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UK Brand Overview: Finance Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Brand Overview: Finance market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this Report

Since November 2015, Mintel has conducted brand research on over 65 brands operating in financial services markets. As well as consumers’ attitudes towards brands, we investigate how many people have used those brands, how positive their experience of the brand was, and whether they would recommend that brand.

Research is run at a brand level, rather than based on a particular product. So rather than asking specifically about people’s perception of Barclays’ current accounts or of Direct Line’s car insurance, for example, we ask about their overall perception of the Barclays and Direct Line brands.

Data in this Report is drawn from fieldwork conducted between November 2015 and May 2018. Many brands have been covered on multiple occasions and, unless otherwise stated, Mintel’s data refers to the most recent wave of research in which a given brand featured.

What you need to know

Consumers are often attracted to the biggest names in the financial services industry, despite the fact that many of the brands with the most positive reputations are smaller, less traditional organisations. Sometimes in spite of themselves, consumers remain reassured by size and stature, which means smaller challengers often have to use better deals and innovation to compete.

There is a substantial difference between perception and reality within this sector. Users of brands tend to be happy with their bank, for example, but seem unconvinced about the merits of those they have not used. In insurance markets, the renewal cycle and the potential savings that can be made by switching means that people are more willing to test out newer brands, but within banking consumers appear perfectly content to keep the status quo.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Richard Hopping , a leading analyst in the Brand sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

There is a substantial difference between perception and reality within the financial services sector. Users of brands tend to be happy with their bank, for example, but seem unconvinced about the merits of those they have not used. In insurance markets, the financial incentive to switch is enough to get around this, however within banking consumers appear perfectly content to keep the status quo. Richard Hopping
Brand Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Brand Leaders
            • Household names lead the way on usage
              • Figure 1: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by overall usage, November 2015-June 2018
            • Amazon goes from strength to strength
              • Figure 2: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by usage in the last 12 months, November 2015-June 2018
            • Boots’ heritage creates trustworthy image
              • Figure 3: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that I trust”, November 2015-June 2018
            • Brands with unique features stand out
              • Figure 4: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by differentiation (Net of “It’s a unique brand” and “It’s somewhat different from others”), November 2015-June 2018
            • Amazon stands out on experience offered
              • Figure 5: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by satisfaction (Net of “Good” and “Excellent” reviews), November 2015-June 2018
            • Brand Reputation
              • Boots offers something special
                • Figure 6: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that has great customer service”, November 2015-June 2018
              • Exclusivity defines many brands in the retail sector
                • Figure 7: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Exclusive”, November 2015-June 2018
              • Lush and The Body Shop lead on ethics
                • Figure 8: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Ethical”, November 2015-June 2018
              • Amazon offers value despite not being the cheapest place
                • Figure 9: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that offers good value”, November 2015-June 2018
              • eBay and IKEA changed shopping possibilities
                • Figure 10: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that is innovative”, November 2015-June 2018
              • The Retail Brandscape
                • Amazon and eBay ahead on perception of online quality
                  • Figure 11: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that provides a great online service”, November 2015-June 2018
                • Fashion retailers impress their users
                  • Figure 12: Agreement with “A retailer that provides a great online service” amongst users of the brand, November 2015-June 2018
                • Consistency over long term influences commitment
                  • Figure 13: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by commitment (Net of “This is a favourite brand” and “I prefer this brand over others”), November 2015-June 2018
                • Discounters and food retailers largely seen as similar
                  • Figure 14: Average scores for trust and differentiation, by retail category, November 2015-June 2018
                • Similar level of adspend, similar spread
                  • Figure 15: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the retail sector, by month, January 2015-June 2018
                • What we think
                • Brand Leaders – What You Need to Know

                  • Household names lead the way on usage
                    • Boots’ heritage creates trustworthy image
                      • Brands with unique features stand out
                        • Amazon stands out on experience offered
                        • Brand Usage

                          • Household names lead the way on usage
                            • Figure 16: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by overall usage, November 2015-June 2018
                          • Amazon goes from strength to strength
                            • Figure 17: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by usage in the last 12 months, November 2015-June 2018
                          • Aldi and Lidl competing with the big four
                            • The burgeoning convenience category boosts Tesco
                            • Trust in Retail Brands

                              • Boots’ heritage creates trustworthy image
                                • Figure 18: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that I trust”, November 2015-June 2018
                              • Trustworthiness built through consistency
                                • Figure 19: Agreement with “A retailer that I trust”, by agreement with “Reliable”, in the retail sector, November 2015-June 2018
                              • Brands with a big reputation can subvert lack of regular usage
                              • Brand Differentiation

                                • Brands with unique features stand out
                                  • Figure 20: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by differentiation (Net of “It’s a unique retailer” and “It’s somewhat different from others”), November 2015-June 2018
                              • Brand Satisfaction and Recommendation

                                • Amazon stands out on experience offered
                                  • Figure 21: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by satisfaction (Net of “Good” and “Excellent” reviews), November 2015-June 2018
                                • Victoria’s Secret, Sweaty Betty and ao.com set to increase customer base
                                  • Recommendation dependent on satisfaction
                                    • Figure 22: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by likely recommendation, November 2015-June 2018
                                • Brand Reputation – What You Need to Know

                                  • Boots offers something special
                                    • Exclusivity defines many brands in the retail sector
                                      • Lush and The Body Shop lead on ethics
                                        • Retailers striving to raise ethical standards
                                          • Amazon offers value despite not being the cheapest place
                                            • eBay and IKEA changed shopping possibilities
                                              • Technology drives retail innovation
                                              • Retail Brands and Customer Service

                                                • Boots offers something special
                                                  • Figure 23: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that has great customer service”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                • Marks & Spencer indicative of trust and customer service correlation
                                                  • Figure 24: Agreement with “A retailer that I trust”, by agreement with “A retaler that has great customer service”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                • Premium retailers skewed towards customer service
                                                  • Growth of online changing definition of customer service
                                                    • Brands with strong customer service thought of as welcoming
                                                      • Figure 25: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Welcoming”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                    • Premium brands struggle with creating welcoming image
                                                      • Figure 26: Agreement with “A retailer that has great customer service”, by agreement with “Welcoming”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                  • Premium and Prestige Brands

                                                    • Exclusivity defines many brands in the retail sector
                                                      • Figure 27: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Exclusive”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                    • Expense is all relative
                                                      • Figure 28: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Expensive”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                    • Expense and exclusivity closely related
                                                      • Figure 29: Agreement with “Exclusive”, by agreement with “Expensive”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                  • Retail Brands and Ethics

                                                    • Lush and The Body Shop lead on ethics
                                                      • Figure 30: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Ethical”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                    • Unethical perceptions influenced by treatment of workers
                                                      • Figure 31: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “Unethical”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                    • Ethics are not a concern for everyone…
                                                      • …but ethical expectations are increasing
                                                      • Ethical Activity

                                                        • Accessibility to all
                                                          • A friendlier shopping environment
                                                            • Figure 32: The Entertainer extends Quiet Hour, July 2018
                                                          • Iceland attempts to become the number one dementia retailer
                                                            • Figure 33: Iceland’s support of dementia, August 2018
                                                          • A model of diversity
                                                            • Figure 34: ASOS creates with wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit with Chloe Ball-Hopkins, July 2018
                                                            • Figure 35: Missguided’s diverse mannequins, February 2018
                                                          • The gender pay gap takes prominence in 2018
                                                            • The environment
                                                              • Aiding recycling
                                                                  • Figure 36: The Co-operative’s plastic bottle deposit return reverse vending machine, May 2018
                                                                • Removing plastics from sale
                                                                    • Figure 37: Morrisons reintroduces paper bags, August 2018
                                                                  • Reducing waste and protecting the environment
                                                                    • Figure 38: IKEA teams up with Big Clean Switch, March 2018
                                                                  • Sustainable fashion
                                                                    • Closing the loop
                                                                      • Figure 39: Centre for Sustainable Fashion partners with ASOS for circular fashion training programme, June 2018
                                                                    • Animal welfare
                                                                      • Charity
                                                                        • Harrods launches a charity pop-up shop
                                                                          • Figure 40: Harrods’ Fashion Re-told charity fashion store, April 2018
                                                                        • Amazon launches Amazon Smile
                                                                          • Figure 41: Amazon Smile, July 2018
                                                                      • Retail Brands and Value

                                                                        • Amazon offers value despite not being the cheapest place
                                                                            • Figure 42: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that offers good value”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                          • Brands committing to lower prices
                                                                            • The value of rare and unusual items
                                                                              • Expectations limit how much people are willing to pay for Amazon
                                                                                • Figure 43: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that is worth paying more for”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                              • M&S’ food operations distinct from other parts of its business
                                                                                • Exclusivity helps promote an idea of added value
                                                                                • Retail Brands and Innovation

                                                                                  • eBay’s auction platform changed shopping possibilities
                                                                                    • IKEA at the forefront of flat-pack
                                                                                      • Figure 44: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that is innovative”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                    • Innovation and cutting edge signify different things
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “cutting edge”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                  • Innovation Activity

                                                                                    • Retailers experiment with checkout-free stores
                                                                                      • Figure 46: Sainsbury’s trial of checkout-free shopping, August 2018
                                                                                    • Alternative realities hit the mainstream
                                                                                      • Figure 47: Zara augmented reality app, April 2018
                                                                                    • Department stores as a destination
                                                                                      • Figure 48: Selfridges Boxing Gym opens, January 2018
                                                                                    • Sports Direct taps into eSports
                                                                                      • Waitrose focuses on the health of its customers
                                                                                        • Sainsbury’s increases the number of concessions in-store
                                                                                          • Shopping via social media just got easier
                                                                                            • Figure 49: Marks & Spencer Instagram Shopping post, August 2018
                                                                                          • eBay used images as a search query
                                                                                          • The Retail Brandscape – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • Amazon ahead on perception of online quality
                                                                                              • Retailers seeking to improve the online experience
                                                                                                • Consistency over long term influences commitment
                                                                                                  • Amazon Prime seeking to up consumer spend
                                                                                                    • Discounters and food retailers largely seen as similar
                                                                                                      • Similar level of adspend, similar spread
                                                                                                      • Online Shopping

                                                                                                        • Amazon ahead on perception of online quality
                                                                                                          • eBay is the other standout
                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that provides a great online service”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                          • Argos’ Fast Track delivery influences perceptions
                                                                                                            • Grocery retailers have yet to make their mark
                                                                                                              • Fashion retailers impress their users
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by agreement with “A retailer that provides a great online service” amongst users of the retailer, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                            • Online Retail Developments

                                                                                                              • Better delivery services are becoming normal
                                                                                                                • Brands seek to innovate on delivery methods
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Sainsbury’s use of electric cargo bikes for deliveries, April 2018
                                                                                                                • The rise in ‘try before buy’
                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Klarna launches in the UK with Topshop, September 2016
                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: The Fragrance Shop’s scentaddict service, August 2018
                                                                                                                • Online specialists moving into the physical world
                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Zalando Beauty Station launches in Berlin, July 2018
                                                                                                              • Loyalty towards Retailers

                                                                                                                • Loyalty has different meanings to different people
                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by commitment (Net of “This is a favourite retailer” and “I prefer this retailer over others”), November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                • Consistency over long term influences commitment
                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Brand commitment, by agreement with “Reliable”, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                • Amazon preference means ongoing usage
                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Brands in the retail sector with the lowest proportion of lapsed users, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                • Furniture retailers suffer from irregular usage
                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Top ranking of brands in the retail sector, by lapsed users, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                • Retailers focusing on select targets also have high loss in users
                                                                                                                  • Littlewoods has yet to fully bounce back
                                                                                                                  • Loyalty Initiatives

                                                                                                                    • Online making loyalty harder to grasp
                                                                                                                      • Loyalty schemes continue to drive custom
                                                                                                                        • Nectar scheme revamped to focus on frequency and longevity of custom
                                                                                                                          • Amazon Prime continues to grow
                                                                                                                            • Superdrug launches mobile network for loyalty scheme members
                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Superdrug Mobile launches, June 2018
                                                                                                                          • Retail Category Comparison

                                                                                                                            • Discounters match usage of food retailers
                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Average score for key metrics across different retail categories, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                            • Fashion brands impacted by targeted offering
                                                                                                                              • Discounters and food stores seen as similar
                                                                                                                                • Department stores stand out…
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Average scores for trust and differentiation, by retail category, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                                • …helped by their reputation for service
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Average score for brand attitudes, by retail category, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                                • Discounters appeal to bargain hunters
                                                                                                                                  • Discounter supermarkets also putting the pressure on
                                                                                                                                    • Department stores seen as expensive
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Average score for brand attributes, by retail category, November 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Health and beauty likely to lead on ethics
                                                                                                                                      • Discounters’ basic image highlights lack of product range
                                                                                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                        • Similar level of adspend, similar spread
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the retail sector, by month, January 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Argos highlights Fast Track delivery
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the retail sector, by top advertisers, 2017
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Argos advert highlighting short delivery times, November 2017
                                                                                                                                        • Currys PC World highlights staff expertise
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Currys PC World demonstrates staff expertise in advertising, November 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Specsavers continues “Should’ve” theme
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Specsavers continues “Should’ve” TV ad campaign, March 2017
                                                                                                                                        • Oak Furniture Land emphasises authenticity of products
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 70: Oak Furniture Land “No Veneer in ‘ere” advertising, July 2017
                                                                                                                                        • M&S encourages people to focus on quality
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Marks & Spencer’s Spend It Well campaign, May 2017
                                                                                                                                        • TV remains most popular channel for advertising…
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Share of total recorded adspend in the retail sector, by media type, January 2015-June 2018
                                                                                                                                        • …but attention likely to be waning
                                                                                                                                          • Food retailers most picked out by consumers
                                                                                                                                            • Superdrug points to Love Island sponsorship as a success
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Missguided’s sponsorship of Love Island, June 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Brands Covered