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Valassis Research: Gen Z – Chasing and Redefining Value in Multiple Ways

New Data Illuminates Fresh Opportunities as Behaviors Shift

Valassis, a Vericast business and the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement, released its annual Consumer Intel Report, “Chasing Value: The Mind of the Modern Shopper.” The annual report examines responses from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers in two separate surveys, noting how their shopping patterns and purchasing decisions have changed within specific categories including food, household goods and health & beauty care products amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings point to actionable insights at a time when brands are adjusting their approaches in building meaningful connections with consumers to drive increased engagement.

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The impact of the pandemic has led to a noticeable shift in consumer behaviors, including an expanded awareness when it comes to savings and value. According to the survey, 70% of consumers have increased saving behaviors and 76% expect these new behaviors to continue over the next year, reinforcing the concept that the consumer adaptation to be more savings oriented will be more permanent vs. temporal. Brands and marketers need to shift and adjust their long-term engagement strategies to reflect these new market conditions.

In addition to monetary value, consumers – especially younger generations – place increasing emphasis on identifying and connecting with a brand’s corporate values. For example, 43% of all consumers say they are more likely to buy products from companies whose values match their own. Important among younger generations, this is true for 55% of millennials and 47% of Gen Z consumers. As younger generations – especially Gen Z – garner increasingly more buying power, brands and marketers must prioritize impactful engagements to build lasting relationships.

“The modern shopper is resilient, quick to adopt online shopping options and actively seeks value,” said Michelle Engle, chief marketing officer at Valassis. “For brands to spark consumer discovery, they must connect consumers with marketing at precise moments to accelerate a purchase. Our findings help illuminate a path forward as brands re-establish their relationship with the consumer. With the right tools to fully understand consumer behavior – including the strong desire for savings and a flexible, seamless shopping experience – brands can deliver on consumer needs and buying intentions as well as tap into what motivates them.”

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According to the survey, marketing messages that include coupons, discounts and social media promotions have the potential to shorten the path to purchase:

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  • 61% indicated coupons or discounts can inspire them to try a new brand and 54% said it would lead them to make an impulse purchase.
  • 60% indicated receiving a coupon or discount speeds up their decision to make a purchase.

Key takeaways from the report show:

  • Consumers lean into savings – while planning and post-purchase
    • 76% of all consumers compare prices between brands using printed store circulars and 71% do so using online circulars.
    • 51% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z consumers scan receipts with their mobile device to receive cash back or points post-purchase (compared to 31% of all consumers).
  • Brand values matter to consumers
    • 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand or store they trust.
    • 48% of all consumers say they are inclined to be loyal to a brand or store that shares its efforts to be environmentally responsible or has sustainable/ethical business practices.
  • An eagerness for shared experiences
    • 45% of millennials and 33% of Gen Z share brand reviews including details of how much they saved (compared to 23% of all consumers).
    • 35% of all consumers note they’ve made an unplanned purchase based on something they saw on social media (a 5 percentage point increase from 2019).
  • A willingness to treat themselves
    • Overall, 35% of consumers consider themselves to be predominantly impulse shoppers (up from 28% in 2019). When consumers make impulse buys in-store, 43% say that it’s out of a desire to “treat themselves.”
    • Despite the ongoing pandemic, 45% of consumers are expanding their budget and ability to buy fun things or experiences by using coupons and discounts.

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