Four global consumer trends that marketers should know about

Four global consumer trends that marketers should know about

Here we explore marketing trends from around the world and ask what insights can be drawn for marketers in UK and international brands.  

Influencer marketing in China blends social media with e-commerce

In Asia, the excitement around influencers continues to grow. For several years, brands

have been rushing to integrate these new stars of social media into their marketing strategies. The promise of influencers is simple: they can reach consumers that are switching off from traditional media, acting as brand and product advocates to millions of followers.  

According to reports, Alibaba, China’s huge e-commerce organisation, has been inviting influencers and bloggers to its Taobao marketplace platform (similar to Amazon). Here, they interact with their followers, live-stream shopping trips, and blog about the platform’s other offerings. It is thought this reflects Alibaba’s wider strategy of blending social media with e-commerce to boost customer engagement. During the live shopping trips, viewers are able to click links and buy the items in the videos. This marks a key difference between Alibaba and Amazon – shopping on Amazon is not currently a social experience.

Key take-out: We may see US and UK retailers follow Alibaba’s lead in integrating influencer marketing more directly with their e-commerce strategies 

On-demand services in Africa appeal to status seekers

Africa is going through a period of exciting economic and social change. One of the most interesting developments for marketers has been the rise of connected consumers who are hungry to establish their status in comparison with their peers. This group is making the most of smartphone technology, specifically, on-demand services. In more mature markets, the model of app-driven, on-demand services built around the needs of the consumer is familiar: from babysitting and massage therapists, to couriering and streaming Hollywood movies.

A new breed of small, entrepreneurial companies offering fast delivery of items such as gas fuel or water to customers’ doors, ordered via smartphone, are taking advantage of this demand. The convenience and availability of these services are a source of status, leading some to describe this trend as the rise of the ‘divasumer’.

Key take-out: Brands expanding into Africa may seek to innovate using on-demand apps in order to court status-seeking consumers 

Bottom of the Pyramid consumers may be the new frontier for marketers in Africa

Elsewhere in Africa, analysts believe the opportunities at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ may finally be realised. First proposed in 2004, this idea suggests that vast revenues await brands that can tailor their product offerings to the lowest earners in the world – if only they can reach and understand them. It appears this could now be taking place in Africa. SC Johnson has recently found success with a mosquito coil costing $0.01, after investing in the infrastructure needed to reach this audience. 

Key take-out: The lowest earners in Africa are a huge market for firms that are able to adapt their product offering and price points

‘Supercharged’ millennials in India want to see the responsible side of brands

Up until January this year, India was the world’s fastest growing economy. Despite endemic poverty, recent reports have identified a cohort of affluent ‘supercharged’ millennials in the country. Brands hoping to court this group should bear in mind the results of a recent BBC survey that suggests more than 80% of affluent millennial web users are seeking branded content experiences (compared with 73% worldwide). This affluent group also prefers brands that give something back to society (82%) compared with a non-affluent group 67%. Brands operating in this market are therefore under pressure to communicate how they embody these values.

Key take-out: India’s millennials reflect a broader global trend, in which younger, more affluent consumers increasingly expect brands to give back to society

James Richards Freelance Journalist
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