“Keeping up with global trends in today’s social media crazy world is no longer an option.”
Everywhere I look I see a move towards a consumerism founded on ethical awareness, economic sustainability, corporate responsibility and healthy lifestyles. Combine these values with a desire for higher-quality, greater choice, and lower prices and we have a fascinating, contradictory message from consumers.
A study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC): Mapping Your Future Growth – Five Game-Changing Consumer Trends, puts forward some interesting ideas.
There’s Nowhere to Hide
The BDC study states that 84 per cent of the population is connected to the Internet and on average they own 2.6 devices. Two-thirds of those on the Internet use social media and 41 per cent buy products and services online. Of course, that’s still a minority – a heck of a big one though!
The worldwide web, the Internet, social media, the sheer level of consumer connectedness, is affecting the way we decide what, where and when to buy. I see people in stores, heck I’ve done it myself, price-checking on their Smartphone. We all do it. If we’re not checking prices we’re reading customer reviews. The scary thing for us as small businesses? If we’re not managing our online presence – and make no mistake, we all have one – then we have no idea, or control over, what people are saying or reading about us.
The Health Kick
Health and wellness products and services are hot right now. We’re in the age of the baby boomer. In 2015, for the first time ever, there were more elderly people than children. And that’s a strong market – maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very much de rigueur for the 60 plus demographic. However, consumers of all ages are very active in this trend.
The spa market is big, and getting bigger; health drinks are booming while pop sales are starting to weaken (check out sugar taxes); and anything to do with weight management, especially meal replacements (a $35 million market) is growing.
Local Is Good
Increasingly people want to purchase goods made closer to home; it’s green, and economically and socially responsible. The BDC report states, “… close to six out of ten Canadians consider themselves ethical consumers.” It goes on to report, 97 per cent of Canadians buy local to support the local economy, 96 per cent to support local farmers, 93 per cent to create local jobs and 87 per cent because they feel it is better for the environment.
I Want It My Way
This is what I call the Starbucks trend. If you’ve ever stood behind me in line at a coffee shop, you’ll know what I mean. My brew is a Grande, quad, long shot, non-fat, extra hot, Americano Misto. This ability to have things tailored to our every desire is huge, with almost one-third of consumers wanting personalized products and services.
The 2008 Echo
Salaries have stagnated over the last ten years and we are all using debt to replace non-existent wage increases. The average Canadian owed $21,348 in consumer debt at the start of 2016 excluding their mortgages. The average family debt is around $100,000. Rather than cutting back on buying however, consumers are looking for bargains. Take Groupon – with 40 million active customers, people pounce on its daily offers before they sell out.
Trend watching is not only fascinating, it can help keep your marketing strategy on point during a time when data is flying around quicker than clichés on a chat show. Ensure you monitor your customers’ online chatter, and analyze it thoroughly – you need to know what they are saying about you, what you sell, and your competitors. Interact with your customers online – create a dialogue – get them to share their thoughts and opinions – find out what they want now and deliver it.
Read my full article HERE
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