Consumers More Adept At Managing Disruption, EY Study Finds

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Consumers More Adept At Managing Disruption, EY Study Finds

Close to half (47%) of global consumers say that they are optimistic about the future, despite concerns about rising living costs (cited by 73%), climate change (63%) and geopolitical tensions (51%), a new study by EY has found.

The latest edition of EY's Future Consumer Index, which surveyed more than 23,000 consumers across 30 countries, found that consumers are becoming more adept at managing disruption, indicating that global uncertainty has become 'normalised' for many – some 61% said that they feel 'in control of their lives'.

Consumers Seek Independence

At the same time, consumers are eager to establish their own independence, seeking out information, making decisions and taking actions autonomously, rather than relying on traditional sources of influence – a scenario that may present challenges for retailers and CPG firms.

Many consumers are turning to digital channels for information on a particular product or service, with 57% saying that they look to engage and/or contribute to online communities for advice when making a purchase, while 61% noted that they bought a product based on the recommendation from an influencer.

Only a fifth (21%), however, clicked and followed an ad on social media.


Younger generations, including Gen Z (40%) and millennials (39%), are more likely to engage with online communities ahead of making a purchase decision, compared to Gen X (30%) and baby boomers (17%), as are consumers in Asia (44%), compared to 32% in the Americas and 29% across Europe.

'Circle Of Influence'

“To meet and connect with today’s independent consumers, retailers need to understand them in a new way and earn a place in their circle of influence," commented Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader.

"These consumers are becoming more selective about whom and what they listen to, and they feel empowered to demand fair value for their time and money. Artificial intelligence and other technologies can help retailers and consumer products companies meet some of these needs, but the human touch through authentic, trustworthy connections and engagement is more important than ever.”

Close to half (49%) of those that said they followed an influencer did so because they felt the content was valuable, while 44% found the content enjoyable, EY's study also found.


Online Marketing Rethink

Elsewhere, consumers are expressing resistance to conventional online marketing methods like third-party cookies. According to EY, 36% of respondents find pre-filled shopping carts at checkout to be a negative aspect of the online shopping experience.

Similarly, 30% feel that websites tracking user movements worsen their online shopping experience. Additionally, 22% believe that tailored ads based on browsing or purchase history have a detrimental effect on their online shopping experience.

“Data is king for consumer products companies and brands, but they all must be transparent about how they use data and make it as easy as possible for people who do not wish to share their data to opt out," Rogers added. "If it is too complex, consumers will leave the site rather than work out how to change their data-sharing preferences.”

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