London, May 24th, 2022 – Research released today from Sitecore®, the global leader in end-to-end digital experience software, reveals stark divides across generations and income brackets when it comes to brand expectations, meaning retailers must deftly personalise their content and marketing to secure sales.

The importance of hyper-segmentation and personalisation

The representative study of 2,000 UK adults surveyed for the Sitecore Brand Authenticity Report reinforces the importance of multi-segmented marketing strategies. 70% of respondents want brands to connect with them on a personal level, and over half (54%) want websites to save their information, offer 1-click check out, and personalise their shopping recommendations.

But when it comes to how consumers want brands to behave, generational attitudes differ. Those under 45 care far more that brands are responsible, caring and in-tune with social issues, while older consumers are more concerned with quality and reliability. This is important because Baby Boomers account for 20% of UK’s population and are the nation’s wealthiest demographic . The Report found:

  • 96% of Gen Z respondents believe it is important that retailers offer more minority-owned products and services. Only 62% of Baby Boomers agree
  • 91% of Gen Z respondents want brands to take a moral stand on issues that arise in society. Only 67% of Baby Boomers feel the same
  • 15% of Gen Z respondents have stopped shopping with a brand because of an affiliation with a politician, political party or influencer that they did not like, compared to only 3% of Baby Boomers
  • 71% of Gen Z would pay more for products and services if they knew that the staff were being well paid, compared to only 54% of Boomers
  • 76% of Gen Z respondents would pay increased prices for a product or service if it was more environmentally friendly compared to only 50% of Baby Boomers

“Retailers have invested millions in organisational change and marketing campaigns to appeal to younger buyers, but in today’s economy can’t afford to overlook Baby Boomers. The majority of this generation have a good grasp of technology, a thirst for engaging life experiences and ample disposable income. To them, quality and reliability rank higher than whether a brand is ethics or values driven,” said Paige O’Neill, Sitecore CMO, “It’s not that Baby Boomers aren’t progressive, it’s that as consumers, they feel a brand should focus on its product and services. This is why personalisation in marketing is so important, because the earning potential of idealistic Gen Z consumers is only going to rise, and brands need to connect with them too.”

Building digital customer experiences that matter

With today’s highly precarious retail environment, brands must step carefully when it comes to the customer experience as the penalty for frustrating customers is high. 71% of UK consumers haven’t gone back to a brand after vowing never to never shop there again.

One attribute that brands can lean into is transparency. 94% of respondents believe it is important for brands to explain and be transparent about price increases. The vast majority (87%) of UK consumers understand that a business may have to pass along additional costs to consumers, and though many (80%) believe companies have made enough profit and should avoid doing so, there is understanding of the struggle business is facing at the moment.

Customers see how hard brands are working, and the investments made over the past two years to cater for a more online customer base have been well received. Over half (54%) of respondents agreed that some of their favourite brands have created a deeper connection with them this year through their online experience. And only 13% have had a negative experience when browsing or shopping on a brand’s website.

Retailers looking to forge stronger relationships with customers should:

  • Illustrate empathy and understanding of what customers need in the moment (valued by 87% of respondents)
  • Provide insightful recommendations (80%)
  • Acknowledge key milestones in their customers’ lives (70%)
  • Remember the actions customers have already taken with the brand such as remembering personal information or not showing them things already purchased (81%)
  • Actively demonstrate their brand values through action (83%)

“Consumers have different expectations from brands than they did two years ago,” continued O’Neill. “We have all been through so many crises, a global pandemic, social injustice, the outbreak of war and currently battling with the cost of living. Many now want brands to bring them closer, build that community and reassure them they share the same values. Those companies that are transparent and personalised in their messaging, respond authentically to challenges, and are not afraid to show support to those who need it most at this moment, will turn their customers into loyal fans.”

Generational split:

  • Gen Z – Born 1997 – 2004
  • Millennials – Born 1977 – 1996
  • Gen X – Born 1965 – 1976
  • Baby Boomers – Born 1946 – 1964
  • Traditionalists – Born 1945 or earlier

About the research
Advanis conducted a survey among 2000 UK consumers, including 220 consumers aged 18-24 and 480 consumers aged 55+. The research was commissioned by Sitecore, reflecting on the ways brands can ‘meet the moment’. The study was conducted April 11 – April 18, 2022.

About Sitecore
Sitecore delivers a digital experience platform that empowers the world’s smartest brands to build lifelong relationships with their customers. A highly decorated industry leader, Sitecore is the only company bringing together content, commerce, and data into one connected platform that delivers millions of digital experiences every day. Leading companies including American Express, ASOS, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oréal and Volvo Cars rely on Sitecore to provide more engaging, personalized experiences for their customers. Learn more at Sitecore.com.

Sitecore is a registered trademark of Sitecore Corporation A/S in the USA and other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.