Customers want personalization

The customers of the future: want personalization and trust

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Worldwide A.T. Kearney study expects the market to change radically by 2027

"Gone are the days when mass markets obeyed the laws of prosperity, advertising seduction, and size," said Dr. Mirko Warschun, trade and consumer goods expert at A.T. Kearney the management consultancy's most recent study: "We are currently experiencing a radical shift in market mechanisms towards a world in which trust, personalization and individual influencers make the difference. The big players will have to prepare for a radical change in the next 10 years if they want to keep their market share until 2027.

AT. In the extensive Global Future Consumer study, Kearney has more than 7,000 mostly "future customers" (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X) in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India and China about their preferences and their consumer behavior questioned. The results show what will move the customers of tomorrow - and that the big players have a lot of catching up to do in the future, central point of trust.

The most important drivers on the way to the consumer world of tomorrow are demographic change, new values ​​and hyper-connectivity: In 2027, a third of humanity will belong to Generation Z (born between 1998 and 2016). The values ​​of this future target group (respect, social entrepreneurship and a high level of personal responsibility) have emerged on digital platforms. Social justice, protection of the climate and individuality shape their shopping behavior. Your world is "hyper-connected": As early as 2016, 2.8 billion were connected to one another in social networks. 44 percent of all respondents worldwide are active in social networks. In China and India the numbers are even higher.

Three central principles for the consumption patterns of tomorrow can be derived from the study results: First, trust will become the most important basis for business relationships. For large companies and brands, however, it has become increasingly difficult to win or maintain the trust of their customers. While five years ago 30 to 40 percent of those surveyed said they had little or no trust in the big players, 50 to 60 percent worldwide now state that they do not trust them or only trust them very little. The loss of trust due to the preference of young consumers in particular for brands that protect the environment and campaign for social issues is even more explosive (more than 70 percent are willing to pay a premium).

The second principle of the future consumer world, digital influence, means that, as a result of permanent networking, individual voices can influence entire markets. It is already clear today that those who know that influencers on the Internet are on their side have power. 54 percent of Generation Z respondents say that they allow bloggers and vloggers to influence their purchasing decisions.

Personalization is the third principle that businesses need to learn. This makes big data a future success factor for individually tailored offers. 30 to 45 percent of the customers surveyed worldwide are willing to share their data with a company if, for example, they receive personalized dietary recommendations in return.

"We are currently experiencing a global shift from the affluence to the influence model," says Warschun, summarizing the change. If customers in the old world defined themselves through their property and were able to satisfy customers' needs sufficiently well with static business models and a "one size fits all" marketing strategy that follows the major trends, the Influence model requires highly differentiated approaches that Rely on many individual influencers and understand the signals from customers immediately and know how to implement them.

"Niche brands that stand for authenticity and values ​​and have a perfect command of social influencer marketing are competing with the big players for market shares," warns Warschun. But even big brands have opportunities in the Influence model, as the sports goods manufacturer Adidas shows: "With micro influencers and the involvement of athletes, customers and business partners, trust-building communities are created". In addition, he recommends, in order to regain lost trust: more quality than quantity and a narrowly defined performance promise instead of a wide range of products.

About A.T. Kearney

AT. Kearney is one of the world's leading management consultancies for top management and advises global corporations as well as leading medium-sized companies and public institutions. With strategic foresight and operational implementation strength, the consulting company supports its clients in the transformation of their business and their organization in order to achieve long-term advantages. The focus is on the topics of growth and digitization, innovation and sustainability as well as the optimization of complex production and supply chains. AT. Kearney was founded in Chicago in 1926. In 1964 the first office outside the USA opened in Düsseldorf. Today A.T. Kearney around 3,600 employees in over 40 countries around the world. The company has been advising clients on a climate-neutral basis since 2010.

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