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Understanding the consumer, culture and the market

by James Simoniti , 15.10.2015

Using the trends shown by our Roper data, we provide an insight into the forces shaping the Future Consumer. So what patterns are we seeing?

  • The Consumer

Today’s consumer always reads the labels of products they buy, and craves products from brands they trust. They feel guilty when they do things that are not environmentally friendly, and believe that when and how products are made is important. They want more time than money, fewer but higher quality items and worry about getting sick from contaminated products. Today’s consumer takes into account a great deal of factors when making purchase decisions.

  • Culture

The contemporary era is shaped around anxiety. Immigration is now our biggest concern, followed closely by terrorism. The cost of healthcare worries us, we fear our personal information getting into the wrong hands, and we are uneasy about corruption in government. Our confidence is fragile, and this collection of anxieties has the ability to damage it significantly.

  • The Market

When brand values align with personal values, there are high levels of traction and take up. Consumers believe giving employees good jobs and providing good quality products/services are very important for brands. Paying their taxes and advertising honestly are also key. To remain competitive, brands must strive to achieve these goals.

Creating new areas for product development

The elements above allow us to create three innovative areas for product development that will meet the Future Consumers needs and desires: The increasing consumer desire for safety and security, how brands can help consumers manage the paradox of life, and the rise of the ‘Socially Rational’ consumer.

1) Increasing consumer desire for safety and security

Consumers now see it as more important to do things than to own things – they want the great experience, but at the same time want to be kept safe and secure. The future product that embodies this? The GfK Data Condom – to protect your data, and keep it safe, while at the same time having a great experience!

2) The paradox of life – I know what I should do, but do I do it?

More consumers find themselves caught in this paradox than ever before. “I know I should get more sleep… – but do I actually do it?”. Brands help us navigate this paradox by helping us actually do these things, and this will become increasingly prevalent in the future. A future product could be Dr Sleep, a tablet that can be customized and 3D printed at home. It is linked to sleep and nutrient records and gives the optimum ‘pick me up’ every morning. Dr Sleep could be one of many products available to the Future Consumer, designed to solve this paradox.

3) The ‘Socially Rational’ consumer

Characterized by social tolerance, brand selection based on ethical and value criteria, and seeking out great prices, the ‘Socially Rational’ consumer mindset will heavily influence the Future Consumer. Brands can respond to this by offering guilt free consumption, allowing consumers to stick to their moral compass. One innovation that would be of interest to Socially Rational consumers is MyDrone – a drone following the consumer, helping them make the best brand choices at all times. Think of it as a drone guardian angel.

Lead - don’t follow!

We are actively profiling the Future Consumer. We know the attitudes and values that are important now, and make bold decisions about how these will change, backed by our data. Using a holistic approach encompassing the consumer, culture, and the market, we can point to innovation spaces and help brands navigate these – we can help brands lead and not follow the consumer.

If you want to know more about our Consumer Trends data please contact David Crosbie, Director, Consumer Trends, david.crosbie@gfk.com