Five Key Traits Defining Connected Consumers In 2019 – Forbes

Posted: September 23, 2019 at 5:47 pm


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Connectivity has given rise to one of the most influential consumer groups in todays world connected consumers. Smartphones put the world at consumers fingertips, providing instant access to almost anything at any time. Mobility has been a key part of the rise of connected consumers.

2019 has been a key year for connected consumers. For the first time, more than half of the global population is connected to the internet, according to Euromonitor International. That is double the percentage of the population that was connected in 2009. Mobile phones are the key connector with 50% of the global population using such devices to connect to the internet as of 2019.

But who are connected consumers? What is the importance of this consumer segment? How are they leveraging this connectivity to change how they live, work, shop and play? There are five notable traits that define connected consumers as highlighted below:

1)On-demand lifestyle

The rapid increase in connections has ushered in speed, convenience and instant access across life. Connected consumers can summon a taxi, book a flight, browse products, order food, listen to music, play a game, watch a film or chat with others using internet connectivity. Life is always at ones fingertips.

Thanks to the smartphone, connected consumers can now execute any number of actions at any time and from anywhere. Global mobile users execute an average of six distinct activities per day in 2019 with the greatest usage in emerging markets, according to Euromonitor Internationals Lifestyles Survey. The internet is the top mobile activity with 66% of connected consumers browsing the internet on a daily basis in 2019, up from 41% in 2011.

2)Consumer power

Widespread connectivity had a fundamental and profound shift with regards to the consumers position in traditional power structures. Brands no longer control information about their products and services. Informed consumers walk into commerce transactions armed with information about what they want and should expect to pay. Connected consumers are more influenced by personal recommendations and independent consumer reviews as compared with mass marketing, according to Euromonitor Internationals 2019 Lifestyles Survey. Even regarding newer channels, such as social media, consumers are more influenced by posts from friends rather than from a company.

Companies from TripAdvisor to Amazon have seized on these new network effects. Amazon has incorporated customer reviews since launching as an online bookseller in 1995. This transparency gave consumers confidence in purchasing items they could not see or touch. Amazon also introduced star ratings to help consumers quickly understand the product quality. As Amazon moved into physical retail with the launch of Amazon Books in 2015, it took its popular online rating system offline. In-store shelves display the books average star rating along with the top review.

The TripAdvisor, Inc. homepage is displayed on a computer screen in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. TripAdvisor, Inc., is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

3)Consumer centricity

Society is in the midst of a shift from being about the masses to a story of one. Around one-quarter of connected consumers seek personalized shopping experience with this desire highest among younger cohorts, according to Euromonitor Internationals 2019 Lifestyles Survey. Aspiring next-generation companies and brands cannot accomplish this without help. Up to now, companies have been collecting petabytes of data, but have struggled to make sense of it all. Technology plays an important role for companies wishing to provide a memorable customer experience. Artificial intelligence (AI), specifically machine learning and natural language processing, is being deployed to craft human-like personalized experience for the masses.

AI is a particularly powerful advancement for visually driven social platforms like Pinterest. In February 2019, Pinterest announced its move toward a completely automated e-commerce Shop the Look function, marshalling AI to scale across the billions of images it shows Pinners. Launched in 2017, Pinterests Shop the Look uses AI to match clothing and accessories pinned in pictures with similar products sold by retailers. The latest release is now fully automated. Social media companies and e-commerce players are leveraging AI to improve recommendation efficiency and accuracy.

4)Internet of everything

Always-on is already the new normal. Connected consumers are always connected, receiving and broadcasting information. The coming phase of connectivity will, however, be a giant leap in terms of breadth. Of course, this is more commonly referred to as the Internet of Things, which in simple terms refers to the intelligent interaction that occurs between humans and things to exchange information and knowledge for a new value creation.

This greater connectivity enables companies to adopt service-orientated business models, offering remote monitoring, enhanced analytics and predictive maintenance. Item-level sensors on products will enable companies to track these items through the supply chain until disposal. Even personal chipping will exponentially increase the volume of data, giving brands and service providers unprecedented detail in terms of what connected consumers are doing, when and likely why.

The Internet of Things data platform Evrythng is an example of a company that is turning everyday items, from crackers to lipstick to clothing, into digitized and identifiable products that can be tracked through the supply chain. Sensor-embedded products could be a retail game changerimproving product identification, supply chain management and fraud prevention and enabling greater brand-consumer marketing interactions. In recent years, item-level sensors have significantly dropped in price, making all of this possible.

5)Digital balance

The internet ushered in greater connectivity and convenience across all aspects of consumer life to the point of becoming an addiction for some. More than half of connected consumers globally indicated they would be lost without said internet access, according to Euromonitor Internationals 2019 Lifestyles Survey. Consumers have come to realize that they need to exercise more self-control over their gluttonous ways. At first, consumers tried to fast from the internet for periods of time before realizing it might require a more balanced and sustainable approach to manage ones tech usage, much like ones diet.

Even some of the biggest purveyors of the digital addiction Facebook, Alphabet and Apple have put initiatives in place that will limit usage. Apple, which is the second-largest global smartphones manufacturer based on retail volume sales behind Samsung, introduced new tools to limit screen time, or at least create digital self-awareness, as part of its new operating system in mid-2018. Facebook, which dominates the social media landscape globally, has also taken a more active role in helping its users maintain their digital wellness across its social properties, including the likes of its core Facebook platform as well as Instagram. In a more recent initiative, Instagram has trialed removing likes in response to criticism that such metrics hurt mental health.

A new playbook is required for connected consumers

This widespread connectivity has ushered in a new set of challenges and opportunities, thus, requiring companies to deploy a new playbook. Now, connected consumers have access to anything at any time. They expect to get what they want, whenever and however they want it. The technologies and platforms developed off the back of this access are forever reshaping consumerism. Brands and companies will have to rethink their strategies to win over this more impatient and informed connected consumer.

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Five Key Traits Defining Connected Consumers In 2019 - Forbes

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September 23rd, 2019 at 5:47 pm

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