3 Ways Brands Can Prepare for Consumers of the Future

September 25, 2018 Ginna Hall

It’s not your imagination, the world is getting faster.

A 2007 study found that, around the world, people are walking about 10% faster than they used to. Researchers noted that those who walk quickly are also more likely to speak fast and eat fast. They become impatient when waiting in lines or traffic, and they’re more likely to wear a watch.

Every day we see articles about how to get more done at work and or how students can learn faster. Speed can be the deciding factor that puts a company ahead of its competition.

What does this mean for us -- as marketers and as consumers? When pressed for time, human instinct is to try to become more efficient. This has translated into what Nielsen calls “the quest for convenience.” Although this trend is evolving in various ways and at different speeds depending on the region or country, it is happening nearly everywhere in the world.

In a new report, Nielsen describes this global phenomenon. By understanding what drives convenience across various marketplaces, companies can rethink assumptions, refine strategies, and develop proactive plans to satisfy consumer demand in this new era.

Six Drivers of the Quest for Convenience

Nielsen’s Quest for Convenience report describes six factors that are changing consumer behavior:

1. Rapid Urbanization

Throughout the world, consumers are flocking to urban areas in search of greater employment prospects, better infrastructure and services, and a wider array of lifestyle options. By 2025, 752 million more people will live in cities or towns than today.

2. Smaller Households

Many consumers are downsizing their physical living areas because of increasing population density, limited space for new housing and high property prices. The need for big homes is also decreasing due to the rise of smaller or single-person households.

3. Crowded Transport

In many cities, congestion is increasing, car ownership is declining and consumers are increasingly spending more time commuting on public or shared transportation. Globally, consumers average two hours of commuting every day.

4. Evolving Gender Roles

With more women in the workforce, shopping, cooking and other domestic duties are shifting to a shared role between men and women. And with the increase in dual working couples, convenience is factoring more importantly in their choices.

5. Generational Needs

People today are living longer than ever before and the global proportion of consumers aged over 50 is increasing, especially in the more developed countries, while in some regions, younger generations will remain the dominant age segment.

6. Technology Adoption

The scope and scale of technology has exploded in recent years, driving a fundamental transformation in the way consumers use devices in their lives. Technology adoption and spending varies considerably between generations.

Consumers Want Ease, Simplicity and Utility

Consumers are feeling more stretched than ever before, and are increasingly striving for convenient solutions to simplify their busy lives. Around the globe, consumers need convenience in all forms—whether simplicity, time saving or suitability.

When it comes to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), convenience is not only about store formats, products or packaging. It means making sure every interaction helps fulfil consumers’ growing demand for efficiency.

  • 27% of consumers want products that make their lives easier
  • 26% want products that are convenient to use
  • 20% want products for small and family households
  • 19% want products tailored to specific needs

While physical stores aren’t going anywhere, there’s no doubt that digital technology, connectivity and online retailing are steadily influencing the need for omnichannel experiences.

“Convenience solutions can greatly enhance physical retailing—think cashless and automated payments, grab-and-go products, and click-and-collect,” said Peter Gale, Managing Director, Nielsen Retailer Services South East Asia. “There will always be demand for physical stores, although in the evolving retail landscape, FMCG players will need [an] omnichannel presence.”

With this in mind, manufacturers, marketers and retailers can develop tailored solutions to satisfy the needs of their consumers. These solutions can be grouped into three core areas: consumption, shopping and engagement.

1. Consumption is On-the-Go

Consumers are rapidly shifting how they consume food, beverages, household and personal care items. 33% of global consumers are using restaurant or meal delivery services. Today, meal and home care regimes are seen as competing with time to relax, entertain and exercise. As a result, easy-to-prepare and prepared food options are becoming more popular.

Tip: FMCG manufacturers need to consider the entire consumption spectrum, including in- and out-of-home, to capture wallet share and grow their brand.

2. Shopping is Becoming a Chore

46% of busy, commuting consumers who live in smaller spaces increasingly find shopping to be a chore. Streamlined services, digital experiences and frictionless commerce are converging with the “brick and mortar” and e-commerce worlds to shape new shopping experiences that provide personalized and on-demand ease, utility and simplicity.

Tip: Retailers should embrace technology to enhance in-store experience and harvest location-based information to better serve local consumers.

3. Engagement Must Be Seamless

75% of global consumers are “hyperconnected” and enjoy the freedom of being connected anytime, anywhere. No matter whether it is before, during or after consumers eat, clean or shop; there are more opportunities to engage consumers than ever.

Tip: FMCG companies need to be fully immersed in the search, social and shopping spaces and explore new ways to identify consumer needs and provide seamless connections to satisfy them.

Understanding the Quest for Convenience

It’s increasingly important for companies to understand the regional and global trends driving consumers’ need for convenience. Brands need to ask themselves how they can shorten their customers’ list of everyday chores so they can regain time to do what they value most.

By understanding six key factors driving consumers’ desire for convenience, companies can adapt and enhance their solutions as consumer needs evolve, offer better products and solutions, and remain ahead of the curve.

Get Your Copy

For more insights on what consumers mean when they seek convenience in their online, retail and home environment, download Nielsen's Quest for Convenience report.

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