Consumers on Board: how to copilot the multichannel journey

Key findings

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Meet the smart consumer: cautious, connected and versatile

Today’s consumers are adept at filtering information and move effortlessly between channels. They expect value for money, quality and relevance, such as personalized offers. Below are some of the survey’s key findings:

  • Consumers have become more cautious, often researching carefully before deciding to buy.
  • Price is the greatest influence when deciding, but certainly not the only factor, with quality also of major importance.
  • Across most categories, we noticed a marked shift toward buying online, and a corresponding decline in in-store buying. The only categories to remain stable in-store are cars, consumer loans and telephone and mobile contracts.
  • Brand loyalty has edged up, and brands are far more important to some consumer groups than to others.
  • Consumers want reassurance. When buying cars and consumer electronics, for example, they expect a warranty and helpful after-sale support.

Following an omnichannel course: the growth of the digital purchasing journey

The proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices has given consumers instant access to powerful technology whether they are in the workplace, at home, or on the move. Our survey found:

EY Consumers on Board: Digital consumers can usefully be divided into three behavioral groups

  • Online is increasingly a factor in the purchasing journey, even when a sale is completed in-store. 62% of people globally are now digital consumers.
  • A preference for shopping in-store is more pronounced in mature markets, with emerging market online users are leading the way on the digital journey.
  • Digital consumers can usefully be divided into three behavioral groups: digital informers, digital buyers and digital “hypertaskers”.
  • The best-informed and most versatile are digital hypertaskers, and businesses must prepare for the growth of this challenging group.
  • Digital can enhance or even save traditional channels — often playing a vital role in a purchasing journey that may be completed in-store.
  • Recommendation and word of mouth are significant and can have a major impact on brand.
  • Consumers report increasing negatives associated with social media.

Service that sticks in the mind: engaging consumers with excellence

Whatever the sector, businesses face stiff competition. Advanced analytics and delivery of an outstanding customer experience hold the keys to success. Our survey found:

  • Consumers take a broad, cross-channel view, so delivering effective customer insight calls for organization-wide solutions.
  • All too often, marketers neglect the 50+ baby-boomer generation.
  • Consumers are an asset for innovation. We see active cooperation being offered in the development phase for new products in every category.
  • Consumers increasingly expect personalization. Companies need to investigate if and how they can better personalize offers, products, and consumer communication.