Conventional marketing wisdom tells us that there are many factors which determine how customers choose which brand to go with from all the available options.
These include price, utility, perceived superiority and lifestyle fit, amongst others.
Yet a new study suggests that there is one factor above all others which drives the success of brands: consumer habits.
The study, titled 'Consumers Buy On Autopilot", was undertaken by consumer insight group BrandHook and examines the role that habit forms in purchasing decisions.
It reveals that 46 per cent of people's daily lives are based on habit, and 58 per cent of people agreed that once they have found a brand or product, they like to stick with it.
Furthermore, women are more likely to develop routines than men – an important fact considering that they make 85 per cent of purchase decisions, according to Nielson Net Ratings.
BrandHook argues that in light of this, the traditional marketing model – making customers aware of products, stimulating their interest and desire, and then action – could use updating.
"We would argue that the better framework to use is understanding those who crave your brand – those who are using your brand on autopilot where there is regular action and engagement but an unconscious response to buying and using you," the report says.
BrandHook partner Pip Stocks says that being able to understand consumer habits and how they are formed could drive "improved brand performance".
"Increases in repeat purchase and consumption are linked to increases in market share, customer lifetime value and share of wallet," said Ms Stocks.
Businesses that are themselves on autopilot when it comes to customer behaviour may lose out in the long run – a good reason to implement customer feedback surveys.
Online survey software can help you to really understand what is influencing the habits of your customers.