” New-Age consumer “| from Consumer to Co-creator – Ernst & Young

“ Consumers are harder to define, understand and please than ever before “.

Digital technology is altering not only how, where and when consumers shop, but is transforming their expectations of, and interactions with, all suppliers — from retailers and manufacturers to Governments and utilities.

This upheaval has come so fast that many organizations are struggling to adapt their business models to keep up with the evolving demands of consumers and the escalating potential of technology.

And one thing is clear: the future will be no less turbulent.

To get a clear picture of the new consumer and offer solutions to how organizations can keep pace with their shifting needs, in 2011, Ernst & Young conducted an extensive international survey.

The survey took the pulse of almost 25,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, in 34 countries, across mature and emerging markets. It asked each individual detailed questions about their purchasing activities, preferences and perceptions across 10 different products and services, from food and beverages, to consumer electronics and public services.

Consumers were either asked to indicate their opinions on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible score, or to give a percentage rating. The findings provide further evidence of the changing nature of commerce and valuable intelligence into contemporary and future trends.

” A radical transformation of customer behaviour….”

These 5 trends show that customer behavior has changed beyond recognition. In becoming a “chameleon,” the consumer has undergone a radical “metamorphosis” — to use another analogy from the natural world. This change has significant consequences for all customer-reliant organizations: to remain relevant to the new consumer, they must undergo a similar radical transformation.

1. Breaching the boundaries of market segments: color-matching the chameleon consumer: 

The survey reveals the prevalence of the “chameleon consumer,” a constantly changing persona, who defies the confines of traditional market segmentation. This consumer has conflicting preferences and facets: shops online but demands the human touch, insists on individualized service but communicates in packs. This individual is hard to read — and even harder to please.

2. Brand loyalty: a double-sided global coin: 

As further proof of the complexity of today’s consumer, the survey found a regional split in brand loyalty. In emerging markets, brands are increasingly likely to influence purchasing decisions. Western consumers, however, are more changeable and show lower brand loyalty, challenging businesses to find new ways to hook their customers.

3. From mass broadcasts to self-selection: consumer communication gets personal: 

As part of a clear preference toward personalized communication and service, the survey shows trust has moved from traditional mass channels to closer “community” vehicles, such as social media and other digital channels. This move is taking the power of the owned and paid-for channel out of the hands of brands — and the reach of traditional marketing — and making bloggers society’s new spokespeople. This trend offers huge opportunities for organizations that can harness digital consumers to their advantage: nothing less than a massive new marketing department, that’s not even on the payroll.

4. The know-it-all, have-it-all consumer: 

The survey confirms the extent to which, in barely a decade, the web has reshaped everything we do — from the way we communicate and shop to the way we pay for services and research. The majority of people now go online for at least part of their shopping journey, and China’s half a billion internet users — 23% of the global total of web players — make one-third of all their purchases online. The web is changing the retail power relationship as much as it is altering its channels. Equipped with all possible product, price and stock information, consumers can simply bypass retailers that don’t compete.

5. The consumer to partner metamorphosis:

These new empowered customers, the survey shows, want to have a greater say in how they experience service. They want products and services to be designed, sold, delivered, serviced and purchased in a way that suits them. They want to be active co-creators, not passive consumers.


24 thoughts on “” New-Age consumer “| from Consumer to Co-creator – Ernst & Young

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