By Arun Fernandes
The pandemic has dramatically changed the consumption patterns of modern consumers. Their tastes, preferences and consumption habits have changed drastically, forcing companies to rethink their marketing strategies to keep pace with changing consumer demands. A recent report suggests India’s digital advertising market is set to grow 10x in 10 years. With increased adoption of digital services in the wake of COVID, it’s no surprise that digital platforms are growing in popularity. However, this is not the only result of the pandemic. There are notable differences in consumer perception of brands.
The Indian advertising industry survived the blows of the pandemic to register a growth of 14%. Going forward, we can expect the industry to adapt to a few new trends that emerge as a result of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at 6 ways consumption patterns influence the advertising industry.
E-commerce is gaining importance
The same consumers who were once skeptical of shopping online have now turned to e-commerce to shop for everything from basic necessities to luxuries. This change in consumer mentality has forced brands to adopt an omnichannel approach in order to make their offers more accessible. Clearly, there is a favorable effect on the growth of digital ad spend as businesses turn to digital platforms to capitalize on growing consumer preference for brands with an omnichannel presence. As people try to avoid physical contact during this COVID era, brands should align their resources for ad spend on e-commerce sites and apps.
The social values of brands are being questioned
Consumers no longer make brand choices based solely on price advantages. The social responsibility of a brand is now taken into account before a consumer makes a purchasing decision. While social values have been front and center in recent years, this shift in consumer behavior is set to accelerate now with the current pandemic crisis. The response of brands in a crisis situation plays a major role in shaping consumer perceptions. They are no longer considered as mere sellers of products. Consumers expect brands to be socially responsible, which means brands are now moving towards responsible advertising that reflects their core values.
Content becomes more important than ever
As people were locked inside their homes, time originally spent commuting and commuting was reallocated to consuming digital content. Social media has become a major advertising vehicle and brands have felt the need to be creative and flexible with their content more than ever. As consumers began to engage with content creators to beat pandemic-induced stress and boredom, brands capitalized on influencer marketing. Collaborations with content creators have emerged as a feasible option for brands to capture the attention of the right audience. Consumers today are more likely to buy from brands that deliver creative, fun, and engaging content through ads than those that go the conventional route.
Consumers want localized experiences
The pandemic has brought people from diverse backgrounds together in their collective fight against the virus. Community groups for different neighborhoods have been created on social media to support each other during COVID-19 and consumers have naturally developed a sense of unity. Realizing this, brands began localizing experiences and personalizing marketing messages for community networks, as it was found to be the most ideal way to stay connected with consumers. Consumers are more likely to support brands that are more connected with audiences at a granular level. Advertising trends have changed in response to changing consumer sensitivities, with localized experiences becoming more important than ever.
The inclination towards sustainability is increasing
Consumers are now more aware of the impact of their consumption habits on society and refrain from buying recklessly. They want to partner with brands that are responsible for their actions. Environmentally friendly products are attracting more and more attention and advertising practices are also moving towards environmental friendliness. With a growing preference for sustainable products, we can see that brands are striving to center their messages around sustainability.
Online security is the top priority
People are more security conscious and want to know they can trust the brand with their information. Consumers are increasingly concerned about brands collecting data to personalize their marketing, which sometimes results in an invasion of privacy. Amid growing security concerns, brands are adapting to cookieless advertising. Consumer awareness of security and privacy is higher than before and brands must be prepared to adapt their strategies with security in mind.
The COVID-19 outbreak has seen brands become more nimble and flexible to deal with rapidly changing consumer habits. As brands vie for digital supremacy and consumption patterns undergo significant shifts, India’s internet advertising market is said to be the fastest growing in the world with a CAGR of 18.8%. The new and emerging consumption patterns discussed above provide insight into the advertising trends that will drive industry growth in the years to come. And brands need to identify and react to opportunities quickly to stay relevant and competitive.
The author is founder-CEO of Hotstuff Medialabs
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