The 2011 consumer is branching out: mobile and online, making time for self-care to stay ahead and well. Consumers are reaching out to higher-end products, greener consumption if the price is right and experience-based consumption while considering purchases more. Brands need to tap into the on and offline cultural zeitgeist to best connect with their existing and potential customers.
1. DOLPHINS, YOUNG VALUE-SEEKERS AND OTHER FRESH TAKES ON THRIFT
For consumers worldwide, thriftier lifestyles and considered purchasing, even when buying luxury, are now the norm, fuelled by the 24/7 ‘servant’ that is online value checking. This is impacting on the entire consumption landscape from group buying to counterfeit markets.
2. EXPERIENCE IS THE THING
2011 consumers seek a dimension of experience in consumption taking in everything from cultural breaks to the joys of unwrapping an iPhone. Tied in with this is the consumer interest in a good retail experience which means good customer care, and which for many consumers is part of the value equation.
Today’s consumer is comfortable with shrinking the radius of their lifestyle. There is a tangible virtual-to real world spill over with advocates of things local making effective use of technology. At the same time, the idea of glocal – a hybrid of global and local – recognises that global influences continue to flavour outlooks and so consumption.
4. STAYING AHEAD AND WELL
Consumer interests in sustained health and wellness are put into sharper focus post-recession with jobs and pensions less of a certainty. Globally, governments are backing healthier lifestyles and a fight against obesity. Wellness is holistic yet vanity and the quest for style persist beyond classic middle age.
5. NATURALLY GREEN IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Green concerns, well documented in consumer surveys, seem to fizzle out at the checkout where they compete with the budget constraints of shoppers. Consumers worldwide are more comfortable with affordable green offerings; readier to part with cash if products are worthy AND cheap
6. EMERGING MARKET CONSUMPTION ON A ROLL
Emerging market consumers are expressing their increasingly middle class status through consumption – eager to buy things their parents could only dream of, while still thrift-conscious. Key trends take in shopping as leisure, emerging market consumers as onliners, paying for convenience and more urban consumption styles.
7. LUXURY COMING IN FROM THE COLD
Many developed economy consumers are more open to buying high-end goods and services, particularly those with an artisanal and green flavour, and affordable indulgences. Conspicuous consumption as an expression of wealth is thriving in several developing markets, some of it increasingly nuanced rather than purely “blingtastic”.
8. MOBILE & ONLINE: THE PHONE I CAN AFFORD
Mobiles are an even more cherished personal accessory worldwide, with many emerging market consumers going to great lengths to own a mobile with the features they ‘need’. Consumers are using mobiles that connect to the internet to engage in ‘outdoor cocooning’ and using Apps to personalise their mobiles.
9. INFORMATION NOW
For “Digital Natives” in particular, there is a need to be connected, entertained and informed 24/7. For them, new digital technologies are primary mediators of human-to-human connections and email feels too slow. Social networks and increasingly social shopping are a huge part of this lifestyle.
10. THE GRAND ROLE OF CULTURE (in consumption)
Culture in a broad sense, being the meaning consumers make of themselves and their surroundings, is central to consumption. Culture is physical, digital, high, low, authentic and ideal. A grasp of culture is a must for brands wishing to understand consumers and get the register right in their attempts to enter and fit into the dialogue which is moving consumers more than traditional ads.
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