Understanding evolving consumer behaviours

Written by Marcela Balart

There is no doubt the aftermath of the global pandemic has played a key role in triggering changes to the way we live our lives, both from an economical and societal perspective.  

ASIC has found more than five million Australians are experiencing financial strife due to the cost-of-living crisis.  

IMPACT partner and behavioural psychology specialist, Kris White, observes the changes in consumer spending to manage the initial squeeze have, over time, led to a realignment of our values and lifestyles. 

“Years of economic pressure, intensified by the lasting impact of COVID-19, have reshaped our values, leading us to spend and live differently, driven by a new sense of what truly matters,” Kris says. 

Championing sustainability  

“Climate change and economic necessity are heightening our core values of sustainability. Embracing the circular economy and minimalism, people are adopting plant-based diets, sustainable fashion and travel, and making energy-efficient home improvements,” he says.  

In the fashion world, classic designs have been making a comeback with the appreciation of well-made garments. The recent Met Gala was filled with vintage pieces!  

At home, the cost-of-living crisis takes this one step further with an increase in discount shopping. Just last week, global second-hand thrift store, Savers, opened its first Sydney store to huge fanfare.  

“There’s still room for consumer spending, but the key is finding the sweet spot.  

“In a world where financial pressures from everyday living are high, brands should be mindful of offering value in the form of competitive pricing, effective marketing and even through the customer experience they offer.  

“Value comes in various forms, and like the celebrities at the Met Gala, consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that signal a genuine commitment to social and environmental causes, as it enhances their own status and image. When used authentically, this kind of virtue signaling can be a powerful tool,” Kris adds.  

Taking stock of your customers 

With all eyes on economic and financial pressures, Kris says it’s time for organisations to re-focus internally, review customer values and determine whether the brand is still aligned.   

“It’s possible these shifting values can be overlooked as temporary fads  or only relevant to one particular segment, but the reality is that the core values of your existing customers’ values and lifestyles are likely entering a new, lasting reality before your eyes. 

“Reviewing your brand and your customer’s values and updating audience profiles will not only help maximise your message cut-through in this environment, but also identify opportunities to innovate and diversify,” he says. 

Just this week, McDonalds launched a new ‘McSmart’ meal exclusive to its Australian franchises, acknowledging its customers focus on value for money during the cost-of-living crisis.   

“Once you grasp the shifts, ask yourself: how well do your products or services align with these new values?  

“Ultimately, organisations must decide how, not if, they will meet the needs of a new value-driven landscape,” Kris concludes. 

How long has it been since you reviewed your audience profiles, customers values or messaging? IMPACT is currently offering 10% off our audience profiles workshop if you book before the EOFY. Secure your discount by contacting Nicole Webb at nicole@impactagency.com.au by 30 June 2024.  

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