Thought leadership

New research, commissioned by ecommerce partner Webloyalty, into the future of retail has revealed the retail brands in most demand with UK consumers. John Lewis and Primark rank as the top two retailers that consumers would most like to see open in their preferred shopping location.

The report, compiled by retail research specialists Conlumino, found that John Lewis was the most popular brand, with 21.4% of respondents wanting a branch to open in their shopping area. Primark, followed closely behind at 18.3%. Other consistently popular retail brands included Debenhams, H&M and Waitrose.

The most popular two brands, John Lewis and Primark, were the same in almost all regions across the UK, though Debenhams broke their stranglehold in London and Northern Ireland. Whilst the top five in each region were similar, there are interesting variations. Scotland and North East consumers are keen to get their hands on Victoria’s Secret underwear, whilst those in Anglia and Yorkshire want more Cath Kidston prints.  

Apple is in demand across the country, appearing in the top ten for the North West, South West, Wales, the West Midlands and Yorkshire. House of Fraser appeared in the top five for Scotland, the North West, the South East and the West Midlands. Scotland and Wales put Next in their top five, and Zara and Debenhams were among Northern Ireland’s favourites.

The country’s most popular choices illustrate that price itself is not a unifying factor in the British shopping public’s preferences. Instead, what these retailers have in common are factors including value credentials, popular product ranges, and a strong individual identity. The indication is that consumers will engage with a wide range of offers, as long as they provide something above and beyond their competitors, whether that it quality and service (John Lewis, Debenhams, Waitrose) or value and trendiness (Primark, H&M).

Commenting on the research, Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty UK, said: “John Lewis and Primark are British success stories, giving consumers what they want. The findings are clear that both value-focused and more aspirational high-end retailers are in demand. It is those that sit in the middle, such as Marks & Spencer, which are struggling for relevance.”

Neil Saunders of Conlumino added: “In today’s fragmented consumer society, retailers cannot be all things to all men. To be successful, retailers need to build a clear individual identity, targeting specific, discrete groups of consumers, through carefully selected and edited product lines.”

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