Spotlight on: The customer

Spotlight on: The customer

Spotlight on: The customer

Technology-led disruption and shifting demographics are giving rise to a new type of customer and forcing businesses to rethink their marketing strategies. Find out more in selected insights from across PwC.

How are your customers changing and what will they demand in the future? Those are two of the most important questions a customer-centric company must ask itself at a time when technology-led disruption, shifting global demographics and a new type of young, urban and aspirational customer are shaping the plans of business leaders like never before.

Take the ‘Global Emerging Middle’ (GEM) made up of 4 billion people from India, China, Indonesia, Latin America and Africa. These regions have an average per capita income of between $1,000 and $4,000 per year. That might not seem appealing for companies that have traditionally focused on the upper and middle income tier, but this segment is a significant, expanding and untapped market, potentially worth $6 trillion by 2021, according to our Profitable growth strategies for the Global Emerging Middle report.

Companies that want to serve these new consumers will have to develop new products and services, and price them correctly. They’ll also need to establish a culturally sophisticated and diverse approach to business – one that blends innovative, collaborative business models (consider what the ‘sharing economy’ could achieve at GEM scale) with aspirational marketing to secure the continued loyalty of these new customers as they increase their economic power.

Advanced markets also are evolving, shaped by smartphone savvy customers that are willing to pay for faster delivery, higher quality and more environmentally friendly components or materials.  No wonder then that, in our most recent Annual Global CEO Survey, 80% of retail CEOs ranked technological advances as one of the global trends that will transform their businesses most over the next five years.

That doesn’t mean all commerce is going digital. The bricks and mortar shopping experience is still important in all markets but, when it comes to deals and discounts, customers increasingly run online. Over half (55%) of internet shoppers globally say they now buy online because they get better deals than in-store, according to our new research, Achieving Total Retail. That research also highlights the key role social media plays in educating consumers about both retailers and manufacturers - 59% of respondents follow their favourite brands or retailers via social media.

Even as technology evolves, one rule of business remains the same. When it comes to running a good retail business, the customer is still always right.


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