How we have changed
Recently I heard a friend answer the question “how old are you?” with “I prefer not to answer” and I was left thinking about human beings’ resistance to change.
I am 43, and today I can easily say it, although I recognise that my transition to 40 was not at all easy. I was wondering: what do I do now? Is what I’ve done so far what I wanted to do? Am I too old for this or that?
In short, I asked myself a lot of questions, and I acknowledge that for many of them I still do not have an answer, yet I have come to realize that any transition needs acceptance first. That acceptance brings with it an adaptation, which ultimately leads to enjoyment of the new reality.
This personal reflection has also been reflected in my professional experience.
I started working in advertising in December 1999, at a time when I was invited to the opening of a new .com almost daily.
Imagine what it was like for a 22 year old kid to start working in a place where every day he is invited to a party! I felt like the luckiest guy on earth! Soon, however, the bubble burst, and I saw unfold the reality of billionaires, and many others, losing everything.
At the time, I was neither prepared to become rich, nor poor. I was simply in a position to observe what happened and that helped me become aware of the changes and professional challenges that a transition brings. And, more importantly, the importance of how to deal with it.
Changes in consumption in 2020
2020 is another one of these transitional times, when a pandemic has changed our consumption habits and the way we communicate.
I find myself once again in a position to observe, watching as some companies are making a killing while others simply can’t get ahead.
From IM+C Independent Advertising Agency, we are working for example with companies in the tourism sector to help them face this new and complicated reality as well as with technology companies who are truly entering their moment of glory.
We know that those who understand consumers and their environment know how to manage their value proposition and evolve with it.
The trend in internet consumption was already occurring before the pandemic, yet there is no doubt that its rise has been accelerated. We see the importance that “Smart” products such as televisions (Smart TV’s) or speakers (Smart Speakers), online shopping, game consoles, or entertainment consumption are taking on, and with this, services such as Spotify, Netflix and Amazon continue to grow their audience.
To give you an example, it is estimated that Spotify in the USA will increase its number of listeners by 23% compared to last year, with a progressive trend that will reach 30% by 2024.
One would think that since we are at home more, we would listen to more music. However, statistics show that although the audience is growing, listening time has decreased, precisely because we have stopped listening to music on our commutes.
Consumption changes because the environment changes.
Before the pandemic, the consumer was typically a driver, a traveler, a socialite, an investor, but now they are more conservative with their investments, they hardly travel at all, and their interaction is focused on their immediate environment. As a result, they are more concerned about being informed and attentive to news.
They use instant messaging tools more frequently (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.), ecommerce platforms for their most basic needs (e.g. food shopping), and seek to entertain or educate themselves while sitting on their couch.
It is worth mentioning however, that these changes in consumption, with their pros and cons, are not the same for everyone.
I belong to Generation X, linked to the birth of the computer and e-mail, and like the ones who came before us (“Baby Boomers“), we are more deliberate and slower in our acceptance of change than the younger generations.
The younger generations are more accustomed to immediacy and constant change, like the Millenials, who were born with cell phones and social networks or Generation Z, who have the foundation of a 3D and augmented reality.
We will see how all this pans out, but it is clear that for a brand it is key, now more than ever, to understand the change that the consumer has undergone and, therefore, to adapt its product, service and communication strategy to this new digital transformation.