Consumers in the market today are varied and multifaceted. As we look across the generations, we can see that each demographic has unique expectations and engagement preferences that build their consumer profile and behaviour.
However, the pandemic has, as tends to be the case with all dramatic world events, been a powerful equalizer as consumers across the globe experienced the same pain, frustrations, and fears – even hoping for the same things. No wonder it has seismically influenced consumer trends and accelerated the digital transformation of the customer experience on a pathway from which there’s no turning back.
Following a 2021 consumer research study across 22 countries and 25,000 respondents, Accenture found that half of all respondents have changed significantly from where they were, with an additional 33% of respondents actively evolving towards this new way of thinking and being. These consumers have so quickly evolved their values and sense of purpose over the past 18 months that they have effectively revolutionised the world of consumerism. Accenture calls them the Reimagined – consumers who are so firmly rooted in their expectations that they will leave brands that don’t recognise their new priorities – and they will pay more for those that do.
More importantly, their studies have found that these expectations, or consumer values, presented the same across all demographics: whether that is age, gender, location etc.
As PwC discovered in their Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey (June 2021):
“To be so resilient, consumers have had to pivot and adopt new habits … The changes are sticking – signifying a historic and dramatic shift in consumer behaviour.”
In short? The global consumer has changed for good.
Reviewing a multitude of data points across various independent studies, we’ve identified 6 key characteristics that are common to the revolutionised consumer, which will help estate agencies to attract, engage, and retain this encompassing consumer type. We’ve abbreviated it as the TECTAC consumer, but this new type of consumer can also be considered as the revolutionised consumer:
As digital trends accelerated during COVID-19, the consumer market has been transformed into an online platform where customers of all ages are both familiar and increasingly adept at using technology to engage with brands. In fact, 49% of Accenture’s Reimagined group said they would switch to providers that offered an enhanced buying experience through digital channels, such as virtual viewings and try-out tools. It’s all about using tech to provide the richest, smoothest, and easiest buying experience.
Consumers increasingly want brands to make their shopping experience as personal and memorable as possible. They’re asking, “do you remember me, do you care about me, do you value me?” and the best buying experiences answer these questions with a resounding yes.
Now, more than ever before, the expectation of a personal customer experience factors into the decision making of buyers across all generations. According to PwC, 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, whilst research from Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are now more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences. In addition, Oracle research found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Clearly expectations for an outstanding customer experience have never been higher, so to acquire customers, brands will need to rise to a whole new level of experience delivery.
Credibility is to be reliable, believable, and plausible, and it’s without a doubt a critical ‘must have’ for brands. In the digital age, consumers are more than ever relying on the recommendations from friends and family, as well as independent reviews, to decide on a brand or product – but this became even more important during lockdowns, when buyers did not always have the ability to get a physical sense of the service or the product and had to rely on other measures to decide if a brand is in fact credible.
According to Invesp, 90% of consumers use online reviews before visiting a business and 86% of consumers will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. Consumers in 2021 also hold personal recommendations in high regard, with 88% of consumers in Invesp’s research trusting them just as much as online reviews.
Transparency produces trust, and trust is a critical accelerator in the consumer journey. According to an Edelman survey 81% of consumers need to be able to trust a brand in order to buy from them. Accenture’s research found that consumers considered “strong ethical values” as either the most or second most powerful driver of loyalty when dealing with insurance or travel companies, pointing to the importance of trust in high value and/or high-risk purchasing decisions.
In an age where there is a myriad of options that all look and sound the same, transparency may well become one of the greatest differentiators during the decision process – even more so when buying, selling, or renting a home. Brands that show up as transparent in their processes and motivations can look forward to increased customer engagement and retention from the very first step of the customer journey.
Time is a valuable and finite resource, whether you are buying or selling. With time becoming much more fluid throughout the pandemic, consumers have engaged with brands all hours of the day and that demand for ‘everywhere commerce’ has now become a fixed requirement – according to SuperOffice, companies’ average response time is 12 hours, with a recent survey finding that 46% of customers expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours. Whether it’s through online portals to process requests or automated messaging services that give an immediate response, consumers want brands to make time for them.
2020 might have been a year of great change but 2021 was the realisation of the conscientious consumer. Community has become more important than ever, and businesses are increasingly agreeing, with a report from marketing platform AspireIQ finding that 92.26% of brands consider community to have a positive impact. A sense of connection and inclusivity are both highly valued, with consumers supporting each other more, shopping locally, and increasingly expecting sustainability. This also extends to the businesses that consumers engage with, with research from Sprout Social finding that 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them, whilst 72% of consumers want the brands they support to be positive contributors to society.
With the revolutionised consumer profile established, we can offer various strategies for estate agencies looking to attract, engage, and retain the 2021 consumer. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ strategy or tactic that you can use to transform your customer business, but the guidelines available in Reapit’s report on the Consumer (R)evolution: how to attract, engage and retain the 2021 consumer, offer a system that will help you to leverage tech, processes, and people skills to reach the heart of the revolutionised consumer.
Interested in more insights on how consumers have changed? Download your free copy of Reapit’s report on the Consumer (R)evolution: how to attract, engage and retain the 2021 consumer.