Consumer Promotions Survey: Five Key Findings at a Glance

How do you reach those savvy consumers?

The Savvy Cynics consumer report brought to light some of the biggest factors shaping how – when it comes to promotions – people think and act on the path to purchase.

Shopper behaviour is in a constant state of evolution. From the tough economic climate to the advent of digital technology, there’s no escaping the influences of our modern world.

Time to break out?

With the emergence of the internet as a main driving force behind buying decisions – via brand websites, social media or online forums. Promotional marketers are exposed to a wealth of opportunity to engage with consumers.

Brands must think beyond on-pack or in-store, embracing the numerous digital channels where consumers spend their time, but determining just how to attract a specific audience is a complex trade. So what goes on in the heads of consumers and which trends are emerging as the serial, dominant game-changers for the brand promotion industry?

How should your brand react in 2016 and beyond?

1. Consumers are savvy when it comes to promotions

Over 70% of UK consumers have entered a free prize draw offered by a brand, while nearly 68% have entered a brand competition (Savvy Cynics Report 2016).

Most people have taken part in a sales promotion. In fact, nearly a quarter actively seek them out online. Consumers are engaged when it comes to promotions and the internet has offered up a new avenue of participation.

When 36.5% of consumers believe that promotions are more likely to make them buy a product, the opportunity to influence consumer behaviour is undeniable, but it's up to brands themselves to resonate with their audience, with promotions that give shoppers real incentive.

Digital is very much in evidence in our everyday lives; many shoppers still enjoy more traditional mechanics, and are often wary of sharing too much information. So, consumers are extremely switched on, and somewhat cynical, when it comes to promotions. Thinking outside the box has never been so important.

2. People are big on brand reassurance – but lax about Ts&Cs

The extraordinary rise of social media in the last decade has rung massive changes. However, consumers are reluctant to participate in promotions through their private accounts. Most actually prefer to enter via a brand website.

It remains imperative to provide a website platform with a polished user experience. One which adheres to and fulfils the criteria needed to encourage conscious participation from visiting consumers.

But people are contrary creatures. While the comfort of a branded site is important, 30% of people don’t read the Terms and Conditions of a promotion.

This increasingly passive approach to small print represents consumer assumption – or trust – that brands will deliver honest promotions. Men are the less cautious gender, with 34% of males claiming that they never read T&Cs.

However, it's still essential for brands to detail these thoroughly. Producing two versions – an abridged version and a longer version – can often encourage consumers to engage.

What other nuances do you need to pay attention to? Click below to get your free copy of our consumer insights report...

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3. Vouchers on product packaging win out

There is a lasting appeal in old school methods, with nearly a third of shoppers claiming they would prefer to receive ‘money off your next purchase’ vouchers on the product packaging itself.

On-pack vouchers may reign supreme, but there is variation in what consumers want. 26.85% of survey participants cited paper form as their favourite way to receive an offer, while 22.85% chose email.

Surprisingly, less than 7% of people chose mobile text messages as their preferred means of delivery – though this figure rises to nearly 12% among 18-24 year olds.

While this may seem low, mobile continues its astounding integration into the consumer world. It offers a viable opportunity for brands to develop a method of mobile voucher delivery, in what is an area of exponential growth.


“Making assumptions based on sales figures or what should happen when activity is applied is not enough to gauge critical nuances.”

Savvy Cynics Report 2016
Carey Treville, Managing Director of the Institute of Promotional Marketing

It’s vital for brands to develop a genuine understanding of their niche so they can employ a versatile approach and accommodate for specific consumer needs.

4. Travel is a personal choice

75% of people said that a travel prize would appeal to them, with nearly 20% being drawn to a 'luxury city trip in Europe with spending money'.

Brands don’t have to splash out on adventurous long haul trips to attract consumers. European city breaks hold a strong and enduring appeal. They are also a cost-effective option for brands, as well as being easier to organise in tight timeframes, without complexities such as visas and vaccinations to factor in.

Tastes vary across the UK, with nearly 16% of people in the North West finding a dream holiday or luxury trip appealing as a headline prize, compared to less than 9% in the North East.

Those attracted by a travel prize cover a wide ranging spectrum, with one recipient citing a trip to outer space as their ideal travel prize, and another preferring a camper van tour of the UK.

Considering less prescriptive travel prizes offers a solution to this challenge, such as a ‘dream ticket’, for example, allowing winners to design their own holiday.

5. Fresh Food is the biggest attraction

Health and wellbeing continues to feature as one of the key trends across a number of industries. Constant messages in the media, to eat well and look our best, dominate contemporary lifestyles – sparking a health revolution, spearheaded by the millennial generation.

When it comes to product categories for sales promotions, more than a fifth of consumers ranked fresh food as the promotion baring product they’re most likely engage with. Health and beauty products came a close second, indicating a clear emphasis on nutrition and personal appearance.

Brands offering less health conscious produce such as soft drinks and fast food will need to come up with an answer, fast. Perhaps health-centric prizes are the answer?

The brave and the bold…

Achieving an edge in the sales promotion space is critical. Knowing what makes consumers tick and what drives buying behaviour is essential to getting a campaign right.

Consumers expect convenience when entering promotions and competitions too, but they also demand choice. There is a strong appetite for promotions, but brands need to adapt their behaviour to meet a shift in audience demands. Innovative ideas will ultimately win out in a competitive market. Promotions need to steal the limelight, with relevant, honest offers that give a real sense of value.

Brands that are lazy and presumptuous will not only fail to engage consumers, but risk damaging their reputation. Those that are brave, and strike out boldlywith the knowledge of exactly who their audience is – and what they want – will reap the rewards.

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Free ebook: Savvy Cynics  They're smart, cynical, and thirsty for a bargain! Find out what today's  shoppers are thinking in our 2017-18 consumer insights report. Click to grab yours today!