Build it and they will come. Over a billion according to new research from Accenture Song highlighting the “new generation” of digital native consumers that are emerging in eight fast-growing countries in the next decade, creating new areas of growth for companies.
Living in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines, the report says these digital consumers are between the ages of 6 and 26 and represent 36% of those countries’ populations and their behaviors today offer key insights for companies looking to capture the next wave of commerce-driven growth.
According to Accenture Song’s report, “The Next Billion Consumers: A Fast-growing Opportunity for Digital Commerce,” this next generation of consumers presents a significant opportunity for global companies, particularly because digital commerce eases some of the traditional barriers to entry in these markets.
The study analyzed 92 countries across the Asia Pacific region, Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa to find rapidly growing countries with strong digital potential.
The research additionally shows that despite digital commerce revenues having quadrupled in these markets since 2017—equating to $211 billion in 2022—most multinationals are not set up to serve these digital-first consumers.
“These new consumers are relevant to companies that operate in these countries today as well as the multinationals looking to grow their footprint and balance their global portfolios,” said Fabio Vacirca, Global Commerce Lead, Accenture Song.
“However, strategies based on the western model of consumerism—the steady evolution from brick-and-mortar to digital commerce models that occurs over decades—won’t work for these consumers. Companies will need to be digital-first, leapfrogging older legacy approach.”
The next generation of digital consumers
According to Accenture Song, the digital shopping behaviors of these emerging consumers have the potential to transcend boundaries and influence purchasing habits more broadly. They identify four core digital shopper archetypes from 3,000 digital consumers surveyed across the eight countries. They are dubbed digital native purchasers, digitally savvy millennials, digital native content creators, and digital alpha influencers.
“Strategies based on the western model of consumerism—the steady evolution from brick-and-mortar to digital commerce models that occurs over decades—won’t work for these consumers.”
Spanning three generations—Gen Alpha, Gen Z and Millennials—the four core segments of digital shoppers are already spending significant time online when discovering, considering and making a purchase, says the report.
Accenture Song summarized some of the key takeaways from the research:
- The majority (80%) of surveyed consumers use online channels such as search engines, social networks and videos to research products or services before purchasing.
- “Likes” and “good comments” on social media also influence 76% of these consumers’ online buying decisions. More than half of emerging consumers prefer shopping on social media apps to other purchasing platforms.
- At least six in 10 (63%) social commerce shoppers say they are more likely to buy from the same seller again.
- 65% of consumers prefer to use online payment methods. They also say that convenient delivery options, such as “click and collect” (73%) and free delivery (79%), are critical drivers of their online purchase
- Three-quarters see easy-return policies as a key influence on their online purchasing decisions.
“Commerce is having a big moment right now in the boardroom, with CEOs asking where the next wave of growth in commerce will come from,” added Vacirca.
“This moment is similar to the tectonic shift the telecommunications industry had when consumers leapfrogged landlines to mobile or similarly in the movement from the theater to streaming services. The companies that will gain first-mover advantage will recognize they need to be as digital on the inside as they are on the outside and reinvent their commerce model to meet the needs of their future consumer.”
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