Posts Tagged ‘consumer behaviour’

10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2013

top trends
Increasingly it seems that technology is shaping how consumers interact with brands and is governing new patterns in how commerce takes place.

According to a new report by telecommunications giant, Ericsson, there are ten new observable trends for consumers this year that have fascinating implications for how technology is impacting on our society, with interesting fault lines emerging across age, gender and urban/regional divides.

To see this fascinating infographic in full, you can click here but for ease of reference, here are the key findings:

1. Reliance on Cloud computing reshapes computer usage: more than 50% of users preferred mobile and tablet devices and increasingly demanded the same access to all of their apps and for key data to be available across all platforms.

2. Computing for a scattered mind: rather than structuring their time and lives around technology, consumers now expect their devices to work around their lifestyle, with purchase rates for smartphones and tablets outstripping that for PCs.

3. BYO Broadband: more than half of all smartphone users now bring these devices to work, using their own broadband while in the office, and integrating their work and life data and useage.

4. Mobile coverage key to quality of life: where once a key determinant of urban happiness was measured by water pressure or TV reception, these measures have been replaced by the mobile telephone coverage strength as a yardstick of metropolitan quality of life.

5. DIY self-promotion: although in years gone by most people used recruitment agencies to find new work opportunities, these days it seems LinkedIn and Tweeting your CV are the new ways to get yourself hired.

6. Women driving on smartphone highway: women are outstripping men as the most frequent users of smartphones,  with the bulk of use centred around sending/receiving SMS and sharing photos.

7. Social networks big in the cities: city dwellers are using social networks far more than the country cousins, with most using it to either update or stay up to date with friends and family, and the remainder using it to share and exchange ideas. This finding prompts the question about whether regional and remote communities still catch up the old fashioned way – i.e. face to face or on the telephone.

8. In-line shopping: no, this is not about picking out new rollerblades. Instead, a new phenomenon has emerged where consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to purchase online while they are actually in store.  Apparently the buyer wants to visit the store to view the merchandise but then can’t be bothered queuing up to pay for it. Fascinating!

9. TV goes social: apparently watching TV is not stimulating enough, we feel the need to share while watching – users said they used social media while watching TV, and were more likely to pay for content that could be watched in a social context.

10. Learning in transformation: Younger people are bringing their technology to the learning space, at the same time that workplaces and education and training providers are finding new ways to enable mobile and home-based participation.

How is technology impacting upon your workspace? I would be interested to know your thoughts on this research, and discover if these findings ring true for you. Is technology exacerbating the divisions we have according to age, gender and location, or merely shining a light upon existing schisms?

136d5eca5dd605591de0c90c68ce88adYours in PR

2013 – What Does the Future Hold?

Future Trends
As the year draws close to closing, in our minds we prepare for what the new year will bring, and given this, I thought it opportune to share what the futurists are predicting as the big new trends in consumer behaviour for our immediate future.

A report released by EuroMonitor has revealed their picks for the top 10 trends that will emerge over the next five years, and their list makes for fascinating reading.

Top 10 Trends For the Next Five Years:

1. The search for value: One of the key outcomes of the recession was that consumers reigned in spending and became much more cautious about how, when and where they shopped. With recovery slow and employment high, this thrifty mindset looks set to continue over the next five years.

2. A more cautious approach to credit: Since the start of the recession, consumers in developed markets have prioritised the need to live within their means and have tended to acquire new credit only for larger, specific purchases.

3. People power: In a new age of cautiousness and considered purchasing, consumers no longer take marketing at face value. Individuals are taking it upon themselves to carry out their own research, make their opinions known and take a more active role in product development and promotion.

4. Multicultural consumerism: Societies are becoming more multicultural as developed markets see an influx of migrant workers and foreign students, while existing ethnic populations expand. In the US, babies born to minority groups represented a majority of all births for the first time in 2012.

5. The fight against obesity: Despite the growing trend towards health and wellness, obesity rates have reached record levels and continue to grow, albeit more slowly than before. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity rates have doubled since 1980.

6. New attitudes towards growing old: As populations have aged and society has become more liberal, attitudes towards youth, middle- and old-age have changed markedly, blurring the traditionally-perceived boundaries of age-appropriate fashion and lifestyles.

7. Experience-based consumption: Since the start of recession, consumers in developed markets have focused less on conspicuous consumption and the gain of material possessions, and more on seeking out mood-boosting or even life-changing experiences.

8. The rise in social responsibility: Despite consumers having become more value-conscious since the start of the recession, there are also signs that many have become more compassionate and socially responsible.

9. The chemical backlash: As consumers worry increasingly about their health and wellness and the effects of potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday products, demand for natural ingredients in everything from packaged food to toiletries continues to grow.

10. Mobile cocooning: Consumers worldwide are becoming addicted to smart devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers as they are able to fulfill an ever growing multitude of tasks anywhere and at any time, from shopping, entertaining and networking to banking, education and GPS.

How do you feel about these trend predictions? In my own business and from personal experience I can verify the push towards creating ‘stories’, adding ‘value’, making personal connections through content, and the push towards mobile everything – news, travel, commerce, sales.  As a society, and as business cultures, we are becoming more agile, more value-oriented, more cynical, searching for meaning, and looking for authentic experiences, and this is as true in PR as in any other industry.

How do we translate these general trends into how our consumers research, plan and buy what we have to sell? That is our challenge for 2013.

Are these new trends already affecting your business? Write and let me know!

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR

How to Reach Presumers (Pre-Consumers)

 

We have all heard the expression that the customer is always right, and in our current market, the consumer is more in control now than at any time in our history.  Expectations are running at an all-time high as consumers want the best, they want it now and first, and they want a real, human connection, too.

The demand for consumers to be in charge of their purchasing decisions has driven a new phenomenon – consumers are now PRESUMERS.  Rather than waiting for a product to be developed, attending the launch and making an order, consumers are now TELLING companies what products they want, helping to design them, and via crowdsourcing and rampant self-entrepreneurship are doing it for themselves and circumventing traditional methods altogether.

This appeals to a key element of human nature.  We love to get the first look at something – the sneak peek, the insider insight, the first look and PRESUMERS love nothing more than getting involved with, pushing, funding, and promoting products and services before they are available.

So what are the key factors driving this trend towards PRESUMERS?

According to Trendwatching, the five drivers converting consumers into presumers are:

1. FIRSTISM: More, faster, better, special, now

While the desire for something new is, well… nothing new, what is different is how consumers now seek to make purchases and shop in the future tense.  By helping to develop products that are not available yet, they are literally consuming their own future.

2. STORIES: Great story, great status

Having what is new, before it is even available, is all about bragging rights and status for the consumer, so, naturally, being a presumer is the ultimate in consumers showing off. Getting something before everyone else, in fact being involved in developing a new product is the ultimate consumer brag, perfect for sharing via tweet, post, status update and other social media forms.

3. BELONGING – Come together, right now

Being part of the creation of something new gives presumers a sense of belonging to a special and unique club, and given them a a sense of community.  It gives them a bedded-down tie-in with the brand, and with the other consumers who are fellow-advocates.  This investment is likely to have longevity too, as they can become brand disciples potentially for life.

4. OFF = ON – Online is offline is online…

Presumers want the same feeling of ‘special’ they get from their online interactions with brands as they do in a traditional retail setting and the in-store ‘pre-launch’ is the perfect vehicle for this.  They get excellent customer service, they get the new, but it is still ‘in store’.

5. NEW PLATFORMS: Disrupted funding, making and selling

DIY has taken on a whole new life in the world of the presumer.  Platforms such as crowdsourcing have created a new ‘make it yourself’ phenomenon leading to a whole new generation of startup entrepreneurs who are quite literally creating new companies in their bedrooms.  To reinforce the financial power of this trend, it is expected in the USA alone, this trend will raise USD 2.8 billion this year.

So what is the takeaway from this?  It is worthwhile remembering that as consumers become more educated, more mobile and more web-savvy every day, more and more consumers will become PRESUMERS.  And if you don’t give them what they want, now more than ever, they are just as likely to get out there and create it for themselves!


Yours in PR

Are You Joining in the Click Frenzy?


It is fascinating how time, the seasons, and the calendar all have such an impact upon consumer purchasing patterns.  It used to be that we all filled up our cars at the petrol station on a Tuesday, and each year we wait anxiously for the Boxing Day sales but there are new consumer trends that, for some at least, will change this behaviour.

Tonight in Australia, the largest mass online purchasing offer that has ever been created takes shape in the form of Click Frenzy.  According to news reports, more than one million Australians have already registered for the sale, which goes live at 7pm AEDT tonight.

This latest craze is an interesting hybrid of a flash-shop, an online sale, and a digital voucher, backed by big time hype, the likes of which have barely been seen before.

What I am wondering is, will these flash-in-the-pan, marketing-driven sales actually have a significant, measurable impact on how people budget for the Christmas retail bulge, and will it wean them away from more traditional spending patterns than are time and calendar-sensitive.

For my own part I have participated in time-sensitive sales before, including those for airlines and hotel rooms, in which a very few items at very low prices are offered and are snapped up almost as soon as they go online.  While this may create a ‘win’ for the lucky few, there is the danger of a customer backlash if what is offered – in reality – differs greatly from what is actually available for sale.

In the longer term, does this have the potential to change consumer behaviour, to recruit a whole new group of online shoppers that have never dipped their toe into the waters of e-commerce or voucher sales or flash stores before; or will it backfire in spectacular fashion due to high demand and low availability?  Or perhaps like many over-hyped events, will it simply run out of puff?

Time will tell, and that time is 7pm this evening – let me know if you are taking part in this consumer experiment. To click or not to click… that is the question!


Yours in PR

Newism: Building the Latest Trends into Your Content


What is NEWISM?  The lure and the appeal of what is new is… well… nothing new.  As humans we are drawn to stock in retail spaces that are in pristine condition and we all breathe in hard our new car smell, but at a more strategic level, in our current short-attention span world, the drive to embrace the ‘new’ has never been so powerful.

According to a new report by TrendWatching.com, NEWism, the latest ‘ism’, is: “is creative destruction, hyper-competition, globalism, consumerism on steroids and a celebration of innovation, all in one.”  They argue that for B2C brands it means capturing and holding consumers’ attention, and although the attention span of consumers is shorter than ever, this creates opportunities for short, sharp bursts of innovation that can pay off.  Big.

Within NEWism itself, there are several observable trends, including: creative/destruction; FSTR (faster); experience cramming; status stream; trysumers and To Have is to (H)old.  Let’s look at these one at a time…

1. CREATIVE > DESTRUCTION

Given more flexible market structures, new products, services and experiences on a daily, if not hourly basis, in every B2C industry, creating a plethora of opportunities for consumers.  If proof were needed of this trend in action, note that the World Intellectual Property Organisation has observed that 2 million patents were applied for in 2010, up from 1.4 million in 2000.

2. FSTR

Everything is getting faster and FSTR, if you will.  The delivery of ease and speed as a market edge has never been stronger – witness the success of Instagram (10 million users in under a year) or Draw Something (35 million users in just 6 weeks!).  The downside is that products can go from ‘hot’ to ‘not’ at just as quickly.

3. EXPERIENCE CRAMMING

The desire to tell interesting STATUS STORIES is further fuelling consumers’ never-ending lust for new experiences, especially acute in a world where so much of identity is expressed online.  Just by posting about the latest trend on social media, from a trusted referrer or source, is enough to create sufficient curiosity to drive increased traffic for a new concept/product/service.

4. STATUS STREAM

As everything is increasingly transient, keeping one’s finger firmly on the pulse of the endless global torrent of new products and services, showing one’s connectedness and being in the know, will be an ever-richer source of social status (especially for SOCIAL-LITE consumers).  Something can never be too ‘new’, apparently and knowledge of the new is increasingly valuable and is the currency of our age.

5. TRYSUMERS

Our new consumer environment is increasingly transparent, with everything now reviewed and rated the moment it’s created, meaning the risk for consumers of trying out something new is approaching zero.  Trysumers are modern-day market testers, working in real time, enabling consumers to experience the ‘new’ with less commitment, and at lower cost.

6. TO HAVE IS TO (H)OLD

New consumers are embracing the trend of devolving themselves of ‘stuff’.  These days consumers rent and/or share everything (from cars to clothes to electronics), get perpetual upgrades and are always a click away from the ‘next’.  Using brand buy-backs, exchange schemes, online platforms and mobile marketplaces, it is smart to offer convenient options for consumers keen to ‘trade in to trade up’ to the new.

Paradoxically, while new has never been so hot in consumer trends, there has been a simultaneous push towards the glorification of all things retro – hence more products than ever are packaged in tins, and the resurgence of such brands as Vita-Mix, KitchenAid and the market appeal of all things ‘vintage’. Even the ‘old’ manufactured to be ‘new-ish’ looking.

So how do we make sense of this lust for both the new and the old simultaneously?  While innovation is valued more than ever, balance this with the idea that ‘heritage’ brands, known to deliver constant, trusted quality and provenance potentially have market appeal that eclipses what is right ‘now’.  In a strange way, the lust for the new also reinforces the power of the tried and true.

So what’s the take-away here?  If brands can harness the drive to innovate and share, and wrap it in the trusted values of the past, there is a winning formula here for increased market penetration across a broad range of industries.


Yours in PR

%d bloggers like this: