Nowadays, consumers are more demanding than ever before, when it comes to products, services and brands and they are using digital tools to articulate and fulfil their needs. The 2017 consumer is harder to characterise, not least because their identity is multidimensional and in flux, with shoppers more likely to have a hand in defining themselves and their needs.
Consumers want safety in a perceived volatile world, particularly for their nearest and dearest, and they look to tech tools to help them in this quest. They want to shop faster and more conveniently. They want authenticity in what they buy and expect to find elements of personalisation in mass-produced items as well as upscale ones. For instance, consumers who are ‘beyond average’ in terms of size or dietary needs, are pushing to ensure that their needs are better met.
The global cultural reverence for wellness means many consumers regard it as a status symbol, particularly as the significance of material things, as indicators of achievement, pales. Consumer requirements are even extending to the post-purchase experience; to the consumer’s relationship with a brand, once the initial transaction taken place.
Younger ‘consumers in training’ have a voice that goes beyond the traditional ‘pester power’ (the ability of children to pressurise their parents into buying them things). This gives them a more active role in what is purchased, often turning them into functioning in-house shopping consultants. Consumers aged over 50: the so called “baby boomers” are the youngest and most vocal members of a generation known for their outspoken views. They are living a changed ageing narrative, themselves, with articulate ‘ambassadors’ and organisational advocates who have greater faith in their abilities and purpose.
The ‘Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2017 Report’ has also influenced Eastern and Central European consumers, particularly because the internet is a great leveller: digital life brings developments and consumer views instantaneously; from vloggers (video bloggers), bloggers and news sites to on-liners in various global regions. This facilitates the sharing of opinions and consumer critiques of brands (positive as well as negative) between consumers around the world.
The whole landscape of the relationship between consumer and brand is changing. Eastern and Central European consumers are also listening less carefully to company messages and more to each other, when making purchasing choices and they are sharing buying experiences, lifestyle habits and consumption aspirations.
Brands need to engage with key consumer trends to understand how to decode their current and new consumers in this region as well. Companies now have to insert themselves into on-line conversations, often on social networking and to commit to communicating with their connected consumers in real time. They need to do this in order to reach out to their existing, and their potential, audiences who are less brand-loyal and less open to traditional marketing approaches.
Trends which will reign around the world in 2017: ageing: a changing narrative; consumer in training; extraordinary; faster shopping; get real: the allure of authenticity; identity in flux; personalise it; post-purchase; privacy and security; wellness as status symbol. Click here to see the complete Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2017.
The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.