The state of the industry today can be summarized in one word: Reformation, according to WD Partners. The design firm’s third annual report evaluates which brands are dominating the new consumer market (the Good), which brands are barely getting by (the Bad), and which will flatline soon if they don’t make some big changes (the Ugly)—weighing data from 2017, 2018, and 2019 to identify year-over-year industry trends.
WD polled over 11,000 adult consumers with annual incomes above $35,000 across the U.S. to evaluate 100 of the most well-known brands. The firm segmented respondents into five demographic groups, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and the Silent Generation. These generational divides offer a look into how consumer behavior is changing over time, illustrating how the market could continue to shift based upon their evolving preferences.
Amazon dominated across the board in terms of consumer perception, topping the Good and Best lists for the third year in a row. With Walmart, Target, and Costco coming in closely behind, it is evident why box was the top performing vertical in the study. The beauty and grocery verticals were also standouts on the Good list.
Specialty apparel once again topped the Ugly list as the worst performing vertical. Financial institutions and other specialty retailers in the home, personal, and sport categories were also among the lowest. Possibly the most surprising finding, though, was that Walmart was named the Worst brand by a large margin (yes, it was also on the top 5 Good list), WD notes. Many other top performing retailers (even Amazon) made both the Best and Worst lists, illustrating that consumers have a love/hate relationship with these brands.
Data showed that brand awareness is eroding as consumers are beginning to seek small brands instead of remaining loyal to conglomerates. However, many brands are still popular despite awareness erosion. If they can maintain a positive perception with their existing customer base, these brands can still come out on top in terms of public opinion, the design firm believes.
Download the white paper here for a complete look at the findings.