Market research company, GlobalWebIndex, released their latest report “Trends 19” to identify the latest global trends that can shape 2019. Using survey data collected online on demographics, online behavior, device access, media consumption, social media and marketing touch points, GlobalWebIndex compiles the information for publishers, media agencies and marketers to use. Each year, the company also publishes reports on consumer, market and industry trends worldwide, which are open for public viewing, along with references to relevant content for further insight.
Since the publication of their last report, the company noted how consumer trends shaped the rest of last year. Generation Z ushered a new wave of marketing based around entertainment and experience in order to bolster brand-consumer relationship. Chinese mobile payment applications made their foray into Hong Kong. Moreover, their success in the new market would be noteworthy for the Western market. Also, online sports broadcasting gained traction with major social media and tech giants landing viewership deals last year.
For their 2019 report, the company has identified key trends in Social Media, Esports, Trust and Digital Privacy, Green Consumerism, Voice Assistance Technology, and Cryptocurrency Usage. The report has been summarized along with the key highlights from it. Cryptocurrency has been a hotbed of conversation in recent times. Understandably, the bitcoin loophole trading software has excited a lot of people.
HOW SOCIAL IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media evolved as a way to connect to friends and family, after the world wide web erupted amongst many households. Presently social media has swelled with marketing communications and relations (B2B, B2C, and peer-to-peer). Survey results by GlobalWebIndex showed that the original meaning of “social” in the development of social media has changed.
Whilst 50% of users still use social media to connect with others, an almost equal number of users says that they log on to social media for entertainment content (funny videos, images, etc.) or online news articles. 1 in 4 people say that they have used social media to make online purchases. Due to overwhelming content on social media, many users are also lessening their time spent on social media or even abandoning it in some cases. Generation Z and Millennials were among the highest percentage (58%) of users who said they had tried significantly reducing time spent on social media, whereas 32% of all the users surveyed said they had deactivated their accounts at least once in the past 12 months. Their reasons included feeling uninterested in what people shared online, wanting online privacy, distrusting content posted by companies, or craving offline connections.
Many social media users, however, are not opposed to the changes. People responded to being comfortable with using social media for entertainment (61%), news or current affairs (54%), brand/product reviews (44%), buying or selling products (43%), and staying in touch with brands (37%) amongst other things.
ESPORTS BECOMING MAINSTREAM
The first Esports events started out in the 1990s with little fanfare, but today has turned into a huge industry with $100 Million-dollar price pools, sold-out events, and franchises that are slowly turning it into a traditional sports genre of its own. Of the 16-34 year olds who watch esports, 60% watch it once a week, and 3 in 10 responded that they had never heard of esports just a year ago. A lot of people in the UK and US also watch video game streams online (at a rate comparable to those who watch FIFA), but a far lower percentage of people watch esports, so there is an opportunity and a challenge this year to significantly increase esports viewership. Not only is there a possibility for increased viewership, but esports has now become a viable career path for many who are looking into joining these teams. For instance, many are already looking into how to buy league of legends accounts and sharpen their abilities, some are joining and streaming on YouTube & Twitch and growing a following of their own in the hope that they will become part of the esports venture.
The gaming industry is growing and already has an annual valuation far above music and film industries. Sports organizations have invested in esports in the hopes of bringing greater viewership to sports. This is because sports fans are 40% more likely to watch esports than the average population. There are already plenty of streaming services for fans to watch esports on, such as Amazon’s Twitch, YouTube’s Gaming, Steam’s Valve, as well as similar offerings from Facebook and Microsoft. The growing userbase of these platforms and ease of setting up channels for posting content means that these channels can be monetized lucratively for advertisements in the future.
TRUST IN AN ERA OF DIGITAL PRIVACY
Last year saw a number of data privacy scandals and data legislations that increased the sensitivity of 71% of consumers and made them lose their faith in data security. This has led to a rise in popularity of ad blockers and an overall distrust of advertising resulting in less effectivity of traditional online advertisements. Newer forms of personalized mobile advertisements which hold promise but require access to sensitive information are something companies need to evaluate more consciously.
Trust would be at the forefront of the company’s decisions when forming relationship with customers and so transparency regarding what is being shared needs to be established too. Trust needs to be restored in online marketing and advertisements, as well as social media itself. All is not lost as 2 in 3 respondents believe that sharing some information online is crucial and beneficial in the new digital landscape. This is because people are more likely to find their desired brands when personalized and targeted campaigns are made to reach them.
GREEN CONSUMERISM ON THE RISE
As the effects of global warming and pollution manifests and the media catches on, the population grows more aware of the implications. Millennials (61%), followed by Gen Z (58%) and Gen X (55%) are showing interest in using eco-friendly green products and 70% believe the responsibility for the environment lies within the consumers, whilst 52% and 50% think that the responsibility also lies within firms and governments respectively. As a result, firms are looking for ways to be greener and make greener products, such as Coca Cola and Evian promising to make recycled packaging; on the other hand, free-range meat products and vegan skincare products are increasing in demand.
Consumer packaged goods such as household cleaning or personal care products (73% likelihood each) and food (61%) are industries where consumers are likely to research how eco-friendly the goods are. The clothing industry, the fast fashion industry in particular, creates a lot of toxic waste and less than half of the consumers research the level of eco-friendliness of the clothes they buy, however that could drastically change when documentaries and research are disseminated to the public for creating awareness. Thus, sustainability and the environment need to be in greater focus for businesses in all industries.
THE FUTURE OF VOICE ASSISTANTS
Voice assistant technology is continuing to increase in usage, with less than half of users (adults) online having used voice assistance services in some capacity – be it via smartphones or smart home assistants. This is most evident in key Asian markets such as Asia, China and Indonesia. In the UK and US, the most common use for voice assistants in smartphones were during driving and several brands are utilizing this opportunity as well, for example, Amazon Alexa’s integration with BMW cars, and KIA & Hyundai introducing built in smart assistants of their own.
The rise in voice search and brand interactions becoming more personalized through voice has several implications for brands regarding how their speech, tone and persona manifest to the users. This is especially true for Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung – companies which offer voice services or a voice experience in general. Asking for directions is more prevalent for smartphone voice assistants, whilst activities such as listening to music and checking the weather are more prevalent for home assistants. Monetizing voice services is likely to be a challenge in the near future. People might feel like suggestions by voice assistants are sponsored. To alleviate this problem, contextually-driven interactions between the users and the resulting recommendations could help. Voice assistants can potentially play a role in effective communication in a sea of advertisements online, however the challenges need to be addressed.
DECRYPTING CRYPTOCURRENCY CONSUMERS
GlobalWebIndex has been able to survey a significant number of crypto currency users from a population of 90,000. Users and investors who were previously not surveyed due to a lack of proper inclusive surveys and relative infancy of cryptocurrency, have surfaced through this survey. From the survey results, 5.4% of the global surveyed population used or invested in cryptocurrency. Of these cryptocurrency users, 68% were male, 39% of them were aged 24-35, and 45% and 33% constituted the Middle half and the top quarter of Income groups. These people include self-employed, managers, and executives who invest in cryptocurrency alongside shares in stock market, gold, and funds. These users are highly optimistic about the economy (58% users) and are also privacy conscious (67%).
These optimistic cryptocurrency users tend to be higher risk takers (72%) and like to stand out from the crowd (68%). They are more willing to pay for newer services and experiences, visit gambling sites, visit entertainment sites such as YouTube and Twitch, and also are more likely to use VPN to mask their tracking from the government. The cryptocurrency market is unstable but also increasing in demand, and therefore 44% of the casual users see it as a long term investment, 37% also use it for transactions, and 41% are hobbyists. If you’re looking to invest in to a crypto yourself, you can get more information about bitcoin here.
WHY SURVEYS MATTER
With privacy concerns amongst consumers at an all-time high, online analytics and consumer insights provided by Big Data being incomplete and not as useful to companies as expected, surveys offer a more organic, contextual, and honest insight generating tool. As a result, GlobalWebIndex feels that surveys are much more valuable for companies. The trends showcased in the report are transparent, trustworthy and offer an all-rounded view of the developing trends worldwide. Due to variability of perception from region to region, the global inclusivity of the report thus offers relevant data for users worldwide along with the means to compare the impact of trends according to region.
Report Summarized by Khondker Faraz Shafiq
N.B. This is an abridged version of ‘Trends 19′ report. Illustrations & visuals used in it are collected from the original report by GlobalWebIndex, a market research company providing consumer profiling data to publishers, media agencies and marketers around the world, extracted from https://www.globalwebindex.com/2019-consumer-trends