While Australians feel more connected to the rest of the world thanks to the digital age, we now also feel less remote from the world’s troubles, according to research undertaken by marketing communications leader JWT.
The insight is one of many released this week by JWT Australia following Australia Day, as part of a broader report that identifies trends and other facts currently affecting or likely to affect consumers in 2015 and beyond.
They cover a range of issues from the effect of technology, our connection to the rest of the world, the challenge of Millenials and how our ageing populations sees itself.
“What we have found is that while there are a range of trends across the globe that are consistent in most developing nations, there are several strong insights unique to Australia,” said JWT Sydney’s Head of Insights, Andrew McCowan.
“For instance our remoteness to other developed countries may pose a challenge to business, but has also provided a unique comfort in the past to residents who have felt removed from many of the world’s troubles. This sense of remoteness however is decreasing as a result of the digital age.”
The release of Australian-centric insights follows the recent release of the global “10 Years of 10 Trends” report developed by JWT worldwide, which explores 10 of the most compelling macro trends identified in the past 10 years, how these trends have evolved to now, and casts an eye forward to where they are headed next.
Based on the global report, and to coincide with Australia Day, JWT Australia has now also identified several Australian-based trends and insights that include:
- Australia is a leading adopter of mobile technology with a very high quality 3G and 4G network enabling high-end functionality – more than eight million of us now have a smart phone, with the numbers continuing to increase rapidly. According to JWT’s trends research, mobile technology isn’t changing people’s behaviour in Australia at the same level as in many developing markets, but that’s because the behaviours have already altered here. For instance, the use of mobile functions in shopping is already an established behaviour among younger adults in Australia, from banking transactions to buying cinema tickets to information-sourcing on mobile Google.
- Global shifts enabled by digital and mobile technology are providing new opportunities and risks that have come from the new level of connectedness between Australians and the rest of the world. For instance, younger Australians are feeling a greater affinity with their peers in other countries.
- But while we feel more connected and empowered it has come at a cost; we now feel less remote from many of the world’s troubles. Australians have traditionally found our remoteness from overseas issues comforting.
- For business, Australia’s geographic location combined with a relatively small and diffuse population raises challenges in the cost and practical process of deploying new digital marketing technologies. This is most noticeable when compared to other markets where the investment can be made against bigger consumer markets in small areas.
- Leading almost all Australian trends is the giant cohort the Millennials (otherwise known as Gen Y), who are transforming the way brands must do business, as they are striking a new balance between the traditional youthful excesses of Australian hedonism and a new healthier more balanced sensibility.
- This value system means that for Millenials the idea of ownership (cars, houses and other traditional markers of success) is in flux. In turn, Australian cities are being reshaped by the explosion in inner city apartment living aimed particularly at these Millenials who choose to rent for longer.
- The sharing economy is also quickly developing in Australia with GoGet share cars, the rise of air BnB, Stayz and Uber challenging traditional service models and connecting into the Millennial sensibility
- Australia’s rapidly growing population of 50-plus consumers is also likely to defy previous notions of age. Wealthy and influential, there will be countless opportunities for Australian business to create new products and services to cater to them.
- The challenge for Australian marketers will be to develop products and services that enable them to be active and fully engaged in their life interests despite the physical changes and challenges that make that engagement and involvement harder to maintain.
- They have been known as the “me, me, me” generation, but are now very much more about “we, we we” – they are showing a strong interest in new connections in their community where they can share their life experience. For instance according to JWT Australia research, 58% are planning to volunteer at a charity or non-profit organization in the near future.
“These trends and insights show that while Australia has been an early adopter of technology, our geography and ageing population still mean that consumers must be treated quite differently to others developed nations,” McCowan said.
“In addition we need to be wary of the fact that our new-found digital-based connectedness has also left some Australians feeling unsettled about being closer to some of the world’s troubles. Teamed with the fact that Millenials are showing unique value systems, and Baby Boomers have incredible wealth and influence in this country, leaders, marketers and businesses alike have a range of challenges ahead of them in 2015 and beyond.”
JWT is part of STW, Australasia’s leading marketing content and communications group.