Understanding shopper behaviour is essential for effective marketing planning, a challenge made more difficult by the fact that consumer preferences are constantly changing.
Marketers who identify the most important trends can use these insights to optimise their advertising strategies and sales tactics.
We’ve selected data from a range of respected sources to forecast changes in consumer behaviour in the automotive, finance, mobile, technology and travel markets in 2016.
We’ve also used consumer data from emma to provide insight into the purchase intentions of shoppers, providing a holistic view of what advertisers can expect from consumers in the months ahead.
Car buyers are tech hungry
A recent US study reports that car buyers are increasingly interested in the latest technical features. More car buyers value hi-tech features over brand according the 2016 Autotrader Car Tech Impact study. Autonomous safety features such as parking assist, collision avoidance and automatic braking are particularly high on the list, with 70 per cent of car shoppers more likely to consider vehicles with these features.
Australians place a similar importance on safety, with 74 per cent of prospective new car buyers saying that safety is an important consideration when buying a car, according to emma data.
One of the most striking findings from the Autotrader report is that 65 per cent of consumers say they would happily switch car brands to get the technology features they wanted.
New technology is a way for manufacturers to gain inroads against competitors. However, emma data tells us that building and reinforcing brand remains essential.
Some 87 per cent of new car prospects who want a car packed with extras prefer well-known car brands.
Auto advertisers can be expected to dial up car features in their communications in 2016, but it is imperative they maintain strong branding in ads. Data from emma indicates that news media, particularly print, offers car advertisers the perfect environment to promote their 2016 range to an engaged audience.
Newspaper media can drive sales
Some 850,000 prospective car buyers – 94 per cent of prospects – read news media.
The following graph shows the type of cars that newspaper readers intend to buy in 2016.
Sports utility vehicles are number one for prospective buyers, with 295,000 readers planning to splash out on an SUV.
Prospective buyers turn to a variety of sources when selecting a car. They seek advice from friends and family, visit car makers’ websites, and visit dedicated automotive websites.
Media most useful when buying a car
They also rely on traditional advertising to help them make the right decision, but not all advertising media are equally useful. Magazines and television are important to prospects, but more often than not they consider newspapers the most useful.
Readers actively engage with newspapers and think about advertising messages in them. This makes them excellent for drilling down into details, and an outstanding environment for retail/promotional messages.
Banks missing the human touch
Mobile technology has changed the way customers interact with their banks. Three of the big four banks cut the number of branches last year, and further closures are expected this year as more customers embrace digital banking.
Between them Westpac, ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank closed 156 branches, and a further 600 expected to close in the coming years.
Data from emma tells us just 6 per cent of consumers believe their bank listens to them. With fewer chances to engage customers face-to-face, banks will have even less of the “personal touch” needed to avoid commoditisation of their services.
This year, banks will have to work hard to communicate with their customers, proving that they’re more than just a utility.
Research indicates that news media can lend banks a helping hand.
You can bank on newspapers
Figures from emma show an average of 6 million readers stay up-to-date on money matters and learn about financial products and services through business and finance journalism in news media.
Most prefer to read print newspapers, which have an average of 4 million readers per month.
Newspaper media also provide banks with a direct line to consumers on the market for new financial products in 2016.
For 2016, term deposits will be the most popular financial product taken out by newspaper readers. Some 545,000 news media readers plan to apply for a new credit card, while 515,000 intend to take out a personal loan.
3D Tech to excite consumers
This year will see some exciting developments in the world of consumer technology:
Google and Lenovo plan to produce the first consumer handset using Project Tango 3D technology.
The device, set to launch worldwide later this year, aims for a new generation of smart devices that can be used for indoor mapping, virtual entertainment and 3D imaging.
Virtual reality looks set to take off this year with Facebook owned Oculus now taking pre-orders for its eagerly anticipated Rift VR headsets.
The 4K high-definition television is the latest standard for TV manufacturers, who are racing to produce thinner, more spectacular displays for those willing to pay a premium for home entertainment.
Consumer technology companies will want to stir up consumer interest in new product lines.
Figures from emma show the news media audience are happy to spend their hard-earned cash on the latest gadgets.
Readers switched on to new technology
News media reaches nine in ten of the top 20 per cent of consumer spenders on audio-visual and media equipment.
Smartphones will be the most popular consumer tech product among the newspaper audience, with 1.3 million readers splashing out on a new handset.
Some 71 per cent of consumers who are considering buying a smartphone read a newspaper in the past week.
Figures show the digital newspaper audience are just as happy to shop in-store as non-readers.
Digital readers are 16 per cent more likely to have visited a consumer electronics retailer in the past four weeks than the general population.
Mobile customers on the move
Last year, Australia’s top three mobile carriers signed exclusive deals with major content providers.
Optus partnered with Cricket Australia to produce the “Live Pass”, which gives customers the ability to watch matches.
The company also snatched the rights to English Premier League soccer from Fox Sports. Digital rights for the AFL were secured by Telstra while Vodafone signed content deals with Fairfax Media and Spotify.
This year, the “big three” will undoubtedly leverage these deals in consumer campaigns to win new customers and please existing ones.
Data from emma indicates that mobile brands fishing for new customers will find a large pool of prospective customers through news media.
Call on newspapers
Some 1.4 million newspaper media readers intend to switch mobile providers in 2016.
Almost half (42%) are willing to sign 12-month or two-year contracts, while a third prefer a prepaid deal.
Heavy newspaper readers, those who read 7+ print copies a week, are 22 per cent more likely to sign a 12-month contract than non-readers.
Weakened dollar not anchoring travellers
Many Australians are changing their 2016 travel plans due to the fall in value of the Australian dollar
Travellers are now looking to holiday closer to home, at a destination with a cheaper currency or switching to lower-cost accommodation and activities at overseas destinations.
A survey by industry group Tourism & Transport Forum found 5 per cent of travellers had already switched from an international to a domestic holiday due to the falling dollar, with 15 per cent expected to travel more domestically this year.
Travel brands can use news media to reach consumers planning a domestic holiday in 2016.
Fly high with news media
Latest emma data indicates that 15 million travellers who are planning a domestic trip are also newspaper readers. Each month, national and metropolitan newspapers reach 9.6 million travellers planning an interstate trip.
Newspapers are second only to online as the most useful media that influences holiday decisions. Some 31 per cent of Australians say they use newspapers to plan their next trip.
Figures reveal 4.2 million domestic travellers consume 7+ editions every week.
1. http://autotalk.com.au/ industry-news/autonomousfeatures-top-car-buyers-list
2. http://www.apra.gov.au/adi/ Publications/Documents/2015 1231MBSNovember2015.pdf
3. http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/ mobile-banking-tipped-towipe-out-600-branches- 20150801-gipjqa.html
4. http://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/how-the-fallinga-is-changing-travel-habits- 20150917-gjopx9.html
This article was originally published in The Works: 2016 Q1 Report.