With the start of a new year it is important to look back to see how much progress we made last year and how much we would like to make this year. Although it is difficult to predict how the future will be, we believe that there are certain trends and innovations which have changed forever that the way we consume.
The economic and social crisis, the digital revolution, or globalization, have set a new direction for consumers. New generation (millennials, centennials…) are changing their way to consume.
Consumers of the future have new needs which brands should be taking this into account:
Ethics and values – consumers evaluate even more than ever before if what we buy is aligned with our values. We appreciate that the culture of the company which is behind the product or service is socially responsible and that their actions are compatible with what we think is right. Brands such as La Fageda show that they can sell quality yoghurts by being both socially responsible and being profitable.
Sustainability and durability – the ‘use and throw away’ culture thrown into question by the crisis has now outlived it and, even if it is only motivated by the question of price, we are increasingly more open to second-hand products. One of Canela’s clients for example, FreedomPop, launched in December 2016 reconditioned smartphones, they are devices whose cases have been open or used but that are in a perfect working condition. In this new era of consumption, consumers seek quality, useful and versatile products. In many cases, we don’t want more but we simply want better quality.
Experience – people seek to live positive experiences, new generations appreciate more experiences than a product itself, so companies should offer a much more comprehensive concept around a product because story telling works. Some time ago there was an article which explained the scientific reasons of why travelling (and not buying things) gives happiness. In fact, several major companies are giving up conventional advertising and are committed to providing unique brand experiences, giving more priority to the consumer.
Experiences and travels are for life
Time – that thing that we can never get enough of … New consumers don’t have time, probably because they are too busy checking their social networks every two seconds, but definitely not enough time to buy groceries, or to clean or to live without wifi… We want companies to facilitate us things, and save us time. This explains the success of initiatives such as Glovo with its slogan ‘what you want when you want’ or Amazon Prime Now with deliveries home in less than 2 hours.
Hyperconevtivity vs meditation – although it might sound contradictory, in a hyper world in which we consume infamous quantities of information (but not exactly much quality information), people tend to give more importance to disconnection: hotels without wifi, digital detox weekend, mindfulness, yoga… the activities or spaces that allow us to disconnect of the daily hustle are becoming more trendy and are here to stay.
Consumption cooperative or collaborative economy – consumers are starting to organize their selves to share expenses, to make a better use of their possessions (this involves cars, motorbikes or flats), to get local products more efficiently and even to invent local currencies. Not too long ago, the media published information about Barcelona implementing a social currency of its own, with the objective of strengthening the local trade, boosting the economy and acting as a stimulus for economy social projects.
The Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau is committed to local consumption
So seeing this new paradigm, brands and organizations should strive to understand this new consumer. Ethics, values, sustainability, durability, experience, time, meditation or collaborative economy will be crucial for dealing with the consumer of the future.