Understanding purchasing trends

Understanding Purchasing Trends

Over a period of 8 years we have run continuous studies into consumer purchasing trends for kitchens, bathrooms and surfaces.  These industry studies have tracked the consumer purchase process and the influences at each stage, from initial motivation through to product choices and installation. 

This means that where there is a requirement by an individual brand to dig deeper into a specific issue within the purchase process, we are able to use these in-house studies as a starting point and build upon our existing research, rather than start from the beginning each time.

Case Study: Use of Printed Product Brochures by Consumers within the Purchase Process

We were approached by a bathroom product manufacturer who wanted to understand where printed product brochures fitted into the purchase process for their product range and the relevance of printed product brochures to today’s consumer. 

This manufacturer was particularly interested in usage within the specialist bathroom retailers and our knowledge of the consumer landscape meant we were able to access this niche sector. 

The results of a tightly targeted online survey along with heat map technology allowed us to deliver a comprehensive report on how printed brochures performed as part of an overall communications package, as well as feedback on the information required by consumers when deciding which bathroom products to purchase. 

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Understanding Product Usage

We recommend using diary studies (or ethnography) to understand product usage in terms of behaviours, activities and experiences.  Using this method, participants self-report in context and over an extended period of time that can range from a few days to a month or longer. 

During this time frame, participants are asked to keep an online diary and log specific information about activities being studied. Periodic prompts, additional questions, gamification and one-to-one interaction helps to keep participants engaged and focused.  

Case Study: Behind the Bathroom Door, A Study of Bathroom Behaviours and Product Usage

In collaboration with the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, we investigated why consumers show a concern for environmental issues and yet are using more water in their bathrooms than ever before.

Could it be that in the privacy of our own bathroom, we are unaware of the amount of water we really use?

Our 7-day confidential diary study followed 50 householders as they undertook various bathroom tasks and reported back on a daily basis. The huge amount of data gathered throughout the study throws a light on our private bathroom routines and behaviours, and highlights the amount of water that could potentially be saved through greater awareness and less wasteful bathroom habits.

The research also gives a true insight into the real needs and requirements for our bathroom spaces, and the strong desire we all have to create a functional, clean, relaxing environment behind the bathroom door.

Download the full report here >

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Understanding product usage
understanding consumer attitudes

Understanding Consumer Attitudes

Attitudes are important because they frequently (although not always) predict behaviour. When we know that a product or service concept instils a positive attitude within the target market, we can expect that it will be well received when it gets to market. 

Understanding attitudes can also steer marketing communication strategies in the right direction by structuring the messages to tap into the consumers’ underlying thought process, and also seek to change behaviours by changing attitudes through persuasive marketing messages.

Case Study: What Matters More To A Smart Phone User?

Over the past few years we have been working with Kastus®, an award-winning surface innovation company based in Dublin, to understand consumer attitudes to the various applications for their patented antiviral and antimicrobial surface coatings. 

In 2020, Kastus® actively helped businesses to reopen safely from lockdown with the launch of their new Antiviral and Antimicrobial screen protectors

Understanding how consumers think and feel about the cleanliness of touchscreens and their reservations around using public touchscreens, especially since the outbreak of Covid, has helped Kastus® structure their marketing communications in a way that addresses consumer needs and concerns. 

It has also supported positive discussions with major stakeholders and potential partners by understanding the monetary value to consumers of the Kastus® technology when offered as a feature or an upsell, or in relation to other standard features.

The most recent consumer attitude study we developed with Kastus® was to understand what matters more to a smart phone user – antiviral or anti-fingerprint protection. 


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Understanding Customer Perceptions

As your products pass through the various stages on their route to market, your ‘customer’ is the person handling your products at each of those stage.  This could be the distributor, the retailer, the installer, and finally the end user. 

Understanding how your business and products are perceived at every point on it’s route to market will enable you to iron out any issues and ensure a much smoother transition through each stage to the end user.

Case Study: What Does Digital Mean?

As part of a wider brief from a major shower brand to map the digital shower market, it became clear that there were different perceptions of what ‘digital’ actually meant in terms of showering and also the benefits to the end user of fitting a digital shower.  

We undertook a series of qualitative interviews with distributors, retailers and installers to gauge their understanding of these two important issues.  The insights generated by these interviews led to an improved marketing communication strategy and a re-positioning of the brand within the showering market. 

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Customer Perceptions (Photo by Tiger Lily)
The customer journey (Photo by vdphotography)

Understanding the Customer Journey

The journey your customers take to get to the point where they will make a purchase may seem quite simple, but it can be more complex than first thought.  This is especially when planning a home improvement project as homeowners may be researching up to 6 months in advance of making any purchases, with many different interactions with your business along the way.

A customer journey map shows a visual story of your customers’ touchpoints with your brand. It helps you step into your customer’s shoes and see your business from the customer’s perspective, highlighting pain-points and where more insight is required

Case Study: Smart Kitchen Appliances Customer Journey Map

Kitchen appliances are now almost all manufactured ‘smart-ready’, however the replacement cycle for appliances can be up to 20 years and as a result the uptake of smart kitchen appliances has been relatively slow in comparison to other smart devices such as TV or security systems. 

Understanding how consumers arrive at the decision to purchase a new kitchen appliance is key to improving sales of smart-ready appliances.  

We worked with a major kitchen appliance manufacturer to understand the decision triggers for replacing kitchen appliances, the pain-points throughout the customer journey and the different opportunities they had through the purchase journey to influence potential customers.

The journey mapping process highlighted the issue the manufacturer had with data silos within their business, which meant that the consumer insights they had been relying on were creating a disjointed view of the customer journey.

We were able to work with the manufacturer to ‘join the dots’ between their different data sets to create a more accurate customer journey, which showed opportunities for earlier interaction with their target market.

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