By Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO, Capillary Technologies
It would be nice for any business to be able to know market trends before they happen and plan accordingly. Unfortunately, no one can see the future.
But don’t worry: some market trends are unmistakable. And when you can see trends develop in real-time based on proper analytics and flexible game plans, your business can capitalize, no matter how the market behaves.
So regardless of your industry, here are five insights you can take to the bank on consumer behaviour in 2014.
1. Mobile will overtake desktop for internet usage.
It doesn’t take a single statistic for your average city dweller to describe the power of mobile phones (especially smartphones) in the mind of the consumer. Phones are a constant in society; The average person checks their phone 110 times per day!
A Microsoft infographic perfectly illustrates the degree to which mobile internet users will surpass desktop users, along with several other rather startling stats about American mobile phone use (US users spend 2.7 hours per day socializing through their mobile devices, and 29% are open to using a mobile device to scan for coupons. The story doesn’t change when it comes to email, either: 48% of all emails read are now opened and read on a mobile device.
When the internet is right there in the palm of consumer hands in the form of their trusty portable communications device, it is only natural for them to surf the web more often and use that device to purchase. That’s what we are seeing, and that’s what we will continue to see, too.
2. Emerging Markets will continue their torrid growth.
Emerging market growth has gone from overlooked opportunity to crowded, explosive, high-growth market. In 2013, growth in emerging markets outpaced advanced markets for the first time ever, coming in at nearly $2 trillion higher. An Ernest & Young report on global markets suggests 70% of growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets, including 40% from India and China alone. These markets will take their place as major competitive territory for big and small brands alike, as the volume of consumers balloons more and more.
To reap the largest profits, be open to opportunities in all markets.
3. Older markets will continue to grow.
We all get older, and we live longer than ever. Therefore, it only makes sense that the 65+ consumer is becoming more and more plentiful. This key consumer segment makes up roughly 40% of all consumer spending. That spending is overrepresented given the actual population of this consumer group; while the population is growing overall, the 65+ crowd makes up roughly 12% of the actual population.
Expect a continuation of this overall trend. Older consumers will make up the largest consumer group on the open market soon; how much acceleration toward that natural trend outcome we see in 2014 is a question that can only be answered by the spending habits of consumers.
4. Crowdfunding will POP.
Modern crowdfunding has been around since 1997, but it has been around in some form or fashion for a few hundred years. Still, crowdfunding has gained much greater popularity in recent years with the rise of Kickstarter (the non-profit engine started in 2009) and RocketHub (started in 2010).
This movement has yielded excellent results for several incredible companies, including virtual reality champion Virtuix’s $1 Million+ campaign in their launch of the hyper advanced Virtuix Omni; Sock Monkeys Against Cancer (SMAC), which raised $35,000 creating huggable sock monkeys for cancer victims; Makey Makey, an invention kit product that raised more than half a million dollars; and many more.
These are not entirely isolated incidents; it turns out crowdfunding is probably here to stay. An industry report from MassSolution claims crowdfunding will double from $2.7 billion in 2013 to $5.4 billion in 2014. Small businesses are putting campaigns out there, and consumers are opening their wallets.
5. Customers will more actively engage brands on social media.
Either social media is an effective tool to foster customer loyalty, customers actively seek out brands they like on social media, or social media advertising works. Whatever the cause, consumers continue to engage brands on social media on a regular basis. The number of people following brands on social networks has more than doubled the last few years.
There is some interesting deeper data behind this trend, too. Customers who do engage brands on social media are 53% more likely to be loyal customers of the brands they follow.
And the #1 reason customers follow brands is to get discounts and coupons.
Look for more customer chatter, and for companies to respond more commonly, encouraging that chatter to grow even more.