Exploring Today's Consumer Landscape

Though current trends play an important role in the marketing space, it's imperative that marketers come to understand the consumers behind these evolving behaviors.

While most marketers observe what consumers do, they often neglect to look at who they are. Many look to trends in the space to dictate their future marketing strategies, yet they fail to focus on the individuals driving these changes forward. But, as targeting and personalization become an integral part of customer experience strategy, marketers must look to underlying demographics for insight into customers at the core of their business.

Experian Marketing Services' "2013 Digital Marketer Report" examines today's consumer landscape in tandem with various trends in the space, providing marketers with a holistic view of where things are and what lies ahead. The report notes that smart marketers are those that recognize the need to vary their approach in order to reach the right people at the right time with the right message, taking lifestyle and attitudinal characteristics into consideration as they work to develop successful segmentation techniques.

The following statistics explore today's vast array of consumers and the behaviors behind their spending habits:

  • Nearly 80 million consumers are members of the Millennial generation (age 18-34). Of those, 52 percent rank far above or above average in early technology adoption.
  • Early adopters present new engagement opportunities, as these Millennials spend 14 percent more time using their mobile devices than their peers.
  • Overall, Millennials rely on their mobile devices as their primary source of information (44 percent) and communication (63 percent).
  • Baby boomers also account for nearly 80 million of consumers, representing about 25 percent of the U.S. population and more than 75 percent of the country's net worth.
  • Traditional nuclear families-mother, father, and children-account for 20 percent of U.S. households. Of these families, 30 percent say their children have a significant impact on the brands they choose, while 56 percent shop around to take advantage of specials and bargains.
  • Nearly 25 percent of Americans ages 6 to 34 are of Hispanic heritage, making this growing demographic the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the U.S.
  • Hispanic households control 10 percent of all discretionary spending nationwide, with annual expenditures reaching more than $164 billion on nonessentials in 2012, up from nearly $144 billion in 2011.

Key takeaway: When marketers look to trends in consumer purchase habits, they often look at the behaviors, not the people. Yet, with so much discussion around segmentation and personalization, marketers must peel back the curtain to uncover the consumers behind these actions. Our society no longer follows the "norm" of yesteryear. With evolving technologies, differing familial structures, and ethnic minority growth, understanding people has become an integral part of the sales process. If marketers hope to successfully target their messaging, they must comprehend who these customers are at their core, for not every consumer will respond to the same marketing tactics. Only then will they be able to adjust their marketing strategy to effectively and efficiently serve their customer base.