Mindful Consumers in a Post-Recession Economy
According to various government sources including the National Bureau of Statistics and Business Day News Service, the Nigerian economy is gradually emerging from the recession. The country is projected to grow by 1.5% in 2018, and while this is good news, it’s important for brand managers to know how consumers are likely to behave in a post-recession scenario.
The post-recession consumer is different. While they may have been forced by circumstances to reconsider their spending habits, many consumers have found that less really is more, and a new consumer attitude will manifest itself, because consumers have revised their priorities.
Post-recession, a new trend, which Kantar Millward Brown describes as “mindful consumption,” will emerge. Many people will stop finding joy in excessive consumption and heedless spending – mindful consumption is demonstrated by consumers buying fewer products and fewer brands, and being more considered in their choices. A latent feeling of uncertainty would fuel how they spend and consume products for many months to come and the surge of purchases assumed may not come immediately. Advertising now needs to speak differently to these consumers if brands are to survive and thrive.
The recession report by Kantar Millward Brown Nigeria confirms the following:
- Many consumers have switched to less expensive brands as a result of the recession, and many found the replacements to be “as good or better than” the costlier brands they replaced
- Shoppers are examining their grocery purchases and looking for ways to save money
- Consumers say they are now “smarter” shoppers and the need to reduce spend made them understand which brands are really important to them
- Consumers are reclassifying what constitutes a luxury and are avoiding impulse purchases
- They are screening their purchases more carefully for real value
- Many consumers say they are more likely to “spend time to save money” than “spend money to save time”
The Challenge for Advertisers
While consumer priorities have changed, the basic challenge for advertisers is the same: to deliver a relevant message in a creative way. But advertisers need to meet that old challenge using new approaches. They must make their communications relevant to the current concerns of the “new” consumers, who are now selecting brands for different reasons.
This changed consumer mindset is not really a new hurdle for brands; we have seen the roles that brands play in people’s lives evolve over time. Brand names were once used to differentiate basic commodity products and provide a promise of consistent formulation and quality, but over time they evolved to confer a whole range of other benefits, including status, emotional well-being, and a sense of belonging. Our current circumstances suggest that many consumers are now ready to ascribe an even higher level of meaning to their brand choices.
Of course people still need brands to address their basic needs and maintain their standards of living. They still want brands that allow them to indulge themselves occasionally. But in general people are relying less on brands for gratification or status and are now factoring other values into their choices such as their own moral principles, their loyalties to their local communities, and their sense of responsibility for the environment.
Today brands need to craft strategies to address these new priorities. They need to position themselves against consumer needs as well as against competitive brands. The approaches will differ according to the product category and the market segment within that category, but a few highly successful global brands are already showing the way, and other marketers should learn from these examples.
Share your thoughts with me at: Michael.Umogun@kantarmillwardbrown.com / + 234 802 311 7969