[Video] Unpacking the Mystery of Value in QSR, Tech, and Streaming: Insights from This Consumer Life

Mar 5, 2024


Catrin: Welcome to This Consumer Life, Brox.ai's bite-sized weekly podcast, which brings you consumer insights direct from the horse's mouth using Brox.ai's exclusive and weekly updated database of video interviews. Each week, we'll be examining a new topic and hearing directly from the American consumer to really get to grips with what they are talking about and what they care about.

I'm Catrin, Head of Research at Brox.ai, and today I'm going to be walking through some insights on exactly what is value for money. The voices you will hear are real, but anonymized to protect privacy, and are taken from a representative sample of American consumers.

Understanding Value vs. Price

Male, 30-44: "Price is always the most important. Also, value."

Catrin: What exactly is value and how is it different from price? Once we got digging into our data, we very quickly found that value doesn't really mean anything. Actually, it's quite a mysterious concept that isn't very helpful to us as marketers. So while we all want to offer a good value proposition and to give our customers good value, what is that and how do we do it?

Insights from Quick Service Restaurants

Catrin: So we started by digging into quick service dining. And as soon as we got into our data and started looking at what our consumers were actually saying, we were struck by the fact that price wasn't even the top factor in determining a value proposition. So we broke value down into these different facets that constitute a value proposition for our respondents.

Male, 45-64: "The factors that are important to me when deciding on a fast food restaurant to eat at, the very first one is quality of the food. It has to be good quality food, there's no point going out to eat and getting garbage. So, it's gotta be good quality food. It's gotta be something I enjoy."

Catrin: We found that a sense of eating really good quality food that tastes delicious is actually much more important than price for the majority of our consumers. Clearly, price is not the be all and end all, and it's not even the beginning point of determining a value proposition when it comes to fast food dining.

How Age Impacts Value Perception in QSR

Catrin: From here we wondered, is it really as simple as quality and tasty food trumps price when it comes to fast food? With 34 percent of people talking about good quality, tasty food, compared to only 20 percent of people talking about price. So we broke these numbers down by demographics, and we looked into whether age had any impact on people's priorities.

Female, 45-64: "The price is if there's something that the kids would like to eat, and is it something that everybody in the family can eat, so that we can all do one place and be done, not have to go to multiple places."

Catrin: This age group is 15 percent more likely to talk about price when they're determining the value proposition of a fast food restaurant. This group has quite distinct needs when it comes to a fast food restaurant, and this makes perfect sense when you consider that they are perhaps taking large families out; they're going to be paying a lot more. They perhaps have fussy children or grandchildren who need particular menu options and won't settle for a limited menu, and so we see that the needs of these different age groups and different demographics cause the different facets of this strange concept of value that we're looking at to shift in importance.

Exploring Value in the Tech Industry

Catrin: So let's make it a little bit more complicated by looking at a completely different sector. We dug into our Brox data on the tech industry, and we found that value has quite a different meaning in this context. Suddenly we're not just thinking about eating at a restaurant, but we're thinking about a functional accessory that you own, and quite a complicated accessory that you don't necessarily know how to evaluate yourself. So a whole range of new factors come into the evaluation process.

Female, 65+: "What makes a good reputation is what people think about a product. Everybody raves about Alexa, and everybody I know raves about their iPhone. I've heard good things about Microsoft Surface. I personally like HP and Dell laptops. I know somebody who has a Fitbit watch, and it came highly recommended to me. I think Ring has a good reputation from what I've heard. What makes a good reputation for this kind of company? Just, uh, speaking to people and word of mouth."

Catrin: We see in tech that it's not just about what you think and how you evaluate the tastiness and the quality of the food and the ingredients that you're being presented with, but it's about what other people think, what other people recommend, what other people think is a good brand.

Gender Differences in Tech Value Perception

Catrin: We find this is particularly true for women who are 4 percent more likely to cite familiarity and brand recognition as a driver, 8 percent more likely to cite brand loyalty, 7 percent more likely to cite recommendations, and 11 percent more likely to cite reliability. So they want to know they're in good hands, and they want to know that other people can vouch for the product that they are trusting their money in.

Male, 65+: "I have no idea which of these have a good reputation. I don't take note of other people's opinions. I do my own research. What would make a good reputation? If they are reliable, stable, keep their word, and provide more than adequate support."

Catrin: So this male consumer is quite different from the general trend we see with women. And he doesn't want to know what other people think. He's going to decide that for himself. And we see that in the numbers as well, where men are less likely to talk about recommendations and reputation. They're actually 3 percent more likely to cite quality, and they're 40 percent more likely to cite price.

The Streaming Services Dilemma

Catrin: Moving on to our third and final sector we'll be examining this week: streaming services. So we saw in Brox.ai's weekly updated dashboards that 14 percent of Netflix customers are considering cancelling their subscriptions. So naturally we asked why and what is driving that behaviour. And we found that across the board, a lack of new content and a lack of high quality content were really prevalent pain points.

Female, 30-44: "I'm thinking of cancelling Netflix, because of how many times they're increasing their price. It's just getting ridiculous. And also, they're still charging so much, even for people, who choose plans that are extremely low quality video."

Catrin: So in this case, price really is an important consideration in weighing up value. People maybe feel like the quality isn't there, but that's not actually pushing them to cancel their streaming services. But when the price increases, or when there's a sense that people are paying too much or could be paying less elsewhere, there is a real drive to actually take action and change the service that we subscribe to.

So that was a Brox.ai deep dive into exactly what is value, and we found that it's incredibly complicated and definitely something worth talking about. Make sure to sign up for our weekly updates by clicking the link in the description, or going to brox.ai/data-stories. Join us again next week, where we'll be diving into a new topic and a new set of sectors and hearing lots more from our brox.ai panelists.

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