Epsilon, a multi-channel marketing services company, has revealed findings from the India slice of a 2013 Consumer Loyalty report titled 'No Single Solution; Multiple Opportunities'. The study was commissioned by Epsilon to map consumer expectations and loyalty in Australia, China, India and Japan in Asia Pacific; and France, Germany and the UK in Europe.
The research methodology involved a mix of online and face-to-face interviews, conducted during the third quarter of 2012 (in the APac region). For India, there were 400 respondents, weighted to the age and gender distributions of the population. The agency conducting the research was Ipsos, with 60 per cent respondents from SEC A and B and 40 per cent from SEC C.
TV for marketing messages: Indian consumers across SECs enjoy learning about company information from television. TV is second only to e-mail as the most preferred medium among the affluent and it is the distant winner for consumers of the middle and lower income classes. E-mail is the most preferred channel to receive marketing messages from brands among SEC A consumers (72 per cent); while SEC C is far more attached to TV (80 per cent) and radio (31 per cent).
Perceived value outranks service: The study reveals that perceived value of a purchase outranks service when it comes to driving loyalty among Indian consumers. This contrasts sharply with findings in China and Australia, where after sales service and preferential customer service far more influential for consumers.
Power of word-of-mouth: Word-of-mouth from friends, family and partners/spouses carries more weight than other communication channels across SECs in influencing a purchase decision in India according to the study. Word-of-mouth from co-workers influences about 29 per cent of middle-class and 36 per cent affluent colleagues in their purchase decisions, it finds.
Loyalty grows: Except for travel services, the proportion of Indian consumers identifying themselves as loyal has increased significantly since the 2011 edition of the study. Loyalty when it comes to clothing as a category is up from 45 per cent to 57 per cent, grocery from 47 per cent to 65 per cent, and financial services from 47 per cent to 64 per cent.
Janet Low, client services director, Asia, Epsilon International, said, “The study’s key finding underlines the imperative need for marketers to define the target audience by their media access and let that inform the engagement strategy and consequent mix of media and messages.”
She noted that each SEC class bears variations in their belief systems which influence loyalty. “Indian consumers are highly value-sensitive, value drivers are defined differently depending on the industry. These differences should be accounted for when developing value propositions and messaging strategies,” she added.
On the importance of social media in generating word-of-mouth in India, she observed, “Indian consumers are very social consumers and with word of mouth ranking at an all-time high, marketers should create programs to help consumers share their enthusiasm for a brand."