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Digital Consumers Set to Rise as More Countries Become Connected

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Consumers are more connected than ever before. This rapid increase in digital connections has ushered in speed and convenience across all aspects of life. Whether or not a company needs a digital strategy is no longer up for debate. The question is how and where to deploy limited resources for these digital initiatives. Leveraging more than 2,500 data points, Euromonitor International created the Digital Consumer Index to assist clients with this market prioritisation for all digital initiatives, including digital commerce.

The Transformative Internet

Connected Consumers are increasingly using online access for entertainment, health, and commerce purposes. More than 80% of global Connected Consumers use mobile connectivity to browse the internet on a weekly basis - the most popular activity according to the 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey.  By contrast, only 28% use phones to track health and fitness and 24% use them to make purchases. In digitally-savvy South Korea and the UK, around 12% of consumer payments were made using a digital device in 2016, with that ratio approaching 20% by 2021.

Technology continues to play a critical role in the evolution of society, including the upheaval of consumer-facing industries. Artificial intelligence opened the door to brands creating more personalised experiences. Virtual and augmented realities provided a new lens from which to view the world. 3D printing made it possible to individually manufacture products. As of 2017, almost half of the global population uses the internet. Euromonitor International projects that three quarters will be using the internet by 2030. Smartphones, and their on-the-go access, introduced borderless internet which has enabled consumers to plug in no matter who they are or where they were.

Connectivity Proves Key

The constant innovation driven by technology has generated and inspired a number of megatrends, or macroeconomic or geostrategic shifts, that are reshaping the world. Out of the eight megatrends identified by Euromonitor International, internet connectivity is most fundamental to the Connected Consumers megatrend. Connected Consumers use a variety of devices and interfaces to connect to the internet, in order to interact with digital content, services and experiences.

This connectivity has disrupted - and arguably improved upon - many structures for engaging in such activities. It has led to new value creations, giving consumers greater convenience, simplicity, and knowledge. In addition, it has altered the competitive landscape, disrupted long-standing industries, and ushered in new business models. Connectivity has redistributed power, giving consumers a megaphone in the business transaction, and boosted companies born in the modern era as data has emerged as the most important commodity.

Five markets to watch based on the Digital Consumer Index

  • Australia

High levels of technological investment and consumer adoption of such tools for digital commerce, propelled Australia to the top spot in the Digital Consumer Index based on current scores.

  • China

While “mobile first” is a favourite commerce buzzword, this is the only true mobile-centric nation. As of 2016, 66% of digital purchases were made on mobile devices.

  • South Korea

South Korea’s strong digital backbone coupled with its inclination to spend online will propel it to the top of the Digital Consumer Index based on forecast scores.

  • US

The willingness of US consumers to make digital purchases continues to grow. The mobile phone is particularly notable, with US consumers expected to purchase more through mobile phones than personal computers by 2020.

  • UK

In this digital-first market, 12% of all consumer payments were transacted through a digital device in 2016, one of the highest percentages globally. The range of products available online is vast and continues to widen.

Top Countries on the Digital Consumer Index

Source: Euromonitor International

Which markets offer the best prospects for future digital initiatives? How do companies reach this new connected consumer? Which categories should companies invest their digital dollars? Euromonitor’s 2017 Digital Consumer Index offers key insights to these strategic questions within the connectivity and digital commerce space and its innovative future.

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