Marketing Insights

The age of the consumer: Part 1

4 minute read
The age of the consumer: Part 1 Hero

Consumers are more empowered than ever because they can access information about anything, anytime, and anywhere. In this two-part series, we explore how consumers are evolving and how your brand can stay ahead of the curve.

In the past, brands held the power because they were the only ones who knew what the profit margin would be for a particular product or service. Today, informed customers are able to research a product or service online and negotiate prices and service levels with just a few clicks. As a result, brands have to change the way they interact with potential customers in order to build a customer base and foster loyalty.

Today, consumers are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before  

There’s no question that our dependency on mobile has a huge role to play in this shift. According to Adweek’s recent study, consumers now spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones. That number has steadily increased by 1 hour a year since 2016 when it was only 3 hours.


So what the hell are people doing on these devices for so long? First, let’s look at what this age of information means for marketers:


  1. When consumers have unlimited access to information, they are going to use it. We are seeing this trend becoming an obsession. It’s in our nature to ask questions - Human beings are curious.

  2. This behaviour is not just for big purchases. Consumers research everything, right down to bottled water. So, now, each decision — big or small — is an informed one. 

  1. 140%
    Mobile growth in 'best' searches, i.e 'best hotel in New England'.
  2. 150%
    Increase in searches ending in 'to avoid' over the last two years.


They’re searching for “best”. That’s everything from the best chocolate chip cookies to the best vacation destinations to the best way to learn to splitboarding. During their research, consumers want to make sure they’re making the right decision and that they’re not making the wrong one either. This increase in ‘to avoid’ search data shows this obsessive nature.




information Consumers look for when researching

  1. 35%
    Growth in searches for 'review' over the last two years.
  2. 85%
    Of people trust online reviews as much as online recommendations.


Since many users aren’t going to be able to physically touch a product before they buy it, brands need to come up with creative ways to help people “experience” products online. Think of ways to bring your product to life online so it stands out and feels real.


Know before you go

  1. People want to spark excitement about an upcoming experience

In the early stages of planning, many want a look at what their experience could entail. And that sneak peek sparks excitement. Anticipation builds as people research and discover more about an upcoming experience.


  1. Build confidence before heading to a new destination

People feel a need to prepare for every detail of their experience – from exploring maps to confirming business hours. Consider this: mobile searches for "wait times" have grown 120% over the past two years. Researching these smaller details ahead of time alleviates stress and gives people confidence heading into an experience. "I guess I just don't like looking or feeling lost. It just gives me anxiety," said Ivette B., 26.


Try before you buy

How can you Inspire people to want to visit your location?


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In the second part of this series, we’ll explore the changing role of social media in our consumer’s path to purchase and how recent research around consumer’s expectations of social have yielded more proof that we truly living in the age of the consumer.