UK Shoppers Are Most Loyal to M&S, Report Finds

Marks & Spencer [M&S] has topped a poll to find out to which clothing brand or retailer U.K. shoppers are most loyal. The high-street stalwart received 12 percent of all mentions in the free vote, ahead of Next (9.6 percent) and third-placed Primark (5.9 percent).

The survey, conducted by apparel fit preference specialist, asked more than 2,000 U.K. adults to identify up to three apparel brands or retailers to which they consider themselves most loyal. The full Customer Loyalty Index "Top 10" is:

Rank Apparel retailer/brand Share of
1 M&S 12.0%
2 Next 9.6%
3 Primark 5.9%
4 Debenhams 5.1%
5 New Look 4.7%
6 H&M 3.9%
7 Asda (George) 3.7%
8 Tesco (F&F) 2.9%
9 Matalan 2.7%
10 ASOS 2.3% has published a full list revealing the Top 35 U.K. retailers named by consumers in its new 30-page report on the survey, "Knowing them, knowing you - shopper perspectives on engagement, loyalty and personalisation in apparel retail."  The report also contains a "Favourites Index" revealing the U.K.'s most popular retailers.  This poll is, likewise, topped by M&S, Next and Primark – but there are dissimilarities throughout the Top 35, with well-known brands notable for either their presence or absence from one or both Top 35s.

The survey comes at a time when clothing retailers and brands believe they are facing a crisis of shopper loyalty; a mid-2014 survey cited 50 percent of fashion retailers as saying that "maintaining customer loyalty" is their biggest challenge.  Yet the diverse range of brands and retailers revealed by the poll to have won shopper loyalty should not be confused with a general lack of inclination to be loyal.

The survey, conducted for the company by polling specialist Redshift Research, found that 71 percent of shoppers consider themselves loyal to either one, two or three clothing retailers or brands; only 16 percent said they were loyal to no clothing retailer or brand.

"While it's clearly very difficult for apparel brands to secure the expressed loyalty of even just one in forty people, as the ASOS share of mentions received clearly illustrates, loyalty itself is very clearly not dead. With all retailers trying to achieve this on a daily basis, this response suggests retailers still need have improvements to make," said Stuart Simms,'s CEO.

"The challenge for every retailer is identifying how they can get to know their customers better and how they can systematically put that knowledge to work across their organisation to enhance customer loyalty and engagement beyond transactions alone. As it stands, even the largest retailers and supermarkets can't assume we'll simply come back next time," he observed.

When asked which factors would most likely improve their loyalty to a retailer, 29 percent of shoppers answered "it stocks clothes that fit my needs and preferences" – the single largest response.

The second most popular driver for loyalty was "it has consistently better quality products for the price than others," with just over one in five shoppers agreeing.

The survey also clarified that over one in five consumers sometimes, often or always find it difficult to find what they are looking for when they are shopping for clothes, while 46 percent always or often find it annoying to search through lots of clothes to find those they want. What's more, 78 percent of respondents agreed that being shown only items that retailers knew would fit them would help them to choose which products to buy.

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