The internet and in particular social media can pack a pretty powerful punch - four billion views per day on YouTube, the average Twitter user boasts 126 followers most of whom they’ve never met and over 10 million Australians claim to use Facebook each month. Welcome to the world of the new consumer where time and place are a thing of the past. When was the last time you queued in a post office to pay a bill – most of us do it online at anytime, time is no longer important. Booking tickets for a movie or concert, a hotel room or a case of wine delivered to your door are now all done via your mobile device whether it be a smart phone, iPad or tablet – in today’s digital world a physical place is no longer relevant. Now that all sounds great for the time poor consumer but it’s a real challenge for traditional, bricks and mortar retailers who operate from a single location, six days a week from 9am until 5pm.
The new consumer is here – they’re called ‘Gen Y’ and there are currently 4.65 million of them comprising 21% of our workforce. However, by 2020 that will almost double to 35% whilst the traditional retail loving, Baby Boomers will decline from 36% of our workforce to just 15%. Our new consumer is a digital junky with 93% of teens 12-17 and young adults aged 18-29 going online regularly and they’re the ones spending the money. According to American Express, 18-29 year olds continue to purchase high-end goods ramping up their spending on premium brands by 33 percent last year. To satisfy this new group of big spenders, retailers must stay on top of e-commerce, mobile apps and social media, in addition to keeping the brick and mortar experience as customer-service driven as always.