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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Smith

Consumers - Whatever Next?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

There is no normal to go back to. Segmentation models and assumptions will change. Developing a consumer-centric proposition remains the most reliable compass for navigating a pathway to future success. 90% of executives agree that the crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. The main driver of this is the consumer, with 85% foreseeing major changes to their customers’ needs and wants. What could consumer-centrism look like in the future?

In our paper, we briefly examine 12 consumer facing industries, from insurance to retail and consumer tech to travel and tourism. Short-term behaviours, often adopted as work-arounds, can often form long-term trends for both consumers and organisations. Combined, these will require organisations to develop the ability to rewire ways of working, reimagine organisational structure, and adapt talent to cope with a data-driven, consumer focussed model.

Current efforts to provide traditional products and services through an online medium are being met with mixed success for banking and education. The need to shift what it is that a given industry does, and how it achieves it, will accelerate as consumers’ attitudes and thinking evolves in response to a complex array of social, economic and health-related drivers. It is estimated that 17.2 million consumers in the UK, nearly a quarter of the entire population, will permanently change the way they shop. This could in turn prompt the use of a wider array of digital tools, from virtual personal assistants and mixed reality to the IoT, which will have a greater reach than the retail and grocery segments. 69% point to a propensity to try voice search and virtual reality, 63% geo-location services and 60% social shopping. The impact, from industries as diverse as aviation and media could be significant.

Several questions stand out as key topics to be grappled with. What does consumer-centricity look like in our industry and in best-practice? How do we gain consumer trust, and access to their potentially harder-to-access data? Do we have the tech capability to engage with our customer’s emerging use? Where will our customers ‘be’ in the future? Change is nothing new, but the systemic shock of the pandemic necessitates a fundamental reassessment of who the customer is, where the customer is (going) and how organisations deliver value to that customer. The pandemic has been nothing but misery for many; it’s legacy needn’t be damaging for those with the foresight to embed the consumer at the heart of the necessary organisational, technological and cultural shifts that it compels.

To read our full paper, for free, go to

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