Three demographic trends set to reshape brand expectations

31 January 2022 Consultancy.asia 6 min. read
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With the world moving to a digital-first approach and consumer expectations changing for good, the ‘experience economy’ has become epicentre of business and commercial strategies. Chandni Motwani, Strategy Director Asia Pacific at Appnovation, shares three demographic trends set to reshape brand expectations.

Great customer experience (CX) has become table stakes. APAC hasn’t been exempt from the evolving customer expectations that led to the rise of the experience economy around the globe. According to the latest white paper by Appnovation (‘The Future Consumer’), the future of the APAC marketplace will continue to be driven by experience.

Today, APAC is home to 60% of the global population. It is also inarguably the fastest growing digital economy and is poised to become the world’s biggest consumer market. Over the next 10 years, large demographic shifts are going to give the region the most relative growth in its consumer base.

By 2030

Three key rising consumer classes will drive different demands in the way consumers live, play, work, learn and spend that will ultimately transform the marketplace.

So what does this mean for brands? It is imperative for businesses to understand these consumers intimately, and build the foundation for a digital roadmap now that will close the experience gap for the consumer of the future. To do this successfully, brands need to understand the needs of three key consumer classes and take action to optimally serve them.

1) The female economy

Spending by women in China and India will overtake or closely follow spending by women in the US. Despite the growing role women play as decision-makers, they continue to be overlooked and underserved. This is particularly pronounced in industries like financial services, insurance, and healthcare.

Women in APAC will surpass other regions has the biggest global spenders by 2030

Women seek authentically different experiences than men. Brands need to leave behind the superficial, ‘pink it and shrink it’ approach to designing for women. They must tailor messaging, and address their needs with authentic, meaningful solutions to capture and retain the female consumer.

Oliver Wyman’s recent analysis found there’s a $700 billion opportunity on the table in financial services alone to serve women better.

Women - men

2) The rise of the zoomers

In ten years, Gen Z – or Zoomers – (currently aged 9-24 years) will have entered the workforce and make up 40% of global consumers. They have disparate priorities indicating that they will have entirely different sets of preferences and habits than any other generation.

Zoomers are a generation of digital natives who live online as much as offline. They are more environmentally and socially conscious – and see consumption as a method of self-expression. They care about mental health a great deal more than the previous generations and are value-driven buyers. They are also more willing to share their personal information online.

Who are the zoomers?

Brands will need to reconsider how they position their products and services to serve this consumer class better. Three ways they must do this is 1) meet Zoomers on their turf and terms, 2) weave social purpose into products and services, 3) and hyper-personalise products and services.

Further reading: OC&C survey of 15,000 consumers uncovers distinct Gen Z characteristic.

3) The empowered silver generation

Life expectancy is increasing around the world. The ‘silver generation’ (those aged 50+ in ten years), will not only have higher spending power, they’ll also lead the beginning of a massive cultural shift around aging. This generation will make up only 32% of the population but will contribute 52% of the total consumer expenditure.

They want to feel more capable and stronger, and they expect brands to deliver experiences that empower them and give them more independence. They’re willing to spend more on learning, they’re getting savvier with technology, but they have a greater concern for data security and privacy than the younger generations.

Ageing is undergoing a cultural revolution

Meeting new demands

APAC is no doubt growing to be home to the largest consumer class – the shifting demographics along with social and economic values make that apparent. It is thus important for brands to build the best strategy-led digital solutions with a holistic customer understanding. Whilst some businesses are already playing catch up, it’s also essential for brands to pay attention and focus resources in a couple of aspects which will help close the gap.

Creating inclusive messaging and design. Shifting demographics along with social and economic values means your customer personas, archetypes and segments will shift too. Taking these into account and updating your target customers’ personas as they evolve is imperative.

Identifying the right digital channels and experiences to reach your audience. Updating your customer personas/archetypes is step one. The next is to understand their adjusted journey, influences, and connections. Tracking and updating these elements is key to creating experiences that reach and serve your customers better

Building personalisation strategies. Take a data-driven approach to personalisation – key data and metrics inform predictive analytics and improve customer experience.

Being ethical and weaving purpose into your brand. A steadfast dedication to human-positive design helps build trust and loyalty with consumers.

Brands that don’t currently have a presence in the region might think they need not take notice of these, but the truth is their market share will be impacted negatively if they don’t react today. Businesses can either proactively evolve and thrive – or wait and be forced to react to survive. The choice is yours, but the time to choose is now.