We all know that consumers change from year to year. It might be slight variations; it might be huge, sweeping trends that alter the way businesses market and conceive their products and services. Either way, as Sam Cooke said, “Change is gonna come,” and you better be ready.
For most businesses, predicting and interpreting change is a lynchpin in the success of their marketing efforts.
The stats that we’ve compiled here begin to paint a picture of some of the most important changes that have materialized in consumer behavior in recent years, especially in the rise of the Digital Age. These stats include trends in how consumers research, how they recommend brands, and how they finally decide to make a purchase.
1. Online Reviews Impact 67% of Respondents’ Purchasing Decisions
In a recent study from Moz.com, 67% of respondents cited online reviews as “fairly, very or absolutely important” to their online purchasing decisions.
For companies who don’t take their online reviews seriously, let alone address them, this is bad news. Consumers have almost instant access to your company’s Facebook, Yelp page or Google reviews, and unless a bad review is obviously spammy, it’s essentially impossible to have it removed.
Don’t discount the power of a bad review in 2016; your potential customers obviously don’t.
Some steps you can take to handle a bad review? Responding in a timely fashion is always encouraged; if you have the ability, offer the offended party a limited-time discount or offer. This will show that you care about their bad experience and are willing to invest the resources to make it right.
2. 28% of All Online Activity is Spent on Social Networks
Still don’t see the importance of a social presence? A recent study by GlobalWebIndex found that their respondent base, which numbered around 170,000 people, spent 28% of their online time on social networking sites.
Not only are more people using social networking sites in recent years, they’re spending increasing amounts of time there. The social networking “bubble” has not only not burst; it’s growing.
3. American Adults Now Spend 5.5 Hours a Day Viewing Video Content
eMarketer reports that American adults averaged 5 hours, 31 minutes a day absorbing video content in 2015. This is up from just 4 hours and 56 minutes in 2011.
What’s driving this significant increase in viewing time? For starters, US adults now own more connected devices than ever. In fact, of that 5 and ½ hours we spend indulging in video content, over a quarter of it was spent on mobile devices. More consumers have smart phones than ever before. We take our devices with us everywhere we go, and fill the lulls in activity throughout the day with social media, internet browsing, and online shopping.
Your company will be significantly negatively impacted without a mobile-friendly website, a social media presence or eCommerce capabilities. These new watching habits should also alter the way you spend your ad dollars.
4. Millennial Consumers Trust Their Peers Over Ads
In another recent study, Millennials reported that word-of-mouth recommendations from their friends were far more influential than advertisements (which had a stronger impact with Baby Boomers). Millennials listed word-of-mouth and search engines as the two most important influences in their purchasing habits.
Millennials currently make up about 24% of the population, but they purchase differently than generations before them. Social media plays a huge role in how they hear about products and brands; they aren’t as influenced by traditional advertisements as their parents and grandparents.
Before long, millennials will be the most important demographic of consumers, as they begin to make more money and gain more purchasing power. Knowing how to market to them is vital as we look to the future of the Digital Age.
5. 85% of Shopify Sales Generated by Social Media Happen on Facebook
A recent study showed that Facebook dominates when it comes to eCommerce sales generated on social media. A whopping 85% of social-media-driven sales on Shopify stores came through Facebook accounts.
Facebook is not only a viable option for targeting and appealing to the customers who are ready to buy; it’s a great way to showcase your products or services in a way that draws new prospects in. Video content on Facebook, for instance, was one of the highest-converting mediums for companies on the social network.
6. The End of Conspicuous Branding: Consumers Don’t Want to Wear Their Favorite Brands Anymore
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, loud and proud branding was the flavor of the week. Apparel companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, Louis Vuitton and Prada made billions selling their heavily-logoed merchandise. Wealthy consumers scrambled to shell out money for extremely recognizable pieces; teenagers were proud to wear a brightly-colored t-shirt emblazoned with the Hollister Co. logo.
Fast forward to 2016, and conspicuous branding is a signifier of retrograde marketing and outdated attitudes about consumption and display of wealth.
Modern consumers have shown a clear preference for more understated and subtle products and merchandise, which has left previously logo-heavy companies scrambling to assimilate their output to modern tastes.
Your style of branding has a huge impact on how consumers perceive and remain loyal to your company. Flexibility in your branding is vital to staying relevant as consumer opinions and tastes change.
Consumer behavior in the digital age is an ever-changing and ever-expanding anomaly. Staying in tune with consumer behaviors, tastes, and impending trends can help your brand stay relevant, visible and engaging for your customer base and prospects.