Raymond Morin
December 1, 2016

Gen C: 12 Connected Consumer Trends for 2017-18

Generation C: The Connected Consumer

Part one of this article, Generation C: The Growing Influence Of Connected Consumers, was more of a retrospective look at the evolution of the Connected Consumer. This article predicts the trends you can expect to see unfold in the next one to two years

The 12 Connected Consumer trends to watch in 2017-2018

Since I began regularly contributing to Curatti, I have shared with you my observations on the growing influence of connected consumers – from baby boomers to the new generations of “Digital Natives”. (Click here to see all of my articles)

In February 2016, after two years and twenty blog posts on Generation C topics, I published a first assessment of the trends I have observed since the beginning: Generation C – The 12 Online Consumer Trends in 2016.

On the eve of 2017, I therefore propose a new assessment of these trends. And I will continue to observe, report and predict in the coming years:

1 – Consumers do not trust companies and organizations

Since the economic crisis of 2008 – 2009, the population has definitely lost trust in brands and organizations. According to the Trust Barometer annual report by Edelman, the satisfaction rate fell below the 50 points mark. Many consumers have long since lost faith in businesses, preferring the recommendations of their relatives or trusted experts. However, the firm indicates a slight increase in confidence in the leaders, reflecting greater social involvement by the CEOs.

2 – Brands and organizations must adopt a less intrusive approach

The popularity of ad blocking filters (more than 200 million users) have forced businesses and organizations to adopt a less intrusive approach, and change their message. We have seen the emergence of new ad formats (native advertisements). Meanwhile, agencies are becoming more creative in their efforts to reach different audiences. Brands and organizations are better integrating connected prospecting (or Social Selling) in their strategies.

3 – Connected consumers are demanding greater corporate transparency

In order for brands and organizations to regain their trust, connected consumers are now demanding that they show greater transparency. And they must show that they are socially involved in their communities. It is this greater social engagement by the CEOs that explains the increase of 8% in the level of confidence given to leaders by consumers in 2016, according to the annual report of the Trust Barometer.

4 – User-generated content becomes the main source of information, and threaten traditional media

In 2015, web content and that generated and spread by social media users have become the main source of information. These sources have begun to replace those of the media. This in turn has prompted the closure of several organizations. It has also led to an more mergers and acquisitions by telecom giant, computer and social networks. An example of this Time Warner, newly acquired by AT & T for more than US$85Bn.

5 – Data users must enable a personalized experience

The analysis of data collected on the web and social media allows companies and organizations to further personalize their message and improve the user experience. They provide insight into the process of acquisition of each generation, and further target different audiences. After investing heavily in platforms that are popular among young people, brands are beginning to consider the importance of boomers, who are taking advantage of retirement, and Generation X, who are at the helm of business.

6 – The popularity of exchange platforms creates a new generation of young influencers

Connected Consumers - mommy bloggersThe emergence of new trading and visual content sharing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, has promoted the creation and distribution of instant and ephemeral content. They have also given birth to a new generation of influencers. These new social networks have become the preferred sharing platforms of under-35s, It is here that young niche bloggers – especially mommy-bloggers, video enthusiasts and “fashionistas” can be found.

7 – Fake representations and false recommendations are better controlled

In recent years, the validity of the recommendations and annotations on the web and social media are better controlled. False representations, also known as Astroturfing, are more strictly regulated by existing organizations. The scandal of false recommendations of video games by Pew Die Pie, in collusion with Warner Bros, noted by the FTC in 2016, has considerably cooled the confidence of fans of the famous YouTuber.

8 – The economic situation favors a strong increase in independent entrepreneurship

In 2015 – 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 17.9 million Americans declared themselves self-employed or independent contractors. By 2020 this figure is confidently predicted to exceed 25 million. The market value of this sector currently exceeds $1.1 trillion and will continue to increase. This is due to the uncertain economic situation and continued business downsizing. It is amongst Gen Y, where the new spirit of entrepreneurship has been most clearly observed. Within that generation, the fields of web development and consultation have shown an increase of 67% in 4 years.

9 – Work environments must accelerate their transformation

With the arrival of new generations on the labor market, work environments had to accelerate their transformation. Due to uncertain industry trends – exacerbated by the speed of change – companies and organizations had already been forced to modify their processes. Even so, the arrival of younger generations into the workplace has forced the faster adoption of new technologies, flexible working hours and teleworking. These changes have also been made easier due to the ascendance of Gen X to decision-making positions. They have proven more accommodating to the workplace requirements of Millennials.

10 – Generation X become the first generation of “Hi-Tech” parents and grand – parents

In addition to taking the reins at work, where up to four generations now co-exist, the new bosses of Generation X became the first parents – and in some cases grandparents – to “Hi-Tech” kids. The oldest Gen Y’ers, now in their 30s, have finally left home, and built new families. Currently, it is estimated that there are already nearly 21 million children under four years in the United States. That this figure will almost double within 5 years.

11 – Alternative economy giants are more strictly legislated

The value of the giants of the new alternative economy market continues to grow. As of 2015, they were already valued at an estimate in excess of $160Bn. They have more and more followers among the new generations, who see them as a way to eliminate intermediaries in the process. Netflix, AirBnB, Uber and Tesla (NATU) seriously threaten established businesses and brands in several areas, forcing authorities to legislate more controls in an attempt to protect local industries.

12 – The “Fintech” threaten the banking system economic

Similarly, the new consumption habits of connected generations gave birth to new virtual currency exchange, especially with Bitcoins, and favored the emergence of many new financial start-ups. This open new economic system, eliminates intermediaries and directly threatens the current banking system.

Your turn

What do you think of these current trends? Have you observed any other online consumer trends in recent years? What do you foresee as trends to watch in the coming years? Please share your thoughts and comments on this article with our readers.


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Raymond Morin

SMO Senior Consultant, Author/Blogger and Speaker at Virage 2.0
Strategic analyst / consultant for over 20 years, specializing in optimizing Web marketing / social media for businesses and organizations, Raymond Morin is also the author of three reference guides (in French), and co-author of three other books about digital marketing, public relations and human resources management. A recognized professional blogger, in both languages, he regularly presents and facilitates conferences for organizations, as well as in-house training workshops. In English, he contributes monthly to various platforms of professional bloggers and social media influencers. His next book, Generation C - Confluence Marketing at the Era of Connected Consumers, will be published next fall on Friesen Press Publishing.