We were excited to share some big news with our recent announcement that we have joined forces with Astute Solutions. Not quite as exciting but always a big event for those of us who follow consumers and technology is the annual release of the annual KCPB Internet Trends report! Absolutely one of the best annual snapshots of trends in consumer technology.
In many ways the trends are a continuation of what has been seen in prior years. What does that mean for consumer care teams? Well, if you were waiting to jump into messaging, SMS, ecommerce ratings and reviews or other innovations – either take the leap now or be sure to include it in your 2019 budget plans!
1. Digital + Mobile use – still on the rise
Consumers continue to spend incrementally more time with digital media, with the mix evolving. Computer use is declining while mobile grows in both share and absolute time of use. The need for a corresponding consumer engagement approach should be self-evident by now, but I would recommend spending 5 minutes auditing your brand websites and contact us pages to ensure they are responsive (mobile friendly) and making 2018 the year to add SMS to your contact strategy. Also notable in this year’s report was the growth in ‘Other’ – which seems likely to be driven by gaming consoles, a 50% increase in consumer time spent on gaming (while still comparatively small) does suggest that thinking about what this means for consumer communication – especially as the Fortnite generation comes of age!
As we saw in our consumer preference study – consumer preferences for different communication channels are fragmented. The different platforms noted here clearly indicate that this is a global trend. WeChat is absolutely essential for any consumer brand in China and WhatsApp has seen tremendous adoption in Europe, Latin America, and India. Any consumer care strategy should absolutely take messaging into account.
3. Amazon Echo
A show of hands in our recent Client Conference supported the conclusions that a) the Echo is the leading voice, in home platform and b) lots and lots of people own them. Reading the 2017 KPCB State of the Internet it seemed like the Echo was destined to be a future service channel. Well, the jury is still out on that prediction, but the incredible growth in both the installed base and the number of skills developed for the platform suggests that this is still an area that consumer care leaders need to keep an eye on.
4. Ecommerce Growth
The statement “ecommerce is growing” is probably not much of a surprise. However the increasing share of ecommerce in general and Amazon specifically is striking. Responding to ratings and reviews role in general and on Amazon specifically can be an important role for consumer care (and no – to date Amazon continues to limit replying to reviews to their native site rather than allowing API access).
The downward pressure that ecommerce seems to be putting on the price of consumer products is concerning in an era that also includes new competitors and business models as well as fragmented channels and consumer segments. Consumer relationships and loyalty seem like a better business investment than ever.