Brand loyalty is largely influenced by habit, according to a study conducted by Australian-based consumer insight group BrandHook.

In its Rituals Report, BrandHook surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 46% of respondents indicated that their daily habits drive their shopping choices.

"Our behavior is ritualistic and repetition is central to everyday life," BrandHook Rituals Report said. “People buy products and services based on habit.”

The report found that many consumers are not making conscious decisions about purchasing when habits are driving behavior. As a result, BrandHook recommends targeting consumers at times when they are vulnerable and open to change, such as when they move, get married, have a baby, or form a new relationship.

 “This is the time that consumers are open to forming new habits which they will then stick with,” the report said. “Consumer immersion is the only way to brand wisdom. We all create routines and rituals, from our morning routine to our journey to work and even the way we diet and exercise.”

Specifically, the report found that mothers are very habitual – 65% of mothers said that when they find a brand or product they like, they are loyal to it. BrandHook’s Rituals Report included qualitative and quantitative methods from in-home sessions, accompanied shopping experiences, online forums, and a nationally representative survey.

BrandHook officials observed various routines and habits from tea drinking, dieting, banking, social networking, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and more.

“We heard about the impact that kids had on rituals and how those that didn’t have children relax their routines on the weekend,” the report said. “We experienced these habits while we spent time with our tribes observing as their auto-pilot kicked in to get jobs done.”

As brand strategists and consumer experts, BrandHook wondered what the effect of this repetitive behavior, coupled with creating rituals, would have on women’s relationship with brands. Research shows that women make 85% of purchasing decisions.

“In our minds, the combination of this statistic and our identification that women having a higher propensity to form habits and rituals, makes this subject a powerful thing to investigate,” the report said.

Women are more likely to form habits and rituals, according to the report. Both men and women are at the height of habit formation between the ages of 45-54. During this time 75% of women form habits as opposed to 49% of men. The creation of rituals is dictated by life stage. For example, nearly 60% of women surveyed agreed that when they became mothers, they started creating rituals and routines.

BrandHook believes there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way marketers think about their consumers.

Consumers are not building consideration lists when buying products.

Awareness on its own does not drive action.

People are not making conscious decisions about purchasing when habit is driving their behavior.

“What will help change consumer behavior is based on understanding how habits are formed and following a process to understand the cues and rewards needed to strengthen or disrupt a habit, which ultimately lead to greater market share,” the report said.

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