Quality Study: Consumers Put Brands Under Pressure

With product recalls and quality issues making headlines and topping social media posts daily, many companies are taking steps to reassure their increasingly wary customers. But could they do more?

We know that companies continue invest in “quality control” processes to avoid quality issues from arising because of the cost and expense associated with recalls but is that the only reason they invest in quality?

Over the past decade, influenced by the onset of social media, the consumer’s perception of quality has become increasingly relevant to manufacturers. But how big is the impact? Should more be done to address consumers’ perception of quality?

Recently,  Veeva Consumer Goods and Chemical asked the OpinionWay Institute to conduct a survey to attempt to answer these and other important questions. In this survey of 1002 French respondents, we sought to understand and assess consumers’ relation to product quality and their perception of companies’ behaviors regarding that matter.

Here are some of the key findings of "The Consumer's Perception of Quality" survey:

  • 75% of consumers say they will stop buying brands that do not keep their promise regarding quality
  • Quality has become the number one purchasing criteria for 95% of consumers
  • Almost two out of three consumers admit to being disappointed by the quality of food and beverage products they buy
  • Consumers see quality ingredients (65%), labeling (42%), and production standards (41%) as guarantees of quality
  • Only one in four consumers believes that companies prioritize quality matters out of respect for their customers versus concern over their own reputations

Quality - Point of contention between brands and consumers

Although consumers are typically price sensitive, quality is increasingly becoming an important, if not more important factor than price. 54% of surveyed consumers consider quality to be the determining factor when purchasing, compared to only 43% for price. When adding those whose opinion is a little less absolute, 95% prioritize quality. This demand for quality is particularly strong for food and beverage products (74%), pharmaceutical (70%), vehicles (60%), and cosmetics and household goods (53%).

However, companies do not seem to be aware of this new paradigm. One out of three consumers does not see any improvement in the quality of products. This trend was again particularly marked in the food sector, where 31% feel a drop in quality, but also in clothing (39%) and household goods (36%). While 19% of consumers report a reduction in quality for cosmetics products, 49% believe that it has not changed.

What is most striking is the disappointment felt by consumers when it comes to food products. Despite the upscaling of private labels and the explosion of organic products in the past few years, consumers seem less reassured by the quality of what is on their plates.

Increased mistrust, bad press, boycotts - Consumer feedback is fast and furious

This survey found that consumers exercise several options in response to purchasing a low quality product.   Consumer dissatisfaction has real consequences. 80% of surveyed consumers would advise their relatives against a poor quality product. 77% will go even further and directly advise against the brand. 75% declared that they would no longer trust the brand themselves and would seize to purchase it. With results like these, we can conclude that consumers aren’t afraid to send a clear message to the brands: they will no longer accept being exposed to products of questionable quality and they will share their experience on a social scale.

In this context of mistrust, certain factors seem to reassure consumers: the composition of the product (65%), its origin (47%), the presence of a quality label on its packaging (42%) and its production standards (41%) are all perceived as guaranteed factors of quality. The endorsement of a trusted third party, transparency, and local identity are all seen as positive attributes and provide consumers with the guarantees they expect when making a purchasing decision.

Customers Skeptical of Brands' Quality Motivations

While consumers are demanding quality measures, they also remain cautious regarding brands’ intentions: 73% consider that brands mainly implement quality control procedures out of constraint (41%) or concern for their reputation (32%) rather than out of respect for their customers (24%). These results reveal a disconnect between how brands manage quality and how consumers perceive their intentions.

As consumer preferences continue to evolve and expectations increase, the good news for manufacturers is that quality can be a true point of differentiation across all sectors. To do so however, they will need to better communicate to consumers their commitment to quality and deliver on that commitment as part of the “Brand” promise.

Download the Full Survey and Results Here

Any full or partial publication of these survey results must be attributed to the "OpinionWay Survey for Veeva". Any reuse of the survey may not be dissociated from this title.


Study Methodology

The study “The Consumer’s Perception of Quality” conducted for Veeva was carried out on a sample of 1,002 individuals over the age of 18 using the quota method on the basis of gender, age and socio-professional category. The interview period was June 1st to 5th 2018.

About OpinionWay

Founded in 2000, OpinionWay is a major player in innovation in marketing and opinion research and a pioneer in the digitalisation of research. The company aims to facilitate understanding and accelerate decisions for its clients. Its ambition is to optimize the agility and performance of companies or organizations. Its mission is to enable its clients to quickly and easily understand their current and future environment, to make better decisions today, act tomorrow and imagine the day after tomorrow. OpinionWay intervenes in many fields such as market understanding, brand issues, product and service development, with B2C or B2B targets.

About Veeva

Founded in 2007, Veeva NYSE (VEEV), is a leading global provider of industry-specific, cloud-based software solutions for the consumer goods, chemical and life sciences industries. Our applications enable manufacturers to realize the benefits of a modern, cloud-based platform to manage the product journey and bring innovative, high-quality products to market faster without compromising industry-specific functionality, quality or regulatory compliance. Veeva is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, with offices in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Read Our Story

Mohamed Chittach

Posted by Mohamed Chittach

Mohamed Chittach is the Director of QualityOne Consumer Products Strategy and has 20 years of experience in the quality field. He is a certified QHSE lead auditor and regularly performs certification audits for the main ISO certification body in France in order to stay informed in the industry.