Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Why UK mobile providers are losing 29% of consumers who initially preferred them

68% of consumers have a preferred brand in mind before they begin their research into mobile phone providers. However, top mobile providers, EE, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone are losing an average of 29% of those consumers who had initially preferred them.

Where did this 29% go and why were they unable to retain them?

Recent research from Global Reviews looks at just how much these initial preferences influence which brand consumers eventually go on to select as their preferred provider to purchase though.

Although Vodafone were only able to retain 63% of those who initially preferred them, they were able to convert an impressive 17% of consumers who had no initial brand in mind prior to research. To make up for the loss of those who had initially preferred them, they were also able to steal 11% of those who had initially preferred someone else prior to research.

Firstly, we will look at why Vodafone are losing 37% of consumers between initial and final preference.

When researching mobile phone providers, 41% of consumers are using aggregator sites. Whilst this works in the favour of smaller brands such as GiffGaff and iD Mobile in that more consumers shortlist them if they’ve visited an aggregator, it seems that aggregator sites are having a negative effect on Vodafone to the point where far fewer people are shortlisting Vodafone if they went to an aggregator than if they just used search and brand websites.

Shortlist preferences

So why are Vodafone losing consumers through aggregators and what is helping them convert the consumers they were able to get?

The #1 reason consumers finally preferred a brand was because they had the best deal/offer(s) to meet their needs. However, this was not the case for those who selected Vodafone. Vodafone may not be able to match the deals offered by other brands, but they still need to be able to clearly communicate what they have to offer and why they should be chosen over another brand. Instead, previous use was the top reason why consumers finally preferred Vodafone over another brand. So whilst they may not have the best deal/offer, they are strong in the area of brand loyalty.

Vodafone final preference

Meanwhile, Tesco retained 73% of those who initially preferred them, but was only able to pick up 7% from other initially preferred brands and 9% from those who had no initial preference.

As can be seen in the following chart, Tesco has a lot going for it. They’re chosen for their deals, easy to understand products/offers and boosted along with their loyalty programme. The question then is why are they unable to convert more customers?

Tesco final preference

The reason is site visits.

Compared to the other big brands, Tesco are getting very few customers visiting their site during the initial research phase. They’re managing just a 14% visit rate compared to the 30% of EE and O2. If Tesco are not able to drive people to their website, of course consumers won’t choose them unless they’re already aware of all that they have to offer. Therefore, getting people on site should be a key priority for Tesco.

These are just two examples highlighting the ways in which consumers research and select a brand to purchase a mobile phone plan through. Each brand has its own unique story and Global Reviews is the only place that can tell you how each of these stories go. If you would like to know your brand’s story and see how it compares to your competitors, contact us today.

Global Reviews specialises in helping top brands worldwide convert more of their ideal customers online, through the use of the most advanced research methodologies. To find out more about how we can help you and your digital teams, or if your brand would like to be included in our next round of FRUITION research, please contact: 

Hannah-Rose Farrington – Commercial Director
T:         +44 (0) 203725 8260
M:        +353 (87) 1263043


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