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Key take-aways

Key take-aways

Everybody’s happy (or trying to be)

Spanish people are among the happiest in Europe, with nearly nine in every 10 citizens saying they are generally content, and a huge majority reporting feeling healthy – a key element of overall happiness. Very few people compared to the European average say they feel alone, and this also contributes to health and happiness. Kantar TNS research finds that almost half of Spanish people rate health as the most important factors in happiness and getting ahead in life, more than having a good education or working hard.

Consumers have their suspicions

Over half of Spanish people say they encounter “fake news” almost every day, making the most likely in Europe to say they’re exposed to it, but also among the least confident about being able to identify what’s real from what’s fake or misleading. This is a concern given that it’s almost universally believed that fake news is damaging to democracy and to Spain’s future. Honesty and transparency are especially important in this climate.

Superfoods boost shopping basket value

Spending on groceries is growing at the rate of around 1 percent a year, but a growing focus on health is leading to surges in consumption of products perceived to improve wellbeing. So-called superfoods, such as avocado, salmon, cabbage and cod are all seeing a boom in popularity, along with chickpeas, lentils, nuts and organic (bio) produce, which is up 14 percent. Around 38 percent of shoppers say they’re willing to pay a premium for goods with a health benefit.

There’s more to health than diet

In addition to seeking out healthier food options, Spanish people are looking for ways to improve their mental and physical by getting enough sleep, having the right blend of vitamins and minerals, and being able to monitor their activity and other health indicators with electronic devices. There’s a role here for tech, leisure and even apparel brands in helping them achieve better health.

Privacy beats convenience

Internet users are deeply concerned about the amount of personal data that businesses hold on them, to the extent that over half say they want greater control over their privacy, even if that means missing out on opportunities to make their lives easier or more comfortable. There’s also less excitement and more fear in Spain about what new technology such as AI will bring than there is in the rest of the world. Brands seeking consumers’ information must therefore clearly show what the trade-off is, and make sure the benefits for individuals are substantial. 

Small is beautiful

There’s a preference for buying from small businesses rather than global names, but the desire to buy local, while still strong, has declined slightly in recent years. The reasons why consumers say they would opt for a product or service from a small business over one from a global brand is likely to be less about it being better quality, and more about supporting local communities and creating jobs.

Ads that don’t sparkle cause just irritate

There’s little tolerance for advertising that doesn’t immediately entertain or provide truly useful entertainment, so brands have to really shine, and do it fast, if they’re to prevent someone skipping or tuning out. Branded content is generally seen as less annoying than traditional ads, with tutorials and reviews seen as particularly helpful, and people of all ages are united in loving a good laugh.

Use the small screen – but think of all screens

For brands targeting the youngest consumers, mobile-friendly communications are essential. But Spain is a market in which laptops are still widely used. In fact, even among Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s) there are more people who say they use a laptop for an hour or more a day than say they use a mobile. Among the older Generation X (aged in their 40s and 50s) 80 percent regularly use a laptop, even though most also have a mobile phone.

‘Old’ media is still a big part of people’s lives

The television set in the corner of the room might seem quaint now compared to online video, but it’s still winning with Spanish consumers; between 60 and 81 percent of people say they tune in at least daily, and while age increases the likelihood they’ll be watching TV, the young are still watching in big numbers. Print is in decline, but radio listenership is rising, as is what’s perhaps the oldest advertising medium of all, outdoor, which reaches around two-thirds of the Spanish population every day.

Cash is losing its allure

This has traditionally been a cash market, but contactless card payment has taken off in the past year, and around a quarter of Spanish adults now use a “mobile wallet”. Many of the Spanish banks have launched their own mobile wallet services, including La Caixa Bank  with CaixaBank Pay, BBVA with the BBVA Wallet, and Santander with Apple and Samsung Pay. This is part of a global trend; in the past four years, worldwide use of mobile payment has almost tripled.

If you interrupt, have a really, really good reason

There are many reasons why consumers resort to downloading ad blockers: ads use up their data allowance, they’re a distraction, and they get in the way of what people are looking for. But Spanish consumers’ main objections to online ads are that they’re annoying, they interrupt, and the ads they’re served are irrelevant to them. All of this can be remedied by more careful targeting, and development of stronger creative that’s compelling to the people on the receiving end of it.

One plus one can equal more than two

There’s a time for using TV, and some situations when brands can have more impact by using social media. But the impact of a campaign that works across multiple screens and platforms can have a result that’s greater than the sum of its individual parts. Research into sales attributed to television and to social media shows that when both are used in combination and a consumer is exposed to both, that person becomes twice as likely to buy as had they only seen either one or the other.

Brands need to show they can be trusted

Personal confidence might be generally up, but trust in institutions and the government is down right now. There’s a growing need for honesty and transparency from brands in Spain – not least because trust is closely linked to recommendation, and recommendation is increasingly important in the digital age. Be clear and be credible; if a brand makes a claim about a product or service it must be absolutely true, with no fine print that provides a get-out for the brand.

The personal touch is important

Spaniards aren’t the most demanding of consumers, but they do appreciate great service and something that’s been made just for them. Over two-thirds of consumers expect the opportunity to customize products and services to their needs to some extent; while this puts pressure on brands, it also provides an opportunity to charge premium prices and provide higher levels of satisfaction to earn loyalty.

Time is the ultimate luxury

Consumers are loosening their grip on their wallets and treating themselves, but the greatest treat of all is free time to spend with the people special to them. Around a third more Spanish adults now than a year ago are saying they wish they had more time to spend with others. This means they’re looking for brands that can anticipate their needs and free them up to do more important things.

Pollution is a big problem

The issues weighing most heavily on Spanish consumers’ minds are corruption and the possibility of an economic downturn but, after that, concerns about pollution are the biggest issue keeping people up at night. Here, the opportunity for brands is to highlight such benefits as the use of recycled materials or the possibility to recycle used goods, low “food miles” because of local sourcing policies, and other green policies that improve the air and waterways.

Living matters more than shopping

Consumers worldwide are expressing a preference for meaningful, memorable experiences over simply acquiring more things. But in Spain, people want a certain kind of experience. They want to do something that makes them feel special. They’d also rather relax than experience something new and exciting, which is quite a different response to consumers globally. And, when asked whether they’d enjoy experiences that help them help other people, Spanish consumers are less likely that people in other countries to say yes. Or perhaps they’re just more honest.

Be sure that the price is right

Spanish consumers might be spending more than a couple of years ago, but they’re still more price-sensitive than many of their fellow consumers in other markets, and often say they’re more interested in price than brand. In fact, in Spain, people are less likely than the global average to say they find famous global brands provide reassurance on quality. Brands therefore need to make sure they clearly justify any premium.

Looking good matters

But in Spain, particularly among older consumers, the reason is often not to impress or attract other people. Rather, people feel confident and their mood improves when they feel they’re looking their best and this is the main reason they’ll pay attention to things like hair, skin and how they dress. Motivations are slightly different among younger age groups, for whom the perfect selfie is a powerful motivator to take care of their appearance and always present their best side.