3 emerging trends in consumer expectations

At the end of 2013, InSites Consulting (together with data collection partner GMI) asked almost 7,000 citizens in 17 countries worldwide for their expectations towards brands in 2014. We already published a first article showing consumers’ priorities for brands, but based on their consumer wishes we were also able to define three emerging trends in consumer expectations towards brands.

Trend 1: Customer service is less important for younger generations

64% of the Baby Boomers expect more focus on it in 2014, while among the youngest generation (Gen Z) this number drops to 56%. Digital natives go more for ‘self-service’ and ‘peer-to-peer help’ rather than for human customer service by the brand. GiffGaff already surfs on this trend: it has created a community in which customers help each other out with specific questions.

Trend 2: Brands need to involve consumers… for real and in the right way

Consumers expect brands to actively involve them, but not too much. The collaboration between consumers and the brand needs to fuel the creation of better products/services by the company. They do not want to take over the creative process themselves. Again, a generational difference is noticed: Baby Boomers, who are less used to this approach, are expecting it less. The younger generations see it more as a given. But Gen Z is rather skeptical about the concept: brands need to show that they will act upon the consumer input to make the collaboration model sustainable. The study also reveals that consumers do not want full transparency (knowing everything the company does and why). Only when mistakes are being made should the company be fully open and honest.

Trend 3: Acts, not gifts

People around the globe value actions from brands to reduce their impact on the environment, ensuring that their products are made in ethical working conditions; acting as a member of society scores higher than simply donating money to charities. Depending on the specific situation of the country, the eco-friendliness or ethical working conditions top the list. Females value ‘acting responsibly’ as a company more than males do.
In the coming months we’ll be sharing more results from this online survey among 6,975 global citizens in 17 countries worldwide (Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Russia, China, India, Japan, Australia, the United States and Brazil), focusing on social media behavior, willingness and reasons to collaborate with consumers and much more. So stay tuned!

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