The decline in reliance on experts (for product recommendations)
“People in this country have had enough of experts”, Michael Gove was famously quoted as saying in the run-up to the 2016 EU Referendum. His evidence for the remark is unknown, but TGI data held within AMSR suggests some justification for it – at least in relation to product recommendations.
In 1987, 43% of adults agreed that “I feel reassured using products recommended by an expert”. By 2012 this had dropped to 28%. It wasn’t so much that many more were disagreeing – just that they weren’t sure. The largest group in 2012 was those who didn’t have a view either way (42%).
There’s quite a variation across age groups in this change. In 1987 the group seeking most reassurance were those aged 55 and over: 48% agreed with the statement. If they lacked confidence in their consumer choices, perhaps an advertisement featuring the stereotypical man in a white coat would help to convince them. Younger adults, especially those aged 15-34, claimed less of a need.
By 2012 this had reversed. 15-34s were now the group expressing the greatest need for reassurance (36% agreed). The forms in which they might seek it have changed – product discovery or reassurance through online influence and social media may well be playing a part in their purchase decisions.
Meanwhile the 55+ group report themselves as much more self-confident than their equivalents of a generation ago. Only 24% agreed with the statement. Or perhaps they really are more jaundiced, in which case Michael Gove may have been onto something after all.
Story by Geoff Wicken
TGI (Target Group Index) is a continuous survey which has been carried out in Great Britain since 1969, based on 25,000 adults per annum, who provide information on their use of all major products, brands and services. Media exposure, attitudinal and demographic data are also included. Kantar, who own and operate the TGI (Target Group Index) are making major donations of data to AMSR.
To explore the TGI archive within AMSR, click here. (This link to the archive contents will open as a separate page)