Top Five Digital Consumer Trends in 2018

February 2018

Personal computers first acquainted consumers with the concept of shopping online. In the last decade, the popularisation of smartphones introduced consumers to any time, anywhere commerce. Technological developments will continue to reinvent commerce in the years to come. This report explores the five most influential technology-driven trends that will reshape commerce in 2018.

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Technology is reinventing commerce

Technology continues to play a critical role in the evolution of society, including the upheaval of consumer-facing industries. This digital connectivity has altered all aspects of life, including how consumers live, work, shop and play.

Trend No. 1: Digital life converges in super apps

A super app is a do-everything mobile app, with the best ones combining all aspects of a consumer’s world into a single platform. China’s WeChat, with its one billion users, has become this revolution’s poster child, and along the way gave the world a preview as to where the internet is going.

Trend No. 2: Data as the new currency

Data is now considered one of the most important commodities. An explosion of consumer data has enabled companies and brands to more easily forge one-to-one relationships with end-consumers by offering tailored experiences. Cultivating the “story of one” will be the cost of entry for brands in the future.

Trend No. 3: Keeping the tab open

Subscription models are not new. However, the concept of asking consumers to keep the tab open received a digital injection of sorts and spread to other industries in the last decade. In the forthcoming Internet of Things era, the idea of keeping the tab open will take on a new meaning.

Trend No. 4: Mobile wallets going global

Some of the leading mobile wallets are taking a page out of the card networks’ playbook for global expansion by following the path taken by consumers in motion. Ensuring consumers could utilise certain payment methods while traversing communities and eventually borders was a key driver in building ubiquity.

Trend No. 5: Outlets get their tech injection

Commerce is in the midst of a head-to-toe makeover, including physical outlets. Despite all the headlines about consumers shifting toward online channels, it is important to remember that physical outlets remain a critical part of the consumer journey, whether it is in terms of brand engagement or purchasing execution.


Scope of the Digital Consumer
Key findings

Technology is Reinventing Commerce

Half of connected consumers would be lost without internet access
Technology continues to play a critical role in the evolution of society
Technology has inspired eight of the megatrends shaping the world
Four ways technology is reshaping commerce in the connected era
Mobile internet fuels the democratisation of digital connectivity
Smartphones are enabling many next-gen commerce experiences
The five most impactful trends reshaping digital commerce in 2018

Trend No. 1: Digital Life Converges in Super Apps

Mobile apps first sprouted up around individual activities
Super apps often touch on five main aspects of a consumer’s world
Chinese super apps show the world where the internet is going
Case study: WeChat is the poster child for the super app revolution
Opportunities for stakeholders across the commerce ecosystem
Western tech titans are making strides towards the super app
A tale of two markets: Challenges of exporting super apps to the US
Implications of super apps for commerce players

Trend No. 2: Data As the New Currency

Data has emerged as the world’s most valuable commodity
Consumers expect brands to craft individually tailored stories
Tech plays a key role in enabling brands to craft the “story of one”
The role of artificial intelligence in crafting the “story of one”
L’Oréal : Analysing hair type in order to customise product suggestions
Dynamic Yield: Personalised marketing powered by artificial intelligence
Concerns regarding data privacy continue to plague digital uptake
The European Union’s sweeping privacy laws have global implications

Trend No. 3: Keeping the Tab Open

Technology has reinvented old-school subscription model
New technologies boost old-time subscription models
How the subscription business model benefits both sides
Many popular subscription services were born in the last decade
The subscription model is reinventing some areas of consumption
Internet of Things is expected to further boost subscription models
Home care will likely be impacted by shift to passive consumption
Machine-aided commerce will redefine what brand loyalty means

Trend No. 4: Mobile Wallets Going Global

Consumers in motion propel the expansion of payment networks
China is the biggest market for outbound tourism spend from 2012
Chinese travellers play a key role in mobile wallet globalisation
Apple’s entry into mobile payments gives way to the “era of pay”
Apple Pay’s global expansion follows US travellers to wealthy markets
Samsung Pay follows the South Korean traveller more closely
Global mobile wallet supremacy is another East v West showdown

Trend No. 5: Outlets Will Get Their Tech Injection

Physical outlets are in the midst of a head-to-toe makeover
Digital shifts are changing competitive realities
What motivates consumers to shop in the channel they do?
Consumers are more likely to buy beauty and apparel in person
Consumers demonstrate an increased need to experience more
Key technologies enable more meaningful experiences
Renaissance: Using technology to bring the hotel experience to life
Tottenham Hotspur: Turning the arena into a leisure destination
Tao Cafe: Making unmanned storefronts a reality in China
Red Arrow Tap Room: Putting the consumer in charge

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways from the top five digital consumer trends


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