What hasn’t been written about the consumer and his unpredictable behavior – in recent years, this has been exacerbated by social media, ZMOT (zero moment of truth) and the endless multi-optionality that this implies. I fondly remember my personal start in this wonderful world – it started in 1998 with an article about the „consumer with 100 heads“ in the French magazine PROCESS in which I explained that you never know exactly with which head of the consumer you are interacting and communicating. With Corona, a new era is also beginning in research, as current experiences will change consumer behaviour forever. I would suggest that we speak of 2020 as year 0 A.C. (not after Christ’s birth but after Corona). The much-cited panic has so far failed to materialise in Germany; 46% see no impact on their salary despite foreseeable insolvencies and possible unemployment (Kantar). However, I suspect a large bias in these figures – depending on whether they are self-employed, employees (in large and small companies) or even civil servants. The consumer adapts to his new everyday life, which is becoming even more digital due to the system. We spend more time at home and the „shopping experience“ is reduced to food shopping, which in these times has little to do with experience. The digital channel is therefore becoming even more important. Children play digitally on the same channels as their parents, who enjoy an e-wine or an e-beer together with their friends. The consumer adapts. Fast. And you? Amazon is looking for 100,000 new employees to meet the exponentially growing demand. Last week, Jeff Bezos made $10 billion even though Amazon Prime delivery times have been extended up to 4 weeks. He is creating the shopping experience that you can’t have in the analog world right now, changing long-term implicit automatisms in the consumer. Exciting times. We have to stay at home and make ourselves comfortable – with or without a home office. Linguistically, we are also experiencing exciting times, as there are no English equivalents for gemütlich, mulmig or hamstershopping. The Danes invented the term Hygge, a term created many years ago, which can be translated roughly as nice pleasant moments (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygge). Maybe we should reinterpret the cocooning from the 80s, digitally enrich it and call it corooning in year 0? Disney Plus reacted agile and preferred the launch in Germany – of course the first 7 days for free. Mouthwatering sends its regards. We can no longer travel and luxury products are becoming shelf warmers. Feel-good products, (board)games and entertainment are the hit, and everything that seems helpful for mental and physical fitness is going through the roof. Vintage and multi-sensory products are increasingly coming back in this context. Homo sapiens discovers the phone function on their smartphone…the number of calls has gone up by 38% and conversations have become longer by an average of 47% (Vodafone). We seek closeness and exchange. China is not only 4 to 8 weeks ahead of us in the corona virus learning curve, we can also see how consumer behaviour is changing rapidly there. Through home office and staying at home, sales in cosmetics and fashion are declining – who wants to make up for Skype or Zoom? WeChat and TikTok are rapidly changing their content. A wealth of new ideas for products and business models are emerging. Here the very well known quote from David Ogilvy comes a new relevance: The consumer does not behave as he says, he does not say what he thinks, and he does not think what he feels. Right now it is time for implicit and digital forms of consumer research that enable consumers to understand their new world – their changing needs, passions, fears and dreams. Are you ready?
This new era is a global phenomenon – the brands and companies that are most agile in the year 0 A.C. and understand and take the implicit desires and dreams of consumers seriously will emerge as winners from the crisis. You need support? The FutureFour Oliver, Jens, Max and Dag look forward to answering your questions.