Who is (and how to conquer) the consumer of the future?

Sep 09, 2019, 14 views

The world is changing fast As. The advancement of automation, threats to the environment and China's increased market relevance are some of the features that, according to WGSN trend consultancy, will directly affect how products and services will be consumed over the next two years. The question is how to attract this increasingly connected and informed consumer.

“Brands need to stop being commodities and talk directly to consumers,” says Petah Marian, WGSN's global insight leader.

According to WGSN's Consumer Future study 2021, millennials are primarily responsible for the changes over the next two years. This generation, the research points out, feels pressured and overwhelmed with too much information and work. “Brands think having more product options means more sales,” says Petah. “But the consumer is overwhelmed. Companies need to find a niche and deepen their relationship with it. ”

Another important feature of this generation is the appreciation of purpose. One-third of millennials say they have stopped buying from a brand for ethical reasons. According to research, companies need to create long-term purpose, even if in some situations it means short-term loss of profits.

The main tool for engaging this future consumer is technologies. According to the study, artificial intelligence will become even more important in anticipating customer desires and creating a simpler and faster consumer trajectory. Walmart, for example, saw a 43% increase in its online sales when it removed excess ads and information from its ecommerce. “Consumers value a more enjoyable and personalized experience,” says Petah. “For brands, it means thinking about how to be more relevant to this consumer.”

“Companies need to figure out which profile their consumer fits best and work to become relevant to them in the coming years,” says Petah.

In the next two years, the generation Z will also become a major consumer. According to WGSN, these young people are much more connected than the millennials, more optimistic and self-confident. For business, this means companies need to value their individual identity - and digital platforms are essential in this journey. “The tendency is for companies to set aside big digital influencers and choose people within this group who talk to them directly,” says Petah.

In addition to ecommerce and social networking, brands will also need to think of new digital solutions, according to the research. Nike, for example, created a virtual reality store that could only be accessed by buyers of one of its sneakers.

Automation, says Petah, is a long-term trend that companies will have to deal with. The use of technology in retail is inevitable, but it will invariably lead to rising unemployment. “Companies need to start thinking about how they want to do this, as unemployment can affect company revenue. It's thinking about how to retrain people being replaced by technology and put them in other positions. ”

On the other hand, it is important not to neglect older consumers. With the aging of the population, this profile will become increasingly relevant in the coming years. Knowing how to connect with these audiences, however, is no easy task. “You have to think about the products and experiences this consumer wants,” says Petah. Neglecting this audience is a risk: "It's the part of life where people are retiring and wanting to have fun, and usually have more money than young people."

Another big change is about consumer habits. More aware of the environmental impact of their actions, they seek to buy less. The key to companies in this regard, says Petah, is knowing the consumer. "You need to know at which points on the consumer journey he is still willing to spend money, and create products and services that people really value and love."

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