Here's what consumer trends to expect in 2017

A year can bring about huge changes in a tech-powered industry like ours, and 2016 was no exception. The question now is: what lies ahead? We’ve rounded up our top three trend-based predictions to help you hit the ground running in the New Year.

The Consumer Journey Will Take Center Stage

If 2016 confirmed one thing, it’s that mobile is still booming. While time spent with media appears to be leveling out overall, consumers are now on their mobile devices for more than 3 hours each day. While consumers are spending more time digitally, it doesn’t mean they have given up on real world experiences, especially when it comes to their purchase behavior.

All of this is closely ties to the future of retail and how, when, and where consumers shop. As they grow increasingly comfortable with omnichannel commerce and making purchases through multiple platforms, the customer journey will continue to evolve. Now that the average consumer owns about 4 connected devices, retailers will respond by building operational and singular profiles of their customers that help them deliver exactly what shoppers are looking for.

Brands Will Focus on the Customer Experience In-Store

Along with exploring the role of location intelligence in the purchase funnel, brands are recognizing the importance of offering a personalized shopping experience in-store—and consumers are right there with them.

Studies have shown that 78 percent of consumers are willing to allow retailers to use their in-store shopping data for the purposes of personalization. Expect brands to leverage this opportunity with location-based mobile alerts in the form of special offers delivered in real-time. With 90 percent of US smartphone owners now using their devices in-store for such activities as reading reviews, comparing prices, and looking up product specs, it will be vital for retailers to provide the same robust information in the offline environment that they currently offer online. Using mobile location technology in-store to enhance the shopping experience can have a dramatic effect on sales, and will become one of the most powerful devices in the marketing toolbox.

VR and AR Will Reach Their Tipping Point

As we all witnessed this year, consumers are hungry for augmented reality; the Pokémon Go craze was proof enough of that. Marketers got a taste of this technology’s earning potential, and with nearly a quarter of consumers planning to use or purchase a virtual reality device in the next year, they’re likely to search for opportunities to use both VR and AR in meaningful ways.

This includes combining VR/AR technologies with in-store and online shopping. In a recent survey, 55 percent of consumers said they think VR will have an influence on their buying decisions. To this end, more marketers will provide immersive experiences that enable both consumers and B2B audiences to interact with their products in new ways. There’s an immense amount of “virtual commerce” potential with location data, too. As consumers modify their shopping behavior to maximize the benefits of these technologies, retailers will merge AR with everything from store maps to the location of their products on the shelf.

The months ahead are bound to be exciting ones full of possibilities, so buckle up and use these predictions to help you navigate the year to come.

Nicole Genchur
Sr. Manager, Marketing Insights