iConsumer research

iConsumers: Life online

January 2013 | By Jürgen Meffert, Eric Hazan, Nicola Wagener, Bertil Chappuis and Ewan Duncan

Consumers around the globe have rapidly adopted new digital technologies and incorporated them into their everyday lives. You only need to ride the Tube in London, walk the streets of New York, or sit in a café in Rio, to observe how quickly and completely—so many people have put their mobile phones at the center of their day-to-day lives.

And of course it doesn’t stop with phones. As our global research shows, consumers the world over own and use a wide array of digital, Internet connected devices and applications at home and on the go, and they’re using them in ways that will shift hundreds of billions of dollars in economic value. For many complex, multinational organizations, recognizing and responding to these consumer behavior changes remains both a critical challenge and a competitive opportunity.

Through our global iConsumer research program, we have surveyed well over 200,000 consumers over the past few years to understand and quantify how their behavior and spending is changing across platforms (e.g., from PC to mobile to tablet), over time, and between key geographies. We have deep insight into how these consumers are communicating, consuming video in new ways, using social networks, playing games, and shopping both on- and offline.

In this compendium of nine reports, we present a number of our recent findings and recommendations. We begin by exploring the opportunities in digital marketing and the role that digital and mobile tools play in the consumer’s decision process. The implications for “brick-and-mortar” retailers are particularly acute, and we propose some of the strategies they can employ to win these mobile shoppers. For communications service providers, the value proposition is rapidly shifting from a voice-led offering to all-data, and we discuss the implications and opportunities for telcos. Moreover, as the next piece shows, online channels represent a substantial opportunity for telcos to both serve and sell to valuable segments.

The changes for traditional media players are equally profound: we investigate how they can operate in today’s digital environment. Understanding the demographic and segment level differences and how much more rapidly the youngest cohorts have integrated digital technologies into their communication and entertainment lives is the focus of our next article. We then review some of the major global changes—the emergence of a substantial African Internet class, the rise of the Brazilian digital consumer, and the complex usage of social networks by Chinese consumers. Such phenomena could shape the next generation of global consumer opportunities. Finally, we look into the upcoming changes for the video industry from OTT and other IP-delivered video to multiple different screens.

To read the full compendium, download “iConsumers: Life online,” (PDF–1.36 MB).