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Tracking the control shift – the consumer view

Posted on: Thursday 2nd of June 2011

We are setting out to track the ‘control shift’ through a tracking survey that will, over time, provide evidence of which changes are unnfolding, where, at what pace, with what impacts and implications. Our initial research is now available and it sets a benchmark to track that progress.

The research is based on a GB representative sample of nearly 1500 consumers surveyed in April 2011. Fieldwork was conducted between 28 April and 5 May 2011, with 1464 adults responding.

After the raw data was collated (data tables are available), Ctrl-Shift analysed the data to draw its conclusions. The analysis looks at decision-making, information management, relationship management and general attitudes to the consumer/supplier balance.

Headline findings

• Consumers tell us they feel better informed about the products they buy; on this front consumers are feeling more empowered.

• There is near-unanimous belief that when it comes to the management of personal data the status quo is undesirable – people want more control of their personal data. On this front, consumers are not feeling more empowered yet.

• In addition, there is no sense of control for our respondents over how suppliers communicate with them.

• Overall, there is a widespread perception that the current balance of power between individuals and organisations is tilted too much in favour of the organisation.

• We found that significant minorities of consumers are very willing to haggle with organisations and to punish them for bad service – and to ‘trade favours’ with organisations that they feel treat them respectfully.

• Under-35s are less likely to feel that the balance of power is tilted too much in favour of large companies but are more likely to exert control in other ways (over a half of 18-24 year olds ‘always’ opting out of receiving marketing communications).

• There is broad support for the 2011 Government’s mydata strategy (which includes ideas such as verified review sites, groups of consumers buying in bulk and companies handing back data for use by individuals).

The research is free to download (though you will have to register) here.