that’s vegan-friendly and uses bottles made from recycled plastics.

Ultimately, it’s not just PR reasons why the biggest brands should be thinking green; there are financial gains to be had too.

Fast fashion could come under scrutiny soon.

With plastic waste currently at the center stage, it’s logical that CPG brands experience most of the pressure at the moment. Consumers aren’t as considerate when buying products from other categories, like electronics and travel, mainly because the environmental impact of these products hasn’t had the same amount of publicity.

Less than half of eco-conscious consumers research clothes, shoes and bags before buying them.

In reality, the fashion industry, in particular the low-cost, high-volume fast-fashion retailers, is one of the biggest culprits. Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste are just some of the costs to the environment that result from our love of fast fashion. But consumer awareness around the environmental impact of fashion is still relatively low.

It’s easy to see how one documentary or news story could seriously shake up attitudes, just as it did with our reliance on plastic.

Sustainability is still yet to majorly hit the agendas of most fast-fashion brands. H&M talks about sustainability more than most others in the market, but there are plenty of other brands who are yet to join them.

What we know for sure is that the environment needs to be at the top of every business’s agenda. Over the coming year, the pressure to be green is set to expand into new product categories, and brands need to start seeing this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

As we saw with Unilever, there are financial benefits to be had beyond just good PR. But to fully realize the true potential of the green market, businesses must help consumers change their behaviors.

And that requires removing the hurdles between would-be green consumers’ intentions and actions.

What to Know about the Online Dating Landscape in 2018

Online dating has become an integral part of digital lives since it emerged in the mid-1990s.

Today, 41% of online singles globally have used online dating apps or sites within the past month.

Overall, it’s one of the most popular activities online – on par with Skyping and listening to podcasts.

More men than women are dating online.

At 65% of the user base, men outnumber women almost 2 to 1 as the biggest online daters.

Most growth in the online dating market seems to be coming from location-based dating apps, like Happn and Badoo, which have crept up slowly from 7% monthly usage to 13% in the past three years.

On the other hand, paid-for online dating services have flatlined, as illustrated in our latest infographic taking an in-depth look at the global online dating landscape.

75% of online daters are under the age of 30.

Acceptance and adoption aren’t universal though. As expected, younger people make up the majority of online daters:

75% of online daters are under the age of 30, and 90% are under 40.

Among singles who use the internet, online dating peaks at the age of 25.  This audience is truly global too, especially throughout emerging markets.

Populations in these markets are generally younger, but the greater popularity holds up even after taking age differences into account.

This means dating apps face larger implicit competition from other sources of socializing – dating-led or not.

But it also reveals the potential to integrate with social media platforms, which we’ve already seen with Facebook announcing it was trialling a dating app.

6 in 10 singles aren’t dating online.

Six in 10 singles aren’t dating online – some because they ‘aren’t on the market’, others because they wouldn’t be inclined to use an online dating service.

This implies that there are personal circumstances and traits that set online daters apart.

We see a cultural effect on a regional level: Overall, online dating is much more popular in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, perhaps because these markets are mobile-first in nature, compared to Europe where we see a greater degree of digital conservatism.*

Regional differences only begin to scratch the surface.

Specific market-level effects around marriage and dating culture seem to have a greater impact.

Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have online dating percentages in the 20-30s, whereas almost half of singles under 35 in Denmark and Sweden have used online dating in the past month.

The contrasts in the Asia-Pacific region are even starker: Countries like South Korea and Japan have massively lower rates of online dating among younger singles than neighboring China, where 52% of all singles have used some form of online dating in the past month.

Online dating is linked to cultural norms.

One of the few factors that can explain the difference in online dating adoption among similar age groups on a global level is the average age for first getting married in each country.

Broadly speaking on a national level, lower average age at first marriage is associated with a higher prevalence of online dating among 16-34 year olds, at least among the online populations in the 37 markets which we collect this data from.

There’s a clear connection between the share of the online population who say ‘family is the most important thing in their lives’ and the prevalence of online dating, as the chart below shows.  

This reflects how marriage and family values are linked to the importance of finding a partner in the sub-30s segment who dominate online dating.

For those looking for a long-term partner, apps like Baihe, which boasts 100 million users in China, can facilitate this kind of relationship-focused online dating.

Baihe is built around ‘purposeful dating’ – users enter information on property and car ownership, educational qualifications, employment details, and household registration, as reported in Technode, to find suitable partners.

37% of online daters say technology complicates life.

There’s a bold streak in the value statements that younger online daters tend to agree with.

They’re more prone to describing themselves as risk-takers, though this is common in younger audiences (54% vs 48%), and to be seen as adventurous by others (52% vs 45%).

We can’t attribute it to their experiences with online dating, but they’re somewhat more likely than non-daters of their age to see technology as something that complicates life – 37% agree.

Nevertheless, most online daters (62%)agree that the internet makes them feel closer to people. In the 18-30 age groups, online daters are more likely to visit cinemas, drink alcohol, and eat out at restaurants at least twice a month.

They’re keen on keeping up their self image, too – 54% say like to keep up with the latest fashions.

Online dating isn’t replacing the offline connection.

This reflects something crucial: Online dating isn’t replacing any kind of offline connection or behavior, at least not for the cohort as a whole. The closeness they feel the internet is giving them reflects on their offline behavior, which is more social than their age group would imply.

They’re dating, they’re open to experiences, and they’re leading an active lifestyle.

As long as online dating apps can tap into their users’ social and lifestyle needs, and continue to inspire the purposeful, offline-driven experiences, they’ll be well-positioned for a second, third and fourth date with the world’s online singles.

 

Unless elsewhere stated, results are based on the Q2 2018 wave of fieldwork which included 11,425 online daters. Respondents in the Middle East-Africa region not included.

Insight for SMEs: Finding the Right Marketing Message for your Audience

Arguably the most crucial part of a marketing campaign is the messaging it uses.

Why? Because no matter how amazing your campaign is, or what channels you use to promote it, if it doesn’t resonate with the consumers you’re trying to reach, it won’t work.

So how do you shape that perfect message?

Speak to the right people.

While the message itself is the key part of your campaign, it needs to reach the right consumers to have the impact you want.

In order to make sure you’re speaking to the right people, use deep consumer insight to:

  • Validate your targeting and find out more about your consumers and their brand preferences.
  • Segment them based on not only demographic data, but attitudes, behaviors and opinions.
  • Look at their online presence and the motivations behind their social channels of choice to determine where they spend their time and why.

Once you have this information, you can begin to craft a marketing message that originated from the consumers you’re looking to target, and is sure to be placed in front of the right eyes.

Know the value of tone.

But it’s not enough to know who to speak to, you have to know how to speak to them. Tone of voice is absolutely crucial to a marketing message, and should be based on truth.

Your tone should always reflect the people you’re speaking to.

And with deep consumer insight, you have all the information you need to nail down the language that will resonate with your target audience.

Use it to prove to consumers that you understand them completely, share their passions and attitudes, and can solve whatever issue or need they have.

Forget jargon and being witty – in today’s climate, consumers want brands to be authentic and as personalized as possible.

And when you know people in granular detail, you know how they want brands to communicate with them.

Get out of your ‘safe space’.

No one ever created something new and special by adhering to tradition.

And no one ever revolutionized their marketing by saying, ‘this is how we’ve always done things.’

SMEs have certain freedoms many larger establishments don’t, such as the opportunity to try out new ideas and seeing what actually works.

And when you have truly detailed market research to back up and generate your ideas, you already know they have potential – after all, your target consumers are telling you so.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and, once you have, look to the data to take an idea to its fullest potential.

Look past budget limitations.

A great marketing message is worth every penny.

And while a traditional campaign using billboards, TV spots and high-tech programmatic solutions might be costly, a hard-hitting marketing message can be borne out of pure creativity and the insight to back it up.

67% of UK SMEs did decide to increase their marketing budget in 2018, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got all you need to make the campaign of your dreams come to life.

Combining great ideas with deep insight will lead to unexpected opportunities, and enables you to look past budget limitations.

For example, if your research unearths that the majority of your target consumers spend their time on Instagram, you can focus your social presence on that channel and save your spend elsewhere.

It’s an optimized, hyper-targeted strategy like this that ensures your message is in the right place, at the right time.

Messages that Worked

While these campaigns may not be from small or medium-sized companies, they prove the power of a message that not only complements the brand, but resonates beyond simply getting products off shelves.

They show that the success of a marketing message doesn’t necessarily lie in a huge budget or years of tradition – it lies in knowing what your consumers will respond to, and why.

Always: Like a Girl

The message: Encouraging girls everywhere to embrace failure and keep going.

Why it worked: Research by the feminine hygiene brand found that, at puberty, 50% of girls feel paralyzed by the fear of failure, and 80% feel a social pressure to be perfect.

With girls and women as its core audience, the brand now champions a message of empowerment and authenticity to appeal to girls from all backgrounds, in multiple countries.

L’Oréal: The Beauty Squad

The message: Our social media influencers are authentic and genuine – just like you.

Why it worked: The beauty brand found that while influencer marketing was a key element of their strategy, investing in celebrity personalities was ringing hollow with young audiences.

Focusing instead on ‘real’ micro-influencers, it responded to consumers’ appreciation of more authentic brand experiences, advocating the brand through influencers its audience could truly relate to – and spending less money doing so.

REI: Opt Outside

The message: Don’t buy into consumerism – go out into nature and enjoy your spare time.

Why it worked: Bucking the tradition of focusing marketing efforts on enticing customers to its stores for Black Friday, U.S. outdoor clothing retailer, REI, opted for an empathetic strategy instead.

Choosing to close all its stores on the biggest retail day of the year, it encouraged its customers to spend the day outdoors instead, rather than joining the bargain queues.

The campaign embodied the brand’s deep understanding of its target customers, who would rather be hiking, walking or cycling than shopping, and its fearlessness in trying something not only different, but potentially risky.

Huggies: Leave No Baby Unhugged

The message: All babies need and have a right to physical contact.

Why it worked: Huggies, a challenger brand competing with the likes of diaper giant Pampers, turned to an emotionally-charged message to resonate.

Finding proof that hugs “help stabilize babies’ vital signs, build immune systems, ward off illness, and improve brain development”, the brand went on a mission to leave no baby unhugged.

The resulting campaign was carried out in hospitals, educating new mothers on the importance of skin-to-skin contact and ensuring that the hospitals had volunteer ‘huggers’ available for babies in need of them.

It proves the power of thinking outside the box and looking for success and awareness beyond your own products.

Rethinking “Trust” in a New Era of Data Privacy

In 2018, we witnessed a groundbreaking shift in the way we think about data, privacy and brand trust.

The culmination of high-profile corporate privacy scandals and new wide-sweeping data legislation has forced consumers to get to grips with their digital footprints. It’s compelled companies to confront and re-evaluate what’s at stake concerning commercial data collection and processing.

It’s also coincided with a sense of fatigue and disillusionment with contemporary online marketing techniques that has begun to boil over.

While ad-blocking tools may have mitigated some of this disillusionment, they have increasingly and indiscriminately hacked away at vital revenue streams in companies that rely on online advertising.

Together with pressure from declining print advertising revenues, the spread of ad-blocking tools has led many organizations to look towards pursuing new subscription-based business models to mitigate against the threat.

The dawn of new forms of advertising.

New smartphone-enabled advertising formats offering more compelling and personalized ad experiences have also gained momentum.

These promise to remedy the irrelevant and overabundant forms of advertising which brought about the spread of ad-blocking in the first place. But these tech-driven ad formats often require access to potentially sensitive information, such as location data or a user’s camera or contacts.

While they may hold the potential of personalizing the brand-consumer relationship, these new ads face an even stauncher challenge in encouraging consumers to share the kinds of data the formats need to have an impact.

The gravitas surrounding this turning point in the data privacy landscape is clearly embodied in the GDPR, enacted on May 25th under the EU.

But this is only the start.

Having a global reach, the GDPR has shifted the balance of power towards the consumer, leading to new perspectives on consumers’ right to share or withhold data online.

Consumers are more privacy-aware, but still don’t feel in control.

Despite much of the high-profile privacy-related events of the last 12 months stemming from Europe and North America, privacy concerns are rampant across all of our tracked markets.

From this perspective we can see that internet users in many markets are more worried about how companies are using their personal information than the impact the internet has on personal privacy and security in general.

Latin American consumers are particularly worried about how companies use their personal information, and along with internet users in APAC are also among the most concerned about the internet eroding their personal privacy.

In light of recent events, we recently conducted a special study in the UK and U.S. to gauge the current consumer sentiment towards the modern data privacy landscape. We found that the last 12 months have had a profound impact on how internet users in the UK and U.S. perceive their online footprint.

72% in these markets say they’re more aware of how companies collect and use their personal data than they were 12 months ago.

Interestingly, U.S. consumers (73%) were more likely than those in the UK (65%) to agree with this statement, which is likely a result of U.S. consumers being particularly affected by the privacy scandals still circulating in the nation’s media.

But it’s also highly likely that the GDPR has increased this awareness, especially given the attention that it has received in the U.S.

California has implemented its own regulation modeled after the GDPR, and Vermont has enacted a law to improve accountability in data sharing between companies. As this movement paves the way for more U.S. states to follow suit, tech companies have been quick to lobby the White House against introducing nationwide models based on the GDPR or the California Privacy act.

This increased awareness of how companies collect and use data online has done little to alleviate concerns over online privacy more generally.

In fact, 70% of internet users in the UK and U.S. are now more concerned about their online privacy than they were 12 months ago. It’s also very telling that less than half say that they feel in control of their personal data online, putting this significantly below the other options in our chart.

With such a discrepancy between being aware of data sharing and feeling in control of it, it’s clear companies must now focus on building genuine relationships with consumers to close the gap.

Trust is at the heart of online brand-consumer relationships.

To build these consumer relationships, trust has become an absolutely fundamental part of any brand proposition.

The GDPR mobilized companies all around the world to be upfront with consumers, and allow them more control over which data they share.

Within this new digital landscape, company reputations hinge on their trust and transparency credentials over personal data. Despite this, not every corporate response has sided with the consumer. For example, many U.S. news sites that aren’t compliant with the GDPR are still not available to EU citizens.

The majority of consumers in the UK and U.S. (64%) do believe sharing personal data online can be beneficial to them. But as many still don’t feel in control of their data online, companies that don’t demonstrate respect for personal information will soon lose credibility and stand out from those that do.

This is an important consequence of the events in the last 12 months. Trust is now not only a major commodity for companies, but also a central component in their ability to compete.

Mapping the data-driven trust deficit.

While consumer confidence in online marketing has clearly been impacted by recent privacy scandals and the GDPR, it’s important to understand whether these concerns have saturated other online industries too.

When we asked internet users in the U.S. and UK to rate different online industries by their level of trust, we can see how online retailers enjoy an extremely positive reputation.

60% of consumers trust online retail services with handling their personal data. This is the only sector in our chart in which the highest consumer trust rating outscores all other ratings. For every other sector, consumers are most likely to say they’re undecided on their trust levels.

Music and video streaming services also enjoy a strong trust reputation among these internet users. And, despite the apparent disillusionment with the online advertising industry manifested in the ad-blocking trend and recent cases of tech companies scanning emails to inform ad targeting, search engines and email services also have positive reputations.

From this perspective, we can see the social media industry still suffers from its association with online privacy scandals.

Compared to the other industries in our chart, consumers are most likely to say that they don’t trust a social media service with their personal information, at 1 in 3. That said, another 1 in 3 do trust a social media service with their data, with the strong majority saying they’re undecided. So while this industry may be fighting back to recover its credibility and reputation, it seems consumer opinion is largely open to improvements.

Our data tells us it’s primarily older consumers who remain unconvinced of social media’s trust credentials.

Almost half of 45-64s say they don’t trust social media services with their personal information.

Despite this cohort being more untrusting of all of the listed industries, their skepticism is much more pronounced for social media.

Looking at how competitive the social media landscape is, it’s clear that trust is crucial when winning over new members and retaining existing user bases.

We know from our wider research that 32% of all users in the UK and U.S. say they have deactivated or closed a social media account in the past 12 months. 45% of consumers in these markets have also made a conscious effort to decrease their daily time spent on social media in the last 12 months. It’s easy to see why this data-driven trust deficit in the social media industry may have been a contributing factor to the decline in engagement.

Facebook and its associated platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram, may compose a significant share of the social media landscape, but the likes of Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube have all ramped up their own offerings and functionalities to rival Facebook Inc.

As various functionalities are similar across many social platforms, thanks to the major networks drawing inspiration from each other in a bid to stay competitive, trust will be a deciding factor for many consumers as they choose which platform to turn to for certain activities.

What is the true value of personal data?

A common theme across many commentaries surrounding the ad-blocking debate has been the need for consumers to understand that there’s a value exchange to be made in online advertising. In this exchange, consumers supposedly relinquish some personal information and are rewarded with advertising which is relevant, targeted and meaningful.

However, this conventional idea is beginning to look redundant, at least from the consumer’s perspective.

The past 12 months have clearly demonstrated the value online companies place on consumer data, and the lengths they’re willing to go to acquire it. In light of this, consumers are now beginning to rethink the true worth of their personal information, and what this means for the idea of a value exchange between brands and themselves.

When we asked consumers what would most motivate them to share their personal data with companies online, having trust in a company (53%) and having the ability to access and delete the data (46%) were the most important factors across all of the demographic breaks.

But beyond these prerequisites to data sharing, younger age groups tend to look at their personal information as more of an asset, placing a much stronger emphasis on getting something out of sharing their data with companies online. As many companies scramble to present themselves as trustworthy in a post-GDPR landscape, consumers now have more bargaining power with their data and many are keen to take advantage of this.

When we isolate the motivations which entail any type of value exchange, sharing data in return for more personalized marketing is the least important. In fact, this is the least important motivation in our chart overall across every age bracket, and by some distance.

Brands now need to think more creatively about how to entice consumers to share their data.

Having seen the value of their personal data, some consumers are turning to services which make explicit the value of their data by exchanging it for services or even monetary rewards.

Our data shows that, mainly among younger age groups, there’s an appetite for this form of value exchange. For example, almost a third of 16-34s say that they would share their data with a company online if that data could be exchanged for free access to content or services.

Why personalized ads are still crucial.

Even if personalized advertising and product recommendations no longer define the value exchange in online advertising, the ability to deliver relevant and engaging advertising remains crucial.

Technology companies have been very vocally concerned about the impact the GDPR and similar privacy regulations have on their ad tech capabilities. But having to “unambiguously” opt-in to data sharing agreements may not completely undermine the viability of ad tech in delivering quality and relevant ads.

As we mentioned earlier, the majority of consumers do believe data sharing can be beneficial to them, and almost 2 in 3 recognize sharing personal data online is a necessary part of the modern digital landscape. Even in markets like LatAm where we see the strongest concerns over how companies are using their personal data, internet users are among the most likely to discover brands via personalized purchase recommendations on websites, at 20%.

For consumers, one of the most fundamental ways a company can prove their data collection is “trustworthy” is by being transparent about the purpose behind it; more than half in the UK and U.S. say this.

In any case, whether they’re relying on personal data for their ad campaigns or if they’re one of many companies reviving contextual ads in the wake of the GDPR, online companies must begin thinking in terms of transparency-by-design to secure consumer trust.

How is the Regulation of Energy Drinks Impacting Consumer Choice?

Energy drinks are a staple for many adults and adolescents in the UK, but this could be set to change.

In late August, the UK government began a public 12-week consultation to discuss banning the sale of energy drinks to adolescents under the age of 16 or 18 following concerns over their impact on health and obesity.

The ban would apply to all drinks containing at least 150mg of caffeine per liter.

Previous studies have shown that more than two thirds of UK teenagers are drinking energy drinks, 50% more than the EU average for their age group.

In a bespoke study, we surveyed 1,000 UK internet users aged 16-64 to explore their attitudes towards energy drinks and whether the proposed regulation would have any impact on energy drinkers’ perception or consumption of these drinks. Here’s what we found.

How many people are consuming energy drinks?

Energy drink consumption is considerably high.

Over 50% of people in the UK drink energy drinks, with more men consuming them than women.

The most popular energy drink brands for both men and women in order of preference are Lucozade (65%), Red Bull (61%) and Monster (45%).

They’re also consuming energy drinks frequently, with over 40% drinking them 2-3 times a week or more.

They’re mostly drinking them for the energy boost.

Energy drinks serve a functional purpose, helping people get through their busy days.

The majority of people consume these  drinks for the energy boost (57%), which makes sense considering their high caffeine content, and 35% drink them if they know they have a long day ahead.

Notably, 12% of men drink energy drinks because they believe they’re good for them – almost double that of women, showing a contrast in perception of energy drinks across gender.

A niche for men is health and fitness.

1 in 5 men consume energy drinks before or during the gym.

More men aged between 16-24 are doing this than any other age group.

Again, this reinforces the main motivation of functionality for drinking energy drinks, with a need for stimulation before doing a specific activity.

Our data also shows that 1 in 4 energy drinkers use energy drinks as a mixer for alcohol.

Of those who say they drink them before or during the gym, 28% say they use them as a mixer for alcohol.

This demonstrates that people who are into health and fitness also consume energy drinks recreationally.

People who don’t consume energy drinks believe they’re unhealthy.

For those who don’t consume energy drinks, the primary reason they avoid them is because they think energy drinks are unhealthy (59%).

By age, we can see that the highest percentage of people who think they’re unhealthy are aged between 25-34 (64%).

Across all ages, however, over 55% think they’re unhealthy, signifying that they feel similarly regardless of how old they are.

On a gender level, more women than men think they’re unhealthy.

This is closely followed by over half who say it’s because they’re too sugary and over 1 in 4 non-energy drinkers say they’ve heard bad things about them.

It’s hard to escape the negative press surrounding sugar. When we asked people to use one word to describe energy drinks, over half of them chose the word “sugary”.

High sugar consumption and its subsequent impact on health is well broadcasted, and as a result many brands, not just energy drinks, are feeling the pressure to offer healthier alternatives.

Energy drinkers feel the ban won’t change anything.

Awareness of the proposed regulation is high, with over 3 in 4 people saying they’ve heard about it.

When we ask energy drinkers about their views on the regulation, more than a third believe the ban won’t make a difference (37%) and a similar amount (36%) think it’s more the responsibility of the parents to regulate their children’s diets.

Those who don’t consume energy drinks also feel the same.

This is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, a significant number believe the ban is not going to change anything.This might be because adolescents can still get access to drinks in hard-to-regulate settings, such as at home if parents buy them.

10% of parents say their child’s energy drink consumption levels will stay the same if the regulation is passed.

Also, adolescents may just switch to alternative caffeinated and sugary drinks such as coffees and sodas.

Finally, there appears to be a strong belief that responsibility should sit with the parents, not the government or brands, to monitor what their kids buy and don’t buy – in contrast to the main aim of the regulation.

Still, a significant amount of energy drinkers believe that the ban will help keep the nation healthier and can see the benefits of it (31%), and 27% think it can help reduce obesity rates in the UK.

Consumption levels may not be affected.

If the regulation is passed, the majority of adult energy drinkers say that their consumption levels won’t change (76%).

This suggests that regardless of any possible health impacts, they’re happy consuming energy drinks and will continue to do so.

This reinforces the main reason for why they drink energy drinks in the first place – it serves a functional need.

That said, almost 1 in 5 energy drinkers say they will consume fewer energy drinks if the regulation is passed.

When we look at this by age, we see that energy drinkers aged between 16-24 are more inclined to say they will drink less.

Correlating with the conversation around the ban and reasons for introducing it, their main motivations for drinking less is to lead a healthier lifestyle overall and to reduce their caffeine intake.

What could this mean for brands?

If the ban comes into effect, it’s likely that energy drink brands will face losses if they can no longer sell to adolescents, a key target audience for many of these brands.

Having said this, from our data we see that the majority of adult energy drinkers will continue drinking them regardless.

The main challenge facing brands is how they position themselves in light of the regulation, if it comes to pass.

Key questions to consider include:

  • How can these brands best manage their brand image?
  • How can they change the perception of non-energy drinkers who think they’re unhealthy or those who say they might drink less?
  • What kind of impact could the regulation have on other industries like soft drinks or alcohol?

Innovation is key.

Innovation in positioning and marketing is central to moving forward.

Many consumers care strongly about health and fitness and this often impacts their food and drink decisions.

In their biannual attitudes tracker, The UK Food Standards Agency found that sugar is now consumers top food concern, overtaking price.

An example of a brand that’s tackling this issue is Coca Cola – who have homogenized their Coke Zero Sugar design to look more like Coke Original, which forms a part of their commercial strategy to push more people towards their sugar-free variety.

Brands need to consider alternative ways of positioning their products that will better fit consumers demands. If they don’t listen to consumers needs and act quickly, they risk falling behind.

Has the GDPR Delivered on its Promise?

In May, when the GDPR came into effect, over 3 in 4 UK consumers thought it would have a positive impact.

A large majority also described the legislation as being extremely or very important to them, ensuring companies are held accountable for any misuse of their data.

Four months on, internet users have become accustomed to seeing a wide range of privacy notices, consent boxes and other GDPR-related information online.

But has the initial positivity persisted? Are UK consumers happy with how companies have implemented the GDPR’s requirements?

1 in 10 think the GDPR has had a negative impact.

To gauge the current mood, we conducted a survey on over 1,300 UK internet users aged 16-64.

The results will make uncomfortable reading in some boardrooms, suggesting the GDPR hasn’t (yet) delivered on its promise to empower consumers.

Only 3 in 10 agree that the GDPR has had a positive impact on their day-to-day internet usage (with absolute consistency in this metric across all age and gender groups).

Meanwhile, almost 1 in 10 think it’s actually had a negative impact.

Over half also don’t think it’s had any impact at all, and some 10% still remain unaware of the GDPR.

This relative lack of enthusiasm revealed itself  once again when we asked consumers if they believed the GDPR has been effective in protecting their data – a view that just 3 in 10 would endorse.

Consumers are frustrated with lengthy privacy policies.

To understand why the GDPR hasn’t yet managed to shift the needle, we drilled down into the frustrations that people feel about it.

Top of the list are lengthy privacy policies and notices (39%), something which internet users are now faced with on a daily basis.

Similarly annoying are forced consent mechanisms (38%), as well as the constant need to give consent to multiple websites (37%).

Annoyance over long notices and policies rises directly in line with age, peaking at almost 50% among 55-64s.

In contrast, it’s the youngest groups who are most concerned about websites using their data in unexpected ways, and are frustrated with having to contact multiple partners separately in order to opt out.

The problem isn’t the legislation, but the implementation.

The research reveals these frustrations are not the result of the GDPR legislation itself, but how companies have chosen to implement their compliance strategies.

Some of this can be attributed to (understandable) corporate caution: every company wants to make sure it’s adhering to the requirements of the legislation, and some have perhaps unintentionally gone a little further than would be strictly required.

Even so, most of us will have seen instances where extremely consumer-unfriendly approaches have been adopted – from extensive lists of partners who need to be contacted individually to websites that lock the user out, unless wholesale consent is given.

Currently, there are too many instances where the user has to jump through hoops to make sure their voices are being heard, and/or where they’re not being given a truly free choice over how their data is being used.

Putting consumers first.

Looking at current consumer sentiment, we have to wonder how long such approaches will be allowed to persist.

The GDPR’s intention was (and is) to put the consumer first.

With our results showing this hasn’t yet been achieved, surely the burden rests on companies to adopt more consumer-centric approaches which quickly and easily allow consumers to express their preferences.

Without such a shift, too many consumers will continue to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed, and legislators might feel compelled to take further action.