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Dawn of the Promiscuous Consumer: Digital Natives Are “Shopping Around”

Digital natives have an openness toward products that generations before them have not exhibited. What exactly are the drivers behind these attitudinal changes and how are they changing the shopping experience for all consumers?

Online Shopping Computer Key

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas Series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Rebecca Brooks will be speaking at IIeX North America (June 13-15 in Atlanta). If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX NA. Click here to learn more.

By Rebecca Brooks, Co-Founder, Alter Agents

Change is everywhere. How consumers interact with brands is transforming before our eyes! This transformation has spilled over into all steps of the brand communication process from marketing research all the way to direct consumer communications. Every day, new technologies are evolving the consumer and shopper experience.

Forget the negatives typically associated with the word promiscuity. It is the best label to define how the latest generations; Millennials and Gen Z are transforming the way brands operates – specifically in the CPG sector. These groups of “Digital Natives” have an openness – or a “promiscuous” attitude, toward products that generations before them have not exhibited. What exactly are the drivers behind these attitudinal changes and how these powerful generations are changing the shopping experience for all consumers?

Grasping the Generational Shifts

Brands need to move away from the concept of building a loyal consumer base.  Marketers need to stop thinking about how to “win” customer from competitors and think about how to bring customers back. The model needs to be reframed not with loyalty as a conclusion, but with the goal of giving the consumer a reason to return. Trying to grow the percentage of the population that will only buy your product is not practical in today’s world. Market share will grow not from loyalists. Market share will grow from getting the promiscuous shopper to keep your brand in rotation.

During my presentation at IIeX North America on June 13, we will simulate the shopper journey in today’s digital age using CPG as the lens for viewing these generational changes and how to adapt. The key take aways we will discuss include:

  • Digital Natives have an entirely new way of thinking about shopping.
  • The amount of information available to them is driving anxiety and promiscuity.
  • The competitive edge is no longer just about superior product, but about providing the shopper with an experience that provides unique value.
  • Digital Natives are fluid about price and weigh many factors with each purchase, making them unpredictable.
  • Promiscuous attitudes mean we have to abandon loyalty as the end goal.
  • Brands need to provide customers with a reason to return.

Curious to learn more about this topic prior to the conference, check out our latest downloadable eBook, titled, Dawn of the Promiscuous Shopper, where we delve into the concept of who digital natives really are, how we need to change our communication to get in front of this digitally connected consumer, and present four trends emerging from our research highlighting promiscuous behavior. Another great book I would recommend is Dancing with Digital Natives: Staying in Step with the Generation That’s Transforming the Way Business Is Done.

Look forward to seeing you in Atlanta.

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One Response to “Dawn of the Promiscuous Consumer: Digital Natives Are “Shopping Around””

  1. chris robinson says:

    May 19th, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I read this with great interest expecting to find some solid evidence that in fact millennials are different from over 35 years. Unfortunately I was left wondering whether this report was a tad self fulfilling. Page 13 which has possibly the most useful summary actually indicates only marginal differences in so-called promiscuity between millennials and oldies. Without sample sizes its hard to draw any conclusion, but differences of 2-3% are hardly earth shaking as differences between millennials and an older generation

    The problem with this study is in most cases its reporting attitudes and behavior that are personal perceptions. One would expect millennials to report greater social media usage and app usage, but does it convert to real behavior? I doubt it.

    Interestingly when it comes to actual behavior in this report these differences seem minimal. I mean how millennial is it to cut out coupons? Surely that suggests very old-fashioned shopping behavior. And despite all the claims for social media as an intervening variable the differences between millennials and oldies on online use is again hardly major. See page 12. Seems to me quite a self fulfilling set of conclusions here.

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