SUPERMARKETS may have to look again at customer loyalty as research reveals a less than faithful side to shoppers. Robert East, of Kingston University's marketing department, surveyed shoppers who said they were loyal to particular supermarkets based on the fact that they spent a significant proportion of their grocery budgets in that shop. But nearly two years later, more than a third had defected to other stores.
Professor East said that this was because there is no straightforward correlation between the sort of loyalty resulting in a high spend in one particular supermarket and the loyalty that creates long-term fidelity to one supermarket. The behaviour of pensioners seems to confirm this. Professor East found that while they tended to spread their spending over a larger number of stores, perhaps in the search for bargains, they are more likely to stick with those stores over the long term.*
Research papers can be found on the THES Internet site: http//ww.thesis.co. uk.