To study consumer behavior we focus on the way individuals and groups go about choosing and attaining new products and services. We are able to identify the ways chosen products and services affect and bring satisfaction to the consumers. Eventually we observe the resulting impact on societies. Before examining differences in consumer behavior across different cultures, it is important to take a holistic view to understand the current trends shaping consumer behavior on a global scale.
The contemporary consumer is accustomed to the sensory overload experienced with advertising and storytelling. They now covet ways to interact and participate more when it comes to entertainment, news and new products. Think about the ways social media sites enable users to post any article or webpage to friends’ walls. Friends can then “like” or comment on those postings which in a way rates or qualifies them to others. We expect this trend of growing interaction and communication to become even more important in the future.
When consumers in the information age want to know something, they are addicted to acquiring it within a matter of seconds. This is what some have termed “hyper efficiency.” Problems that used to be unsolvable are now solved instantaneously. Consumers will continue to mobilize collective knowledge and expect to access it at hyper speed.
Technological advances now allow ordinary people to create in ways that were never before possible. Computer programs are allowing everything from art to inventions to take the digital form. As technologies such as 3D printing are perfected, consumers may not need to walk into a store or order a new product online. They will be able to custom design and manufacture it with the click of a mouse.
People are becoming more aware of how their habits and purchasing behaviors are affecting the world around them. The relationship between buying products such as plastic water bottles and widespread environmental degradation is becoming more apparent. Consumers are seeking more meaning from the goods and services they choose to surround themselves with. Is simple convenience still worth supporting merchandise that conflicts with your ethical principles?