Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Consumer Rights Day: four in ten Brits prefer ‘nudge-free’ marketing

This Consumer Rights Day, new research from Twilio reveals that almost four in ten (39%) UK consumers would prefer to never encounter ‘nudge’ marketing and sales tactics – such as countdown clocks, ‘last chance to buy’ notifications, and email chasers prompting them to complete abandoned transactions. 

Over two thirds of consumers (67%) consider such tactics to be misleading and that they create a false sense of urgency. While these tactics may encourage consumers to rush to hit ‘check out’, the knock-on effects of applying pressure are often at the detriment of the brand. Almost six in ten consumers (57%) have abandoned transactions due to nudge marketing, seven in ten (70%) don’t trust the authenticity of such tactics, and 65% avoid brands using such tactics entirely – suggesting that many brands need to take a more personalised approach to sharing offers and products with their customers.   

When asked how these tactics made them feel, consumers cited ‘frustrated’ (39%), ‘tricked’ (22%), and even ‘panicked’ (13%). However, one in ten (10%) said they felt grateful for the reminders – so it is important for brands to recognise when and where these ‘nudges’ would be welcomed. 

Sam Richardson, Customer Engagement Expert at Twilio, commented on the findings: “Brands need to evolve their approach to prioritise getting to know every customer on an individual basis, including their needs, interests, and preferences. Leveraging first-party data that customers willingly share can help brands better understand what customers want to see and when, without applying unnecessary pressure. This means companies are more likely to get it right the first time around, removing the need for follow-ups.

“There’s a time and a place for nudges. Things like appointment reminders, or ‘back in stock’ notifications that customers request are value-adds that provide greater convenience and transparency to brand-customer interactions.”

Almost a third (31%) of consumers said they are open to nudges, but only when there is genuine urgency, while 17% wanted regular reminders for products they’ve shown interest in so they don’t miss out. This finding reinforces that brands need to pay close attention to customer behaviours to engage them with the right message, at the right time. 

Richardson said: “There’s a huge difference between sharing useful offers, promotions, and reminders, and then applying unwanted pressure. It’s important for brands to listen to what consumers are saying here. 

“Having access to first-party data, in real time, can help brands to deliver highly personalised customer interactions – in their preferred format and on their preferred channel. It will also give brands the power to foresee when follow-ups and reminders are likely to strike the wrong or right chord. For example, if a customer is already in touch with a customer service complaint, promotional emails are unlikely to resonate. There’s a significant opportunity for brands to get this right and take us into a new era of respectful marketing practices.”

The research is based on a survey conducted by Censuswide in March 2024, which targeted over 2,000 nationally representative UK consumers, aged 16+.