Here is part two of our summary of the biggest 2014 trends that will be affecting consumers, retailers and media channels. Our aim is to keep you guys abreast of cultural developments and help you to identify new communication opportunities.
If you missed part one, don’t worry! Just click here to catch up.
8) Changing retail environment
The retail landscape is experiencing change. While we have plentiful opportunities to shop online, retailers are also giving new reasons for shoppers to spend time in their physical spaces. Mobile technologies are helping to enhance and extend the shopping experience and lines between online and offline shopping experiences are becoming blurred. With technologies that have already been implemented like fingerprint scanning, 360˚scanners and OOH virtual shopping walls, it has meant that alongside mobile apps, smartphones have and will further become indispensable pocket shopping assistants.
In addition, the retail space itself is changing. Experience-driven shopping experiences are becoming increasingly common as the physical is overlaid with the digital. Brands are increasingly creating immersive brand experiences, allowing consumers to be engaged fully in the brand across all 5 senses.
Furthermore, there is an emphasis on shifting from a multi-channel to an ‘omni-channel’ shopping experience, providing consumers with a consistent shopping experience across channels and multiple devices. It is important to consider that, while the retail landscape is changing, online retail growth still remains the largest growing shopping channel.
9) Disruptive force of emerging markets
The rise of middle-class consumers in emerging markets are leading to radical shifts in business models and the types of products they are producing. Global brands are producing innovative designs, reducing manufacturing costs and therefore offering cheaper entry price points. The telecom and automobile industries have been the first to benefit from this and balancing the affordable with product functionalities will be key focus for these consumers.
With emerging markets accounting for nearly 50% of the world’s total consumption and China and India accounting for two-thirds of this expansion alone, brands need to continue to identify opportunities for growth within these untapped markets, especially as they are up against aggressive local players.
With many consumers in these emerging markets having only one Internet-enabled device, mobile and mobile video will be a key advertising channel.
10) Exclusive collaborations
Big name brands are collaborating in order either to maximise their impact in market or enter markets where they previously had no presence. It has become an increasingly popular way of supercharging innovation. Even the most successful companies have benefited from participating in a joint project or venture with another complementary brand, and consumers are increasingly more receptive to the collaborative approach.
Examples of brand collaboration have been present across all types of categories from Evian water and French fashion designer Courrèges, to exclusive TV partnerships such as Breaking Bad and Netflix with even boy bands coming together. More adventurous collaborations from unexpected combinations of brands are also increasingly likely.
11) Owning the second screen
From smartphones and tablets to laptops and television, 90% of all media interactions today are screen-based. Consumers now move among screens to get stuff done: simultaneously and sequentially. Smartphones and tablets have become the enablers of two dominant forms of viewing multi-tasking.
Simultaneous ways of consuming media are growing, such as ‘media meshing’ (multiple devices simultaneously used to enhance a media experience by communicating or interacting with what they are viewing) and ‘media stacking’ (using multiple devices simultaneously to conduct unrelated tasks while watching TV). With each mobile device having a different role, it is important for us to understand how the consumer uses these screens. For example, smartphones keep us connected, tablets keep us entertained and computers keep us productive and informed. With multi-screen behaviour moving more mainstream, it is essential that brands own the second screen.
12) The versat-aisle shopper
Mobile technology and the digital revolution have changed the way we shop. Shoppers have a whole range of platforms at their fingertips making them more informed and more connected than ever before. Smartphones are fast becoming pocket-sized shopping assistants. Apps such as Redlaser and Barcoo simplify the product research and decision making process, allowing consumers to make relatively risk-free decisions concerning their purchases.
Their frame of reference is no longer what’s immediately in front of them; they have the ability to find the best deal at the click of a button, not just locally but globally online. Having this wealth of information at their fingertips is empowering the consumer.
What previously would have been potentially long processes have been condensed into easily digestible technology, not only on smartphones but through digitally-enhanced in store experiences such as touch screen shoppable walls. All of these are being designed to make the shopping experience as smooth and intuitive as possible.
13) Need for short-form content
With the overwhelming amount of content and information we now have access to at our fingertips, consumers have an ongoing need to have bite size and engaging content. In addition, consumers are now not just consuming media but also creating and sharing it themselves.
The way potentially complex information is laid out has a big influence on how much of it is consumed. For example, Vine requires users to tell their stories within a very short period of time. Whether it’s conveying an emotion, a joke, or a mini-story, Vine creators only have seconds to get their point across to viewers. Or alternatively, website ‘One Second Everyday’ prompts users to capture a clip of their life each day. Users can edit each clip down to one second, and each clip is then saved to a calendar. Clips then play in chronological order to create a short film.
14) The new 21st century family
Changing demographics and lifestyle preferences are leading to a shift in family structures (more divorce, delayed family formation, smaller family sizes). Despite the significant rise of cohabitation and singletons, the resilience of the multigenerational, or vertical, family is striking. The effects of our aging society naturally increase the number of generations per family. Intergenerational relationships are inevitably affected, with families becoming more organised, democratic and egalitarian (everyone becomes involved in the decision-making process) and operating as a real team. Also, with life stages being less linear, as more people re-marry and have more children, new family dynamics arise.
Meanwhile, people in many places are marrying later and postponing children, which gives them less reason to move out from the safety and care of their parents’ home at a young age. This type of behaviour is also promoted by the grim financial climate in much of the old world. One of the evolutions in terms of family dynamics, highly influenced by a liberalising tendency inside many countries, is an increasing acceptance of gay marriage. However, while in some countries this is now commonly accepted (like Germany and Holland), in other markets, such as India, Turkey and Russia, there is still some strong opposition to gay unions.
So, in conclusion…
Advertising is becoming more complex, less streamlined, and harder to execute and reach audiences at scale. Today, digital media not only presents multiple challenges, but also opportunities to extend content and experiences beyond traditional media norms.
Omni channel advertising has been gaining momentum. Brands need to use platforms less as siloes, and more as a seamless approach to engaging with their consumers in a meaningful way and across multiple screens at the same time.
The rise of the smartphone penetration and tablets is presenting more and more opportunities for advertisers. The increase of smartphone ownership has also encouraged the emergence of new behaviours.