The rise of the super-connected young consumer is well documented, but research by Experian in the US (which it claims could be representative of anywhere in the world, even Nottingham) suggests that even among these heavy internet and mobile users, there are tribes emerging – and retailers and brands need to take note.
According to the research, there are now four distinct kinds of “always on” consumer, each with different peccadillos and each in need of careful handling to maximize their revenue potential.
So who are they? Well there is a detailed breakdown at the end of the story, but in a nutshell, Experian has corralled them into the following:
• The Social Butterfly – a young female about town aged 18-34, who spends most of her spare time socialising with friends or enjoying leisure activities. She uses technology for social networking, sharing and social shopping.
• The Working Professional – a career focused individual (usually male aged 35-44), accessing content on-the-go primarily for work purposes. They use technology to stay connected and informed, keep in touch and get the job done.
• The Gamer – a young single male aged 18 to 24 with a love of gaming via almost any game enabled device, the most popular being gaming consoles and mobile phones.
• Everything Tech – aged 18 to 34 and likes to be the first to try new things, from the newest bar to the hottest gadget. Tablets are the device of choice, most often used for steaming and downloading video.
Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Data & Analytics, Experian Marketing Services explains: “As our insight highlights, over the past decade, the advent of social media, the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other new connected devices, and access to limitless data regardless of location have led to the emergence of the Always On, connected consumer.
“This consumer really is a global phenomenon, equally likely to be found in New York, Nottingham or Sao Paulo. More and more of us are Always On through one device or another. Being able to interact and consume content seamlessly across various platforms is now the expectation. The rise of this consumer raises the game for marketers and brands and their marketing must evolve to become truly cross-channel. To do this marketers need to really understand and gain deep insight on their audiences, use this insight to create meaningful and relevant communications and then interact with them intelligently and consistently every single time, regardless of channel.”
MEET THE GEEKS
So what are the real details of these four sub-species of consumer and what impact will it have on brands and retailers? Let’s Meet the Geeks…
The Social Butterfly is a young female about town aged 18-34, who spends most of her spare time socialising with friends or enjoying leisure activities. She uses technology for social networking, sharing and social shopping.
• Social Butterflies have the highest levels of overall connectivity of all the Always On consumer types. On-the-go devices are particularly popular – they are 70 more likely to use a digital tablet, 48 per cent more likely to use e-readers and 60 per cent more likely to use an MP3 player than the average consumer.
• But the real draw is social networks and the need to constantly keep in touch with their friends. They are three times more likely to access social networks across every connected device.
• Mobile is crucial to them and they are almost five times more likely to access social networks via their mobile. In addition they are three and a half times as likely to check their emails and almost four times more likely to consume news on their mobiles compared to the average consumer.
• Social networks also act as their main source of retail information. Social Butterflies are 3.5 times more likely to purchase something seen on a social network and four times more likely to purchase something recommended by peers in this environment. They are also twice as likely to purchase products they see advertised to their mobile phone.
• However, Social Butterflies are twice as likely to post a review online and three times more likely than the national average to talk about a purchase on a social network.
The Working Professional is a career focused individual (usually male aged 35-44), accessing content on-the-go primarily for work purposes. They use technology to stay connected and informed, keep in touch and get the job done.
• Working Professionals are highly connected across mobile, tablets, MP3 players and above all work computers. They are 84 per cent more likely than average to use a work computer– the highest figure across any of the Always On consumer types.
• Work computers are widely used for most online activities apart from gaming and social media: they are twice as likely to email and almost three times more likely to use messaging functionality from their work computers. They are also twice as likely to also use this device for listening to music, reading news and streaming or downloading video – a reflection of their long working hours.
• Mobile phones are also central to the Working Professional’s life: They are three times more likely to see the importance of having Internet access when on the go, and over twice as likely to say their phone should help them get their work done when and where they want. Like The Social Butterfly they are voracious consumers of news on their mobiles, being four times more likely to read the news and three times more likely to send emails from their mobile than average.
• However, they are not the biggest users of social networks, nor are they as open to social media or advertising on their mobiles. Despite being highly connected consumers, they are 80 per cent less likely to want to receive adverts on their phone, almost 40 per cent less likely to follow favourite brands or companies on social sharing/networking sites and almost 50 per cent less likely to purchase products they see advertised on such sites. Yet 32 per cent say they would be interested in services that let them use their phone to make purchases in a store; they’re more than twice to be interested in this than the average consumer.
The Gamer is a young single male aged 18 to 24 with a love of gaming via almost any game enabled device, the most popular being gaming consoles and mobile phones.
• This type is more likely than average to play games on 7 out of 8 game-enabled devices including mobile phones, digital tablets, MP3 players and even work computers. They are 89 per cent more likely than average to say that they play games on their work computer at least once a week.
• Traditional media use is below average across the board – they’re 2 per cent less likely to watch TV and listen to the radio, 7 per cent less likely to read a newspaper and 9 per cent less likely to read magazines – the lowest of all the groups.
• Although they are 90 per cent more likely to purchase a product advertised on their mobile than average, generally Gamers are less interested in receiving advertising content to their mobile devices. Only 9.7 per cent of Gamers would opt into receiving ads on their mobile phones, a percentage that rises to 21 per cent if an incentive is attached.
• However, this isn’t symptomatic of their opinions on advertising as this group is the least likely of all four consumer types to see advertising as annoying or a waste of time. Peer recommendation and celebrity endorsement is more important to Gamers – this group is 60 per cent more likely to buy a product because a celebrity uses it.
The Everything Tech is aged 18 to 34 and likes to be the first to try new things, from the newest bar to the hottest gadget. Tablets are the device of choice, most often used for steaming and downloading video.
• Accessing content on the go is extremely important for this type – and nothing allows them to do this more than digital tablets. Everything Tech consumers are 63 per cent more likely to have used a tablet recently. The content of choice for this group is video – whether it’s catching up on their latest TV programmes, streaming films or accessing live content, Everything Tech consumers have streamed video content across all internet-enabled devices on a regular basis.
• Of all types, mobile devices have the strongest influence on Everything Tech’s purchasing decisions – this group are almost ten times more likely to be interested in receiving ads on their devices. 60 per cent of Everything Tech consumers purchase a product they see advertised on their device, with 64 per cent willing to accept adverts on their device if they were to receive something of value in exchange. Brand loyalty falls lowest with this group, and they are four times more likely to switch mobile phone service providers if they can offer the latest handsets and technology.
• Peer recommendation is extremely important to them. Everything Tech consumers are nearly six times more likely to trust the product information they get from social networks over other sources. Advertisements and recommendations within social networks are very influential with this group – they are six times more likely to purchase products they see advertised through these channels, and are over three times more likely to purchase products that their friends and peers have recommended.