Purchase decisions, brands in politics, retail footfall: 5 interesting stats to start your week

We arm you with all the numbers you need to tackle the week ahead.

Nearly three in five consumers look to online communities to inform their purchases

Almost three in five (57%) consumers look to engage with online communities when making a purchase, according to EY’s Future Consumer Index. Indeed, 61% of consumers report having bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation or promotion.

While online communities may be becoming more influential in informing consumers’ purchase decisions, it seems traditional digital advertising is becoming less so. Just one fifth (21%) report clicking and following an ad on social media.

The research also looked at consumers’ attitudes to online privacy and third-party cookies. Those surveyed reported they find pre-filled shopping carts at checkout (36%), websites tracking user movement (30%) and tailored ads based on browsing/purchase history (22%) all worsen the online shopping experience.

An increasing proportion (61%) of consumers are concerned with ID theft/fraud (up from 55%), while 59% are concerned about data security and breaches (up from 53%) and 54% are concerned about the company they share their data with being hacked (up from 48%).

The research also looks at consumers’ attitudes to loyalty schemes, with almost half (46%) of respondents having redeemed a coupon or voucher they received from a retailer, but only three in 10 (31%) have downloaded a retailer or brand app. Respondents’ preferred loyalty features are free shipping (67%), followed by receiving lower prices in store on selected products (49%).

Source: EY

Consumers divided on brands’ involvement in politics

As a UK General Election approaches on 4 July, consumers are split on whether brands should be involved in politics or not.

Over a quarter (28%) feel it is important that commercial brands are involved in politics, while 41% feel they should stay clear of the topic. Younger consumers are more likely to want brands to be vocal on politics, with over double the number of 18 to 44-year-olds feeling this way compared to the 45 plus group (41% versus 17%).

In terms of general attitudes to the upcoming election, almost half (49%) of UK consumers say they feel downbeat about it, while 37% feel upbeat about the prospect. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the election, with over a quarter (26%) feeling this way.

Younger consumers are more likely to think a potential change in government would affect their spending. Around a fifth (20%) of 18 to 44-year-olds feel their spending would be affected a lot by a change in government. Across all age groups, around one in five consumers say they will pause big ticket purchases to see what will happen in the election.

Source: Havas Media Network

Bank holidays fail to bolster May retail footfall

Total UK retail footfall decreased by 3.2% in May versus the same month last year, as even improving weather and two bank holidays failed to persuade shoppers to make in-person trips to retail destinations.

Retail footfall in May did improve versus the month previous. April saw a 7.2% year-over-year decline in shopper footfall.

In May, shopping centres saw the biggest decrease in footfall, with the number of visits dropping 4.5% year-over-year. Footfall on the high street dropped 2.7%, while retail parks saw a 2.3% decline in visits.

While the footfall figures were up versus a dismal performance in April, the year-over-year decline for May will be disappointing for many retailers.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson called on politicians to commit to action to rejuvenate retail destinations ahead of the General Election.

“A broken business rates system and outdated planning laws are holding back the industry – politicians of all stripes must address these issues,” she said. “This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations.”

Source: British Retail Consortium- Sensormatic IQ

Only 25% of Britons have used a generative AI tool

Just a quarter (25%) of the UK population has used a generative AI tool in their private lives, according to research by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute. This figure falls to 20% for their professional lives.

Even fewer still use a generative AI tool as part of their day-to-day lives. Just 2% of the UK adults surveyed used ChatGPT on a daily basis, with only 29% using it at least once on a monthly basis. For other generative AI tools, like Google Gemini or Microsoft Copilot, these numbers fall drastically to just 7% of respondents using either tool at least once a month.

Name recognition for the large players in the AI space is much healthier, with 58% of the UK population at least having heard of ChatGPT. This is followed by 17% for Microsoft Copilot, Bing AI (also 17%) and Google Gemini (15%). However, 30% of the UK population hasn’t heard of a single generative AI tool.

Some popular generative AI tools, like photo creation tool Midjourney, have a severe problem with brand recognition. Just 8% of UK consumers are able to recognise the name Midjourney, while X’s (formerly Twitter) Grok tool is even less well known, with just 4% of UK respondents having heard about it.

Source: Reuters Institute

UK public views misinformation as more concerning than AI-generated content

The UK public has a higher level of concern about misinformation online than it does the prevalence of AI-generated content.

According to a recent YouGov survey conducted with 2,000 UK adults, 81% of respondents expressed concern about the trustworthiness of online content, compared to 73% who are concerned about the prevalence of AI-generated content.

Respondents are also concerned about digitally altered content, with 76% reporting apprehension about photoshopped images and edited videos.

However, the YouGov data reveals that while two-thirds (67%) of consumers show concern about misinformation from AI-generated content, a larger segment (75%) perceive digitally altered content, such as deepfakes, as a strong contributor to misinformation.

YouGov also found opinions are divided about labelling AI-generated content. Half of the respondents (50%) believe labels would be effective in reducing the spread of misinformation from AI-generated online content, while 29% find them ineffective.

This mirrors the situation with digitally altered content, where again 50% believe labels are helpful and 29% disagree.

Source: YouGov