Opinionway Barometer 2019 for the digital agency Wide - The French and their digital relationships with brands

Consumers are taking back control of their interactions with brands

Levallois-Perret, May 23, 2019 - WIDE, a digital agency subsidiary of the Micropole Group, whose mission is to support its clients in creating new data and digital experiences, reveals the results of its second barometer on the French and their digital relationships with brands.

RGPD, a virtuous regulation for consumers and brands
- In the age of social networks, if consumer communities allow brands to better know their consumers (74%), they raise questions about privacy (73%);
- 88% of French people still receive too much information that does not interest them and 80% of them do not retain the message of brands;

While 67% of French people now interact with brands using the digital channel, this relationship seems to be more mature. They praise the time savings and convenience offered by digital, such as Click & Collect - online purchases picked up in-store - which ranks first (28%) in terms of French people's interactions with brands, ahead of the request to be removed from customer files (23%).

French people's behavior remains ambivalent when it comes to the subject of personal data. More than a quarter of them (27%) do not want to give out their personal data to receive a personalized offer (+1 point compared to last year), 21% believe that this is an expectation of privacy (down 5 points). At the same time, 21% feel less invaded by brands (down 3 points compared to last year) and less watched by brands (down 2 points or 18%).

"Even if apprehensions about personal data are still prevalent, the GDPR is starting to bear fruit. By giving back to consumers the power over their data, it improves de facto their relationship with brands and vice versa. Brands have to deal with more captive consumers, which represents both a real opportunity for them and a challenge to provide quality information and service," says Antoine de Lasteyrie, CEO of WIDE France.

Chatbot vs. voice assistants: the jungle of communication channels
- To interact with brands, while chatbots are attracting more and more French people (+11 points), voice assistants are marking time, down 6 points, used by only 17% of French people;

The communication channels used to communicate with brands have changed in just one year: email, still in the lead, has nevertheless lost 5 points (73%), while SMS has dropped by 14 points (36%), and smartphone applications and social networks by 7 points (35% and 31% respectively). Chatbots stand out with an 11-point increase in usage (29%), with young people under 35 (42%) and people in wealthy socio-professional categories (41%) being the most fond of them. Voice assistants/voice interfaces on the other hand are struggling to live up to their promises and seem to generate a certain frustration among the French, as only 17% have already used them to interact with brands (a 6-point drop compared to last year).

Faced with all these tools, the French remain lost, with 14% (+2 points) not knowing which one to use to interact effectively with brands.

"The impact of digital technology on the interactions between consumers and brands is confirmed year after year. The evolution of the purchasing process with the rise of uses such as click & collect and the rise of chatbots are examples of this. In the same momentum, I am convinced that voice assistants will also nibble away at market share. Their adoption by the French is still timid but should explode in the years to come," says Antoine de Lasteyrie.

Enhance the shopping experience at any point in the consumer's journey
- While retailers have won the hearts of the French with click & collect, leading the way in digital interactions with brands (28%), nearly a quarter of them want to be removed from customer files.

From the reinvention of the point of sale to new ways of buying, our consumption patterns will continue to evolve: for 91% of French people, the most widespread purchases will be made on the Internet in the coming years, a percentage that rises to 96% among the over 65s versus 82% among the 25-34s. Purchasing via a mobile application comes in second place (81%), followed by purchasing in a physical store (72%) and finally via a voice assistant, which garners 51% positive responses.

The buying experience will be all the more satisfying for the consumer if the brand is able to offer him the right products and services. Better understanding consumer tastes is one of the major challenges facing brands today. They have many means at their disposal to do this: consumer communities, buying patterns, and Internet behavior, which they analyze with the help of artificial intelligence to be able to offer the expected services and products.

The French are well aware of this: for a majority of them (61%), their purchase history on the Internet is the most informative, closely followed by their browsing history (59%). On the other hand, few think that the information shared on their personal social networks (37%) or the music they listen to (36%) is used by brands. This general perception differs among 25-34 year olds who believe that brands know them better through what they reveal about themselves on the Internet (between 5 and 16 points more than the French as a whole).
While 74% of the French think that consumer communities allow brands to get to know them better, 73% of them think that they raise questions about privacy.

When asked about their perception of brand storytelling, the French are unconvinced and unresponsive: 80% of them do not retain the brand message. Yet for 59%, storytelling is part of the buying experience - they are more attentive to it in the brand's store with 47% of positive responses. This gap between the physical and online worlds is not insignificant, since 57% of them feel a lack of coherence between the experience offered in-store and the brands' message.

"The multiplication of consumer interaction and purchase modes with brands should not be synonymous with dilution/banalization of the purchase experience. On the contrary, it is essential for brands to offer an optimal quality of service at all times in order to have a more captive relationship with them. The experience that consumers have when they pick up their purchases ordered online (click & collect) contributes to their loyalty to the brand and offers them a special moment in the store," adds Antoine de Lasteyrie.

The OpinionWay study for WIDE was conducted on January 30 and 31, 2019 among a sample of 1008 people representative of the French population aged 18 and over. The sample was constituted according to the quota method, with regard to the criteria of gender, age, socio-professional category, urban area category and region of residence. The sample was interviewed by means of a self-administered online questionnaire using the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview) system.

About WIDE Agency

Wide supports brands and companies in their business transformation, enhanced by data and digital.
Expert in digital platforms, data governance, data science and technology integration, WIDE's 300 talents design and develop new efficient user experiences.
WIDE has a turnover of 36 M€. Among its main clients: Euromaster, Carrefour, Europ-Assistance, BNP, Accor, Galeries Lafayette, Bureau Veritas ... Follow WIDE on Twitter : @Agence_WIDE

Press contacts
Agence Rumeur Publique | Stéphanie Muthelet | 01 55 74 52 28 |
Micropole & WIDE | Marina Benatar | 01 74 18 76 98 |

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