Ernst & Young and Havas Worldwide are just two of numerous firms attempting to classify the still-emerging digital consumer.
E&Y's new report, Consumers on board: how to copilot the multichannel journey, was based on interviews with 29,943 consumers globally. It breaks out digital consumers into three sub-groups:
- Digital Informers (63 percent): Use online primarily as a source of information and purchase predominantly in-store. Have the highest brand focus and brand loyalty, but are less open to co-creation and involvement than others, and spend the least amount of time online.
- Digital Buyers (13 percent): Buy predominantly online with in-store used primarily for research. Most open to co-creation and involvement, strongly influenced by price and availability and are less interested in a company's social and ethical policies and behavior.
- Digital Hypertaskers (24 percent): Use a mix of both online and in-store for both information and purchase.
The report asserted that digital hypertaskers are the "shoppers of the future" although they present challenges to reach.
"They are happy to change behavior dependent of category or circumstances, truly at ease taking an omni-channel course," wrote E&Y. "Members of this group are the least sensitive to price, have the lowest level of brand loyalty, and are the most critical of social media. Both enquiring and demanding, they show the biggest interest in technical features and in companies' social and ethical."
In a similar approach, a Havas report last year, Digital And The New Consumer: Emerging Paths To Purchase, based on a survey of 10,219 adults globally, defined four sub-groups of digital shoppers:
- Digitally Dissociated (12 percent): Stick to traditional face-to-face purchasing. They don't use digital technologies for shopping because they can't or choose not to.
- Digitally Divided (43 percent): Regard digital as a separate place that they access from a computer at home or work. Happy to shop around and purchase online and may well read reviews and print out coupons for use in stores. However, they wouldn't use a mobile device while shopping except maybe to make a phone call.
- Digitally Experimental (28 percent): Know that they can go online wherever and whenever they feel like it. Open to trying out what's available and exploring what's possible. For them, digital is intriguing and still a bit of an adventure.
- Digitally Integrated (17 percent): Blend online and offline throughout their lives without making a conscious distinction between them; digital is simply part of where and how they live.
"In the coming years, as older shoppers drop out of the market, consumer profiles across the world will shift away from Digitally Dissociated and move inexorably toward Digitally Integrated," Havas wrote. "The big driver in this evolution is the global growth of mobile devices."