Social Butterfly or Everything Tech? The Rise of the Always On consumer

Over the last decade, the advent of social media, the proliferation of the latest smartphones and tablets, and access to limitless data regardless of location has seen consumers become more connected than ever before. Smartphone penetration in the UK has now exceeded 51% of the population, and data from Experian Hitwise showed that 25% of all product searches driving traffic to retail websites over Christmas 2012 were for tablet devices.

As marketers, we often speak of generational characteristics – but what do we know about some of the individual traits of these digitally-savvy consumers? Our recent Always On consumer research has pinpointed four distinct types of consumer who are more digitally connected than ever before – Social Butterflies, Working Professionals, Gamers and Everything Tech.

Defining the Always On consumer

On the whole, consumers are much more connected these days than they ever have been – so what makes an Always On consumer? We define this as a consumer who constantly connects with friends, family and brands and consumes content from video to news to games to music from different internet enabled devices (mobile, tablet, MP3, laptop, games console) at different times and in different places, often on the go. Our four types of Always On consumers are the most connected, but each in a distinct way.

The Social Butterfly - Always On consumerThe Social Butterfly is a young female about town aged 18-34, who spends most of her spare time socialising with friends or enjoying leisure activities. She uses technology for social networking, sharing and social shopping.

  • High levels of connectivity – 70 percent more likely to use a digital tablet and 48 percent more likely to use an e-reader than the average
  • They are three times more likely to use social networks across devices, and are 3.5 times more likely to purchase an item that appears on social networks, particularly if it is recommended by peers

The Working Professional - Always On consumerThe Working Professional is a career focused individual (usually male aged 35-44), accessing content on-the-go primarily for work purposes. They use technology to stay connected and informed, keep in touch and get the job done.

  • Working Professionals are highly connected across devices, but they are 84 per cent more likely than average to use a work computer– the highest figure across any of the Always On consumer types.
  • Mobile phones are also central to the Working Professional’s life: They are three times more likely to see the importance of having Internet access when on the go. They are voracious consumers of news on their mobiles, being four times more likely to read the news and three times more likely to send emails from their mobile than average.
  • However, they are not as open to social media or advertising on their mobiles, being 80 per cent less likely to want to receive adverts on their phone, almost 40 per cent less likely to follow favourite brands on social sharing/networking sites and almost 50 per cent less likely to purchase products they see advertised on such sites.

The Gamer - Always On consumerThe Gamer is a young single male aged 18 to 24 with a love of gaming via almost any game-enabled device, the most popular being gaming consoles and mobile phones.

  • This type is more likely than average to play games on 7 out of 8 game-enabled devices including mobile phones, digital tablets, MP3 players and even work computers. They are 89 per cent more likely than average to say that they play games on their work computer at least once a week.
  • Although they are 90 per cent more likely to purchase a product advertised on their mobile than average, generally Gamers are less interested in receiving advertising content to their mobile devices. Only 9.7 per cent of Gamers would opt into receiving ads on their mobile phones, a percentage that rises to 21 per cent if an incentive is attached.

The Everything Tech - Always On consumerThe Everything Tech is aged 18 to 34 and likes to be the first to try new things, from the newest bar to the hottest gadget. Tablets are the device of choice, most often used for steaming and downloading video.

  • Of all types, mobile devices have the strongest influence on Everything Tech’s purchasing decisions – this group are almost ten times more likely to be interested in receiving ads on their devices 60 per cent of Everything Tech consumers purchase a product they see advertised on their device
  • Peer recommendation is extremely important to them. Everything Tech consumers are nearly six times more likely to trust the product information they get from social networks over other sources. Advertisements and recommendations within social networks are very influential with this group – they are six times more likely to purchase products they see advertised through these channels, and are over three times more likely to purchase products that their friends and peers have recommended.

Marketing to the Always On consumer

The emergence of the Always On consumer, constantly connected across multiple devices means that brands need to deliver co-ordinated and consistent, seamless communications regardless of channel. Importantly, it also highlights that while they may all be super-connected, Always On consumers are distinct and different and so need to be engaged on an individual basis.

Today’s highly-connected, information-rich consumers hold huge sway in the balance of power with brands, and expect to have their demands met on a constant basis with consistency and reliability. Having a presence on multiple marketing channels is no longer enough when consumers demand a seamless user experience regardless of the channel they interact with. As marketers, we have the data and analytics capable of developing a customer experience that spans all channels and responds to the needs of the customer – making true cross-channel marketing a reality.

The rise of this consumer raises the game for marketers and brands and their marketing must evolve to become truly cross-channel. To do this marketers need to really understand and gain deep insight on their audiences, use this insight to create meaningful and relevant communications and then interact with them intelligently and consistently every single time, regardless of channel.


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