PwC’s ‘2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey’ has revealed that consumers are increasingly using digital technology for more than just shopping, with a revolution occurring in how customers access entertainment and media.
For example, 38% of global consumers stream entertainment at least daily and, among Generation Z consumers, cord-cutting for entertainment is at more than 50%.
In South Africa, cord-cutting is also increasingly popular, with 22.9% of consumers streaming movies daily and 23.9% streaming music daily.
The study assessed the behaviour, habits and expectations of over 21 000 online consumers in 27 territories. PwC’s research revealed rapidly changing consumer behaviour in a host of areas other than entertainment and media.
“Not only are consumers the strongest link in the global economic chain, but PwC’s ‘Global Consumer Insights Survey’ shows that the technological tools available to them have put them in a position to demand a tailored, seamless and multichannel shopping and social-media-powered experience,” PwC Africa Retail and Consumer leader Anton Hugo commented in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“Retailers can achieve this by using a blend of both physical and digital approaches. The result for companies will be a greater return on experience with the customer and gaining a competitive advantage.”
When it comes to news, it is notable that 33% of South African consumers, compared with 25% of consumers globally, go to social media first to hear about current events.
“The survey findings are not surprising, given how pervasive social media is today,” Hugo commented.
Social media-placed ads that allow consumers to interact with a brand is now ranked as the third most effective form of advertising globally and, among Millennials, this is the most popular form of advertising – beating out traditional television ads.
In South Africa, consumers still look to traditional television ads as most influential, with social media ads the second-most popular.
The study finds that consumers – bombarded with a multitude of choices – are constantly seeking tools to help simplify their purchasing decisions. In addition to using digital technology, they are looking to their trusted communities and other experts.
PwC’s survey shows that consumers are increasingly willing to engage in nontraditional activities online. This trend is especially noticeable in healthcare, where almost two-thirds of our global sample stated they are willing to access nontraditional health services online.
Nearly 75% own health-related apps (South Africa 57.7%), with exercise/health monitoring being the most popular (South Africa 71%).
Consumers are pushing other boundaries too. Forty-six per cent of consumers surveyed would like to have an autonomous vehicle today or would consider buying one in the future, and an additional 21% would be interested in learning more about the technology.
They are mostly interested in automotive features that eliminate the human element of driving decisions and actions, such as braking, hazard perception and parking assistance.
The findings also confirm that smartphones have become the go-to technology for online shopping, with more than half (51%) of the global sample of consumers saying they use a smartphone to pay bills and invoices online, and the same percentage transferring money online.
In South Africa, 63.2% of consumers have used digital channels to pay their bills and invoices in the past 12 months, while 67% have transferred money online.
For the first time in the ten years that PwC has conducted this survey, consumers surveyed are using smartphones over other mobile devices to shop online, with 24% of consumers globally (compared with 23.1% in South Africa) using a smartphone to shop online weekly.
In emerging countries, mobile payments in stores are increasing, with Vietnam seeing the biggest increase to 61% in a period of one year, followed by the Middle East (45%).
Globally, there was an overall increase of 24% over the past year. In general, Asian countries are more likely to adopt this behaviour more quickly than western countries.