The digital economy is volatile. The frantic succession of new tech innovations has prompted daily predictions as to which will impact more profoundly on consumer behavior and their relationship with brands.
Often such predictions mention innovations that still have a long road to travel before becoming viable options for business, self-driven cars being one, as well as others that, though not accessible to everyone, are already being used on a daily basis by certain sectors, like the Internet of Things.
Current and future innovations are the focus of Deloitte’s annual report for 2016 in which six innovations are analyzed to assess their potential is to transform the traditional relationship between companies and consumers.
In this post we review the Deloitte's analysis and complement it with other studies to explore how technologies will shape the relationship between businesses and consumers in 2016.
This post is also available in Spanish.
According to the global consulting firm’s report, the hottest “innovation” at present is the rocketing adoption rate of smartphones and increasingly faster speeds of broadband Internet access, specifically 4G. The report also makes a specific mention of a profound change in consumer behavior, undoubtedly influenced by the aforementioned technological factors, but amplified by other generational or social considerations, such as:
1. Cognitive technology
The Deloitte report notes the increasingly important role of cognitive technology in the relationship between consumers and brands. The interpretation of language or text by a bot, such as personal assistants who respond to our voices, or automated support services that offer customized emotional responses without the need for a human presence - a detail that could be seen as trivial, but ultimately one that has profound implications for companies as a whole.
Another study by Ericsson posits a intriguing theory: given that speech recognition makes it unnecessary to use a large screen, this technology has potential to reverse the trend by which new models of mobile devices have tended to get bigger in size, and thus secure their autonomy.
2. Virtual reality
Deloitte also predicts that the virtual reality market will surpass the threshold of $1,000 million dollars for the first time, meaning that although changes in consumer behavior that would facilitate its widespread use are still far off, it is certainly another avenue for companies to explore in the meantime, to figure out how it could influence their relationship with customers.
3. Internet connections over 1 Gigabyte
The proliferation of Internet connections that are over a Gigabyte is on track to reach 600 million households by 2020. The incredible opportunities that high speed internet access means for brands is unparalleled: thanks to widespread fiber optic use, streaming or virtual reality technologies can see their possible uses extended and their impact on consumers grow exponentially.
4. New payment systems
The widespread of payment systems based on using fingerprints, for example, can signify a “before” and “after” in terms of willingness of consumers to make online purchases using their phones. Smartphones are officially the most popular means of searching for items to buy, but traditional payment methods continue to be a deterrent to finalizing a transaction entirely via smartphone.
5. Mobile environments
Deloitte makes a very interesting observation about the so-called “mobile environment”: while a staggering 86% of young people between 18 and 24 years use their smartphones “intensively,” they regularly use a laptop as well. Companies must therefore think about crafting content for 3 x 5 inch screens - without forgetting to resize for laptops.
6. Social shopping experience
Finally, the study notes huge potential in the customer’s growing inclination to share photos online, and particular in its impact on the company-client relationship. Unsurprisingly, in 2015 close to 2,500,000 million images were published online, and the proliferation of customizing buttons on major social networks make these images in a natural way to generate direct sales.
Another study, also by Ericsson, makes interesting revelations about 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2016. Although the forecast largely coincides with that of Deloitte, Ericsson suggests the rise of video streaming, favored by higher bandwidths available for consumers. The report notes that on average, 20% of people aged 16 and 19 watch more than 3 hours of YouTube content ... every day.
Another interesting observation is how the commute between home to work has shifted from being a “dead space” to one in which consumers want to be productive, have fun and socialize using their mobile phones. This naturally lifts the lid on a great amount of opportunity for brands, especially when they are thinking about intensifying efforts to reach out to consumers with compelling value propositions.
All reports make it clear that changing consumer behavior is irreversible, and that only companies offering rapid, customized support will flourish. Whatsmore, by climbing on the bandwagon and integrating new technologies into your company’s work procedures, you will be able to capture the attention of these so-called “digital consumers”, whose purchasing habits had such changed so radically in such little time.
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This post is also available in Spanish.
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