min read

Consumers’ lives and societies are evolving at a rapid pace, are you keeping up?

by Kathy Sheehan , 05.11.2015

Understanding today’s market and where it’s going is increasingly problematic. Getting blindsided by consumers’ constantly-evolving preferences and evolving consumer culture is a very vivid reality for many business managers.

Did you know that Generation Z is less concerned about individuality (being different from others), in fact it is the fastest declining global value in 2015. With the way consumers are thinking and acting changing so quickly, how do managers keep up the pace?

With an “always-on” and connected consumer, we believe brands now require a holistic view of the changing marketplace and an understanding of how consumers’ lives are evolving when considering the introduction of a new product or service to the market. So it becomes not only about understanding your consumers within the context of a competitive set, but more the broader context and how they live their everyday lives.

Innovation needs the widest possible context to identify opportunities to deliver new value, and leaders need to understand how change in people’s everyday lives impact brands and business.


The pace of technology continues to drive more cohesive communication among consumers, culture, and brands in near real-time. Brands, likewise have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the right data and insights to forecast consumer behavior like never before. These new growth opportunities not only open because of new technologies - but also by evolving trends in values, identity, and culture and are themselves potent sources of innovation in and of themselves.

For the last 10 years brands have focused on developing products that speak to individual needs of consumers. But in today’s market, Gen Z consumers care less and less about their individuality – think of recent successful launches in the sharing economy, for example. Airbnb and Uber weren’t overnight successes because of the technological achievements. These days, for very little start-up cash, many people can build platforms on a short timeline. But what made Airbnb and Uber so successful was the shift in consumers’ minds and their willingness to adopt these sharing services.

More specifically, 10 years ago people would have probably been less apt to sleep in someone else’s home, or jump into the car of a very perfect stranger. When you stop to think about it, the willingness to conserve resources (both financial and carbon emissions, for example) are ever more pronounced in today’s economy. For these reasons and more, we see great successes in the sharing economies, because consumers’ attitudes have shifted dramatically over time.

Launching a new product can be a less-risky undertaking, if you have the right data. With GfK Consumer Life, we have a line of sight into consumer preferences in more than 27 countries, available on demand for our clients. There we can offer a deep understanding of what consumers are thinking, doing, buying and what is changing both on a global, regional, national or micro level.

Kathy Sheehan is the Global Director for GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports). She can be reached at kathy.sheehan@gfk.com or on Twitter @kjson15st.

About GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports)

Leading brands and marketers have turned to GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports) for ongoing insights into nearly every aspect of life including: Confidence and concerns, Personal values, Leisure and entertainment, Retail, shopping and brands, Aspirations and status symbols, Travel, Health and wellness Beauty and personal care.

Gain deeper insights into the everyday lives with GfK Consumer Life:

  • Start with the broader context of change to understand how social and cultural shifts impact people's everyday lives
  • Understand how these changes impact engagement with products and services
  • Have visibility into disruptive forces, and how consumers may embrace or reject them
  • Capture emerging opportunities by monitoring change across
    all aspects of their consumers' lives

To learn more:

>>Visit the page                                >>Download the whitepaper

>>View the global slipsheet            >>View the US/UK slipsheet

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