Monday, June 17, 2024

Accenture’s digital marketing firm predicts 5 global consumer trends in 2024

The world’s largest digital agency, Accenture Song, released on Tuesday, Oct. 17, its 2024 Life Trends, which identified five emerging movements among digital consumers that will influence purchasing habits over the next year.

The first three trends capture how consumers are reacting to business practices today. From awareness of cutbacks to a growing ennui for current offerings, Accenture Song found that companies need to prioritize customer experience over efficiency, risk novelty, and incorporate new technology to earn back loyalty.

The first trend in the report “Where’s the Love” described how consumers are noticing that cutbacks are resulting in worsening customer experience. For instance, cases of shrinkflation, where customers get less product for the same price, and skimflation, where customers are getting less service than before, are becoming more common and heightening buyer’s distrust.

While Mark Curtis, Accenture Song’s global sustainability lead, acknowledged that businesses have to take action to remain viable in the current difficult economy, he also argued that building customer loyalty is an investment into a company’s future.

”Of course, the long term challenge here is to brand loyalty. If we sacrifice all the things that matter in customer [experience]… we will be failing to build the long-term brand value, which companies can capitalize on when things begin to rebound,” Curtis emphasized.

Similarly, the next trend “Meh-diocrity” reveals that as companies become more conservative due to economic headwinds, reductions are being reflected in unoriginal offerings like unceasing movie sequels and repetitive marketing content.

Additionally, rather than creating for their audiences, companies and creators are pandering to platform’s algorithms by using the same techniques to increase their content’s visibility, reach, and monetization, a practice that contributes to the monotony perceived by consumers.

“[Creativity] is being reduced by an over reliance on the mindset that what worked before will work again. We’re losing a bit of the risk-taking of the creative,” stated Katie Burke, Accenture Song’s global thought leadership lead.

“We have to have people with the mindset shift that novelty is still important. Take a bit of risk every now and then. Break the templates. That’s what we’re seeing as what’s next in content entertainment.”

The third trend or “The Great Interface Shift”, though, points businesses towards technology that could improve customer’s digital experience: Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Delving beneath the Generative AI hype by jumping off of how businesses are starting to use it in customer service, this trend anticipates that one of Generative AI’s largest contributions will be to advance conversational commerce.

Rather than the transactional interface of a website, chatting with an AI over voice or messaging platforms could allow brands to bring their customers a new level of personalization with less labor, thereby allowing them to feel cared for and relevant.

Notably, the last two trends focus on how customers are asking disruptive questions. While these discussions may seem to have little to do with businesses on the surface, these questions will eventually force businesses to rethink how they approach technology and customers themselves.

In the fourth trend they dubbed “Error 429: Human Request Limit Reached”, Accenture Song found that people are approaching the limits of how much technology they can take and are resultantly, examining its place in their lives.

“We’re not saying that tech is bad or anything like that… [But] in the last two to three years, there’s been a lot of new developments in technology which people feel are happening too fast,” Curtis explained.

“What we’re also seeing is that the more people use technology, the more likely they are to agree tech has complicated their lives as much as simplified it.”

He further elaborated that the complications technology has brought include the need to learn new skills, such as digital literacy, as well as the amount of time, attention, and cognitive load people are realizing is demanded by technology.

As such, people are beginning to limit their technology use. For example, they are regulating screen time through screen management apps. Moreover, consumers are also judging how companies are utilizing technology because they believe businesses should help solve the problem of overwhelming technological innovation.

“[Companies’] tech choices and how they operate are increasingly affecting brand because the rapid pace of technology innovation is demanding responsible decision-making with well-being as a key focus,” Curtis said.

Lastly, Accenture Song grandly titled their fifth trend “Decade of Deconstruction”. It encapsulates how people are challenging traditional milestones such as marriage, owning a home, and having children.

This movement is prompted by disruptive phenomena and events such as climate change, Covid-19, and ageing populations that are reshaping the world and subsequently, forcing people to reimagine what their present and future should look like.

Accenture Song believes these changing perspectives will have a large impact on the way the world does business.

“The milestones that we relied on in popular culture to build our businesses, to sell people products and services, those milestones and pathways are being eroded and there is a shift in focus to much less clearly defined goals such as mental wellbeing or simply contentment,” Curtis warned.

However, Accenture Song noted that the positive side of this trend is that companies are recognizing the need to adapt.

“There’s quite a lot of cause to be optimistic about where should we begin building our [future] from here…What we heard from our clients is ‘we know we got to change. Where are we going to begin?’”

The 2024 Life Trends report is Accenture Song’ 17th annual report that surveyed over 2000 participants from across the globe.

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