While roughly 63 percent of consumers say they still exhibit brand loyalty, the number of digital hypertaskers is growing so quickly that the two consumer groups could soon be neck and neck. According to new research from Ernst & Young, 24 percent of consumers consider themselves to be hypertaskers, meaning that they are constantly engaging with brands through a variety of channels and are "shopping all the time," Marcie Merriman, a consultant at Ernst & Young, says.
Digital hypertaskers are "the shoppers of the future and the most sophisticated and challenging of digital shoppers," the report, which includes the results of a survey that reached 30,000 consumers in 34 countries, states. The rapid growth of this emerging group isn't surprising, Merriman says, because consumers have gotten smarter about doing their brand research.
"It's no longer just about doing a price comparison. Sometimes the products are similar and the prices are similar, and it just comes down to service and experience, which can add tremendous value," she says. "Consumers aren't just checking how much an item costs online compared to in the store, but are actively engaging with brands through multiple channels and being selective about which experiences and interactions they prefer."
The report encourages marketers to focus heavily on this growing group of consumers, and cater to their multichannel behaviors with unified omnichannel experiences. With the new wave of hypertaskers, consistency is key, but cocreation—giving consumers an opportunity to customize their experience—plays a part as well, particularly with younger generations.
"Younger consumers, ages fifteen to twenty-nine, lead the way in product and service development. They are three times more likely to engage in cocreation activities, tapping into the insights of the consumers at the right points in the innovation process, than the fifty-plus age group. But some marketers risk ignoring this older, baby-boomer demographic, which is often labeled the richest generation," the report states.
Though most of the report's findings are in line with analysts' predictions, Merriman says that some data on social media use was unexpected. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of consumers that consider social media use to be a waste of time "grew significantly," according to Merriman, though she was hesitant to share a specific percentage. What this means for marketers, she explains, is that their social media strategies might not be engaging enough. "Consumers can tell when brands use social media just to cross of it off their checklist. Marketers should use social media deliberately and make it a well-incorporated part of their omnichannel marketing," she says.
On a global scale, the research revealed that emerging markets are surpassing other economies in e-commerce growth. Internet users in India and China are leading the way in buying online, with a 75 percent and 70 percent digital share respectively. This figure falls to 63 and 50 in the U.K. and the U.S., respectively, with purchasing in-store generally more prevalent in mature markets, according to the report.