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How shoppers in the UK, France and Germany respond in practice to personalisation: study

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Just over half of UK adults have signed up for personalised messages, delivered via SMS, email or social media, a new study suggests.

The Periscope by McKinsey study, The Art of Personalization – Keeping It Relevant, Timely and Contextual, questioned more than 2,500 adults in the UK, the US, France and Germany to understand how they view the use personalised messages and respond to those that they get. that they get – and found that 52% of UK respondents said they often or sometimes sign up for personalisation.

Overall 46% of all those questioned did so, breaking down into 55% for US respondents, 46% in Germany and 44% in France. 

That said, many shoppers said they still felt that they were receiving mass marketing messages, rather than ones created with them in mind. The feeling was most pronounced among French respondents (47%) followed by the UK (42%), Germany (40%) and the US (36%). 

Nonetheless personalisation did encourage significant numbers to take an action, with 37% acting as a result of a personalised message in the US, followed by France (32%), Germany (27%) and the UK (26%).

What kind of message, and how was it delivered?

Asked what kind of messages were most useful, 43% of US shoppers and 39% of those in the UK pointed to those that flagged up a previous search that they had made, while 44% of French shoppers and 40% of German shoppers responded to retargeting of the exact product that they’d previously looked for. Popular in all four markets were updates on product availability and/or price, cited by shoppers in France (44%), Germany, the UK and US (all 42%). Messages that reflected individuals’ personal tastes were important in Germany (48%) and France (47%) while those in Germany (45%) responded to messages about products they wanted to buy. Some 42% of French shoppers were prompted to act by notifications about products that met their budget.

Text messages were popular across markets: 57% of Germans opened them while 42% of UK recipients opened and read them. But those sent via WhatApp and similar messaging services got the most attention, with 67% in Germany reading their messges, and 41% of UK respondents reviewing them. 

What’s creepy?

Getting messages from companies they didn’t know was the top issue for US respondents (41%) and important for German shoppers (39%). But location tracking messages caused most anxiety for UK and German shoppers (both 40%). Messages that arrive within seconds of a search being undertaken are also an issue for shoppers in the UK and US (both 38%) and France (37%).  Cross-sharing of browsing information was a key issue for French consumers (42%) while sharing of profile information was an issue for 37% of German shoppers. Across markets, women were noticeably more likely than men to find receiving location-based messages more intrusive and unsettling.

“This year’s findings represent a very clear learning point for retailers and brands – taking personalisation efforts to the next level represents a significant opportunity to drive up consumer engagement,” said Lars Fiedler, partner and senior solution leader marketing solutions at Periscope By McKinsey “To be successful with their personalization efforts and reap the rewards, businesses should employ advanced analytics and scalable and sustainable solutions to better understand their consumers and create the right mix of content, channel and timing to drive a change in behaviour of an individual customer.”

Image: Fotolia

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