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International influences on Britain are constantly evolving and it seems that the vast majority of consumers are benefitting as a result. New research from Mintel’s flagship British Lifestyles report finds that three quarters (74%) of UK consumers claim to have felt at least one benefit of globalisation personally, with over half (53%) feeling three or more benefits.

What’s more, the research finds that the positive influence of internationalism is more likely to be felt by younger generations, with 62% of Younger Millennials and 63% of Older Millennials claiming to have felt three or more benefits of globalisation.

Ina Mitskavets, Senior Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Britain now stands at the intersection of tradition and innovation spurred on by globalised markets, which can be an uncomfortable place for some established domestic businesses. But numerous benefits in the form of lower prices and increased product variety, to name a few, appear to outweigh the short-term pain in the eyes of the consumer.”

Topping the list of the benefits of globalisation is technology, with over half (55%) of Brits agreeing that access to cheaper technology products benefits Britain as a country and 51% saying it benefits them personally. Furthermore, cheaper international travel is seen as a benefit to Britain by 50% of UK consumers, whilst 44% agree it benefits them personally.

Whilst these factors are particularly enjoyed as a result of the positive impact on the nation’s bank balances, it seems consumers also enjoy the added choice that foreign influences bring. Indeed, availability of both British and international brands in local retailers is seen as a plus, with three in five (59%) agreeing this benefits Britain as a country and two in five (41%) agreeing it benefits them personally. Furthermore, over half (54%) agree that the variety of ethnic restaurants in Britain benefits Britain as a country, whilst 36% say it benefits them personally.

Three quarters (74%) of UK consumers claim to have felt at least one benefit of globalisation personally

“The personal benefits of globalisation have a more immediate impact on people’s finances and well-being. This explains why high proportions of Brits believe that globalisation has given them better access to cheaper technology and international travel, whilst many also appreciate availability of both British and foreign brands in shops and a greater variety of ethnic food and drink on supermarket shelves.” Ina adds.

Moreover, outside of retail and consumer markets Britons overwhelmingly agree that the influence of globalisation holds benefits for Britain. Four in five (79%) for instance claim that Britain doing business and trading with other countries benefits Britain as a country, whilst 78% say the same of global companies investing in Britain. Additionally, two thirds (66%) say that job opportunities at international companies in Britain benefits the UK, whilst 64% say the same of cultural links between Britain and other countries.

Whilst highlighting the positives in globalisation, Mintel’s research also found the strong consumer following for Brand Britain. Over two in five (44%) of Brits agree they prefer buying British brands and products when shopping for food in the home, whilst 28% say they like to buy British fashion and footwear and 26% say they prefer purchasing British furniture and home accessories.

Furthermore, Mintel’s research shows that the demand for British products across nearly all categories, bar alcoholic drinks, is driven by the older generations. Three quarters (74%) of the Swing Generation state they prefer buying British food for eating at home, compared to just a third (37%) of Generation X and Older Millennial consumers. What’s more, whilst almost half (45%) of the Swing Generation say they prefer buying British clothing and accessories, just 24% of Older Millennials agree the same.

“Britishness is especially effective when marketing to older consumers, who put more trust in the quality, safety and value for money they associate with products that are ‘Made in the UK’. Perhaps it is simply something that they are used to from childhood, something that provides extra reassurance and comfort.”

Younger Millennials however do show signs of a preference towards British products, with almost a third (31%) agreeing they prefer to purchase British alcoholic drinks for drinking at home, compared to a national average of 22%. In addition, over a quarter (27%) claim to prefer buying British beauty products and toiletries, a three percentage-point increase on the average of 24% of consumers.

“Whilst Millennials are also developing a taste for British brands and in some cases even matching the enthusiasm of their older counterparts, on the whole, Britishness remains considerably less important to shoppers the younger they are. Retailers therefore should look to the other end of the age spectrum and work out how to balance the needs of consumers from different generations without compromising their bottom line.” Ina adds.

Indeed, when questioned on which attributes they associated with British brands and products, good quality came out top with almost three quarters (73%) agreeing with this, whilst safe to use was identified by three in five (58%) and good value for money was picked by half (51%).

“Having basked in the glory of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Brand Britain now needs to figure out how to capitalise on opportunities provided by the increased pace of globalisation and also address the unique challenges open markets present.” Ina concludes.

Press review copies of the British Lifestyles 2015: At the Intersection of Tradition and Globalisation report and interviews with Senior Lifestyles and Consumer Analyst, Ina Mitskavets, are available on request from the press office.

For all you need to know about consumer spending in 2015 – including an indepth overview of market opportunities and challenges, as well as exclusive consumer data – please visit www.mintel.com/thefifty to download your free 80-page e-book now.

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