Marks & Spencer: New study reveals average Brit makes 15 decisions on autopilot a day

Average Brit says ‘yes’ to FOUR things they should say ’no’ to every day because they live in fear of letting others down

London, 2017-May-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — The UK is an ‘autopilot’ nation in danger of sleep-walking through the choices we make, according to a new cultural report released today (11 May 2017). The average person in Britain makes 15 decisions on autopilot a day – that’s more than 250,000 autopilot decisions in a lifetime – without truly thinking about them.

The ‘Autopilot Britain’ study was conducted on behalf of Marks & Spencer with a panel of leading experts as part of its new #SpenditWell campaign, and explores the decision-making behaviour of over 3,000 adults.Ninety-six per cent admit to living life on autopilot, resulting in an epidemic of non-engagement with the world and sub-conscious decision making. These autopilot decisions range from what to wear in the morning to what to have for lunch or dinner – and even extend to what to do at the weekend.  As a result, M&S is urging the UK to break out of autopilot and make every decision count on 1 June 2017, as the nation comes together for Make it Matter Day to focus on finding the time for the everyday things that really matter in life.

The research findings show that our autopilot reflex is triggering negative habits, with the majority of people allowing routine to dictate their decisions, defaulting to ‘yes’ mode when – if they gave themselves more time to make the right choices – their natural instinct would be to say ‘no’. cording to the research, we say ‘yes’ four times a day when we wish we hadn’t, resulting in 70,000 moments of being untrue to ourselves and drowning out our inner voice over the course of a lifetime.  Almost half of adults (47 per cent) admit this is because they don’t want to let people down and over a third (37 per cent) believe it’s simply easier to say ‘yes’ than ‘no’ to others.

Despite the scale of the problem, the majority (81 per cent) said if they could simply change one small thing every day, it would give them greater clarity of thought and help release them from the autopilot epidemic.

When it comes to the top three situations where Brits are most likely to say ‘yes’ when they really wish they’d said ‘no’, more than a quarter (26 per cent) highlighted agreeing to work late, closely followed by saying ‘yes’ to a social event they know they won’t attend, and visiting people they don’t get on with.

Commenting on the research, Steve Rowe, CEO, M&S said: “Our in-depth customer study has shown that living life on autopilot is a direct consequence of us being so hectic and means that we don’t always get the most out of life. However, for most people one small change a day can make a huge difference. That’s why we are calling on the nation to stop saying yes to things that don’t matter and start making more conscious decisions.  Starting on Make it Matter Day on 1 June, we want our customers to share with us just how they are making decisions that count.”

Make it Matter Day will see M&S call on the nation to turn their four daily autopilot decisions into more enriching, empowered choices, to say ‘no’ instead of defaulting to ‘yes’, and to share these everyday triumphs to help inspire others.

The study also found that being too busy to notice what decisions we make, the dominance of technology and spending too much time comparing ourselves unfavourably to others, means Britons are trapped in autopilot mode with 61 per cent sticking to the same, familiar patterns.

“Autopilot is a growing problem,” said Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness and contributor to the study.  “It has gone from being an evolutionary protection mechanism that stopped our brains overloading, to our default mode of operating whereby we sleep-walk into our choices.  It has seeped into more and more areas of our lives and relationships making us feel out of control.

“We are always on.  If you pause, you risk letting yourself or others down. When you stand still, it’s perceived that you’re going backwards. As we look around us, it seems like other people are living successful, perfect lives.  Autopilot makes it harder for us to make instinctively good choices so we feel trapped, and that we’re living some-one else’s life.”

The autopilot epidemic means:

  • Over a third (39 per cent) say their autopilot is switched on while relaxing at home – exactly when they should be engaging with the people who matter most, while a quarter of people admit to being on autopilot while at work
  • Seventy-six per cent of people feel they are not spending their time well, with one in five admitting to not properly listening to others when in autopilot mode
  • Over two fifths of adults (44 per cent) have forgotten something whilst on autopilot including birthdays, paying an important bill, locking the front door and even picking the children up from school

“We’re forgetting that when we are at home, one of the most important things is to interact with our family members without being constantly distracted,” says Professor Renata Salecl, author of ‘Tyranny of Choice’, and another expert involved in the Autopilot Britain study.

What kind of ‘autopilot’ are you?
According to the study, acting on autopilot doesn’t affect everyone in the same way and people need to be aware of their own personal autopilots and how they impact on daily life. “The first step is really recognising what is going on and encouraging people to notice what their autopilot behaviours are because then you’ve started the journey to changing that,” says Dr Mark Williamson.

“It is within our grasp to liberate ourselves from life on autopilot if we notice what’s going on and purposefully create more positive habits. By understanding the problem, we can identify better everyday solutions,” said Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness.

The study has identified a set of useful archetypes in order to help people recognise their own versions of autopilot:

Problem: They find it so hard to say anything other than yes that obligations pile up and the internal voice pleading them to say “no” gets drowned out.  By trying to please everyone they end up resentful of their to-do list and not focussing on what matters.

Solution: Start with a calendar cull.  Review your diary every Sunday evening and identify and cancel any engagements which aren’t necessary or you said yes to under pressure. And in the everyday, buy yourself time to say no by needing to ‘check and see.’

Problem: On a mission to always find “what’s next”, the Pacers are so caught up in the pace of modern life that they pack as much as possible into their days – relentlessly busy “doing” rather than “being”.

Solution: Live in the now, start to list the things that matter, think around pockets of time and how to use them, and pause to look around and see how small changes can improve your pace of life around what matters. The average phone is unlocked 80 times a day for example – finding tech downtime for conversation, listening and appreciating others might be a valuable starting point.

Problem: Overwhelmed with choice and information, like a rabbit caught in the headlights they sometimes struggle through life allowing the world around them to dictate their choices, and following the crowd too often.

Solution:  Pay less attention to the perception of others ideal lives, stop worrying about keeping up with what others might showcase as the norm, and start to make decisions on what spending it well looks like just for you. Maybe change your commute pattern, download a podcast that reinvigorates your walk, or break the mould and choose to use your best ‘things’ every day, rather than keep them for a special occasion.

The Autopilot Britain research has been commissioned as part of #SpenditWell, a new campaign from M&S to inspire the nation to make the most out of every moment.

Notes to Editors
M&S’s Autopilot Britain research surveyed 3,000 adults across the UK aged 18-60+ with Opinium.  The cultural intelligence report has been conducted with cross-disciplinary experts including Dr Mark Williamson, Director, Action for Happiness and Professor Renata Salecl, Birbeck College, University of London.

The top ten things we say ‘yes’ to when we want to say ‘no’:
1 Working late
2 To a social event we know we won’t go to
3 Visiting people we don’t get on with
4 Going for after work drinks
5 Giving into the kids for an easy life
6 Offering to look after someone else’s kids…or pets
7 Team-building days
8 Agreeing to give a speech
9 Going to a partner’s work event
10 Going on holiday with extended family or friends

The top ten times we slip into autopilot mode:
1 When choosing what to watch on TV
2 The commute
3 Choosing what we wear
4 Replying to emails
5 Choosing what we want for lunch or dinner
6 In our down time
7 When choosing from a restaurant menu
8 Weekend planning
9 Choosing where to meet friends
10 Planning school lunchboxes

The top ten things we forget when on autopilot:
1 Someone’s name
2 Returning calls
3 Packing something vital for a trip
4 Saying thank you
5 Smiling
6 To turn up to places when you say you will
7 Waiting for your change in a shop
8 Personal grooming
9 Paying a bill
10 Saying I love you

For further information, please contact:<
Libby Rowley
07902 679 121 / 020 3861 3866

Suzannah Brown
07850 532 600 / 020 3861 3876

Source: Marks & Spencer

Waitrose Commercial Director Mark Williamson to retire

London, 2016-Sep-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Mark Williamson, Commercial Director at Waitrose, is to retire at the end of January 2017.

Rupert Thomas, currently Marketing Director at Waitrose, will move into the Commercial Director role from February 2017.  Rupert’s replacement will be announced at a later date.

Mark joined Waitrose in 2004 and has been on its Management Board for 10 years.  He will continue as Chair of the Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – a role he took up earlier this year.

Rob Collins, Managing Director, said:  ‘Mark has done a fantastic job and achieved  great things on the commercial front; he’s been a valued board colleague, bringing wisdom and experience to our work.  I’m delighted that he continues as Chairman of Leckford  so that we will still benefit from his contribution to our business.

‘Rupert, our very successful Marketing Director, also has strong commercial experience.  He joined Waitrose in 2003 having spent over ten years in various commercial and marketing roles; his first job with us was heading our Grocery and Fruit buying teams.  He is the ideal candidate to pick up the baton from Mark and I wish them both well for the future.’

Waitrose – winner of the Best Supermarket1 and Best Food Retailer2 awards- currently has 350 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop – dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service.  Waitrose also exports its products to countries worldwide and has eight shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. Waitrose’s omnichannel business includes the online grocery service, as well as specialist online shops including for wine and for cookware, utensils and kithchen gadgets.

¹ Which? Customer Survey
² Verdict Customer Satisfaction Awards


For further information, please contact:

Gill Smith
Senior PR Manager (Corporate)
Telephone: 01344 825165

Source: John Lewis Partnership

Waitrose to export to China for the first time via a website platform

LONDON, 2016-Apr-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Waitrose is to export to China for the first time from 18 April after reaching an agreement to sell products online with the retailer predicting it could become its biggest international business in the next three to five years.

It will be the first time the UK supermarket has exported to a country via a website platform only and will give the world’s fastest growing ecommerce market access to products and ranges, including Waitrose Duchy Organic, Waitrose Baby and later this year, essential Waitrose and Waitrose 1*.

Waitrose products will be sold exclusively through the Royal Mail store on Tmall Global, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba Group.

Tmall is China’s largest third party online platform for brands and retailers to connect with hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers. Waitrose has arranged the deal through Avenue51, who runs Royal Mail’s store on Tmall Global.

The Royal Mail store specialises in championing British companies and Waitrose will be one of its highest profile brands to date. There will be a dedicated Waitrose page within the Royal Mail’s online store with information about the brand for its new customers in China alongside the product listings.

An initial 30 products will be available from the Waitrose offer, including biscuits, tea, coffee, cereals and nuts as well as beauty, baby and organic ranges with more lines set to be added shortly after the launch.

Shoppers will be able to choose from favourites like the supermarket’s Earl Grey tea and Waitrose Duchy Organic Shortbread to the ever popular own label Baby bottom butter.

A report researched and compiled by e-retail analysts, Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), in 2014 highlighted the potential of the Chinese online market. It estimated that less than half of China’s 1.36 billion population was using the internet, despite it already being the world’s largest ecommerce market. In addition, the number of mobile internet users in China had grown by more than eight times in the last five years and was expected to surpass 700m this year.

Waitrose commercial director, Mark Williamson, said: ‘The potential for Waitrose in China is huge and although it’s a relatively modest start it’s our ambition to see it become our biggest international business in the next three to five years. We are proud that Waitrose is recognised around the world for quality and excited to be reaching new markets.’

Richard Snowdon, international director at Royal Mail, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Waitrose to the Royal Mail store and to offer its products to Chinese consumers. Our Tmall Global shop front brings British brands together with hundreds of millions of shoppers in China. For British retailers and exporters, Royal Mail offers an accelerated opportunity to access the China market and for consumers, we provide a distinctive range of quality British products delivered right to their door.’

Amee Chande, managing director, UK/Ireland & Nordics, from Alibaba Group, said: ‘Chinese consumers seek out high quality British brands and Alibaba is happy to provide the platform for Waitrose to introduce its products to China’s homes and kitchens. Waitrose joins a number of leading British brands already available through the Royal Mail Store on Tmall Global and we hope that many others will follow given the potential that China offers to their business and the demand that exists for British products.’

Chao Liu, chief commercial officer of Avenue51, added: ‘Avenue51 is proud that Waitrose has chosen to partner with us to drive the expansion of Waitrose’s business into China via e-commerce. The Chinese market presents the world’s greatest opportunity for retailers such as Waitrose and businesses like Royal Mail, which are seen as desirable and aspirational brands by hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers.’

Notes to editors


  • *Waitrose 1 launches in the UK in April and will offer customers the very best of Waitrose with one simple yet distinctive brand for its premium food.
  • China will become the 59th country Waitrose now exports to. It already exports own-label and branded goods to countries, including Spain, India, Singapore, Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa, Barbados, Bermuda, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Grenada, Trinidad, Saudi Arabia and St Lucia.
  • Its supermarket customers include Food Lover’s Market in South Africa, Unimarc in Chile, Park N Shop in Hong Kong, Eroski in Gibraltar, and Arkadia in Malta.
  • Waitrose products are in department stores in South Korea and Switzerland.
  • Waitrose has just opened its eighth shop in the Middle East.
  • Waitrose currently has 346 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 60 convenience branches.

Royal Mail plc:

  • Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (‘UKPIL’) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the ‘Royal Mail’ and ‘Parcelforce Worldwide’ brands.
  • Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels.


  • Avenue51 is the UK’s leading Chinese e-commerce specialist service provider.
  • The company offers a range of vertically integrated B2B and B2C solutions which enable British brands to reach almost all of China’s online consumers through a single integration to multiple Chinese online marketplaces.
  • Avenue51 combines a complete logistics and order management solution with website development, customer service, design and consumer marketing solutions and works with over 50 British brands, from SMEs to the largest public companies.
  • In 2016 Avenue51 was shortlisted for Startup of the Year in the Guardian Small Business Showcase competition.

For further information please contact:
James Armstrong
Waitrose Corporate Communications Manager
Telephone: 01344 824657
Mobile: 07764676880

Waitrose to pay 33.1 p per litre to Waitrose dairy farmers for the milk they provide to the retailer

LONDON, 2015-1-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Waitrose has confirmed the fair and leading price its pool of essential Waitrose dairy farmers receive for the milk they provide to the retailer. This currently stands at 33.1 p per litre (equivalent to 75.2p for four pints).

Unlike many other retailers, Waitrose sources its milk from a closed producer group of 100 farmers.

This means that instead of working through a processor, Waitrose closely collaborates directly with its farmers to set a price taking into account the cost of production and investing in programmes to strengthen farm resilience.

Mark Williamson, Commercial Director at Waitrose, said: ‘We believe it is important our farmers receive a fair price that gives them a sustainable return.

‘We have built mutual trust and understanding through our long-term relationships and source our milk from an established group of farmers under our pioneering producer group system.

‘To set a fair price we collaborate closely with our farmers, meeting regularly to share the details of the cost of production.

‘Waitrose is consistently at, or very close to, the top of the league table for the price our farmers receive for their milk and this has been the case for many years.

‘We pay this fair price because it gives farmers the reassurance and confidence to invest in their businesses. Farmers are the key to a thriving agricultural economy and it is important they receive a sustainable return for the top quality milk they provide.

‘Simply put, we want our farmers to have the confidence to stay in farming.’

Notes to editors

About Waitrose:

  • As part of the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose employees own the business ensuring a high level of commitment and service.
  • Waitrose currently has 336 branches dedicated to offering quality fresh food, value and customer service.
  • The food shop enjoys one of the best reputations for dealing with farmers and suppliersIt champions British produce; for example, 100% of Waitrose fresh chicken, beef, pork, milk, eggs and cream are British.
  • Waitrose branches now offer over 2,500 locally and regionally sourced products.Its ‘Community Matters’ scheme ensures each Waitrose branch gives away £1,000 every month to local charities and projects nominated by the community.


For further information please contact:

Rob Cadwell
Senior Press Officer at Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 826182