The Data Digest: Social Media And Social Revolution

Anjali Lai

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect posits that seemingly small changes at one moment in time can result in large, dramatic changes at another. The subtle flap of a butterfly’s wing can trigger a violent hurricane that occurs miles away or days later. Rationally, the idea may seem like a stretch, but in a digital sense, we are witnesses to – and victims of – the butterfly effect every day through social media. A few individuals’ posts online can escalate into a chorus of voices that mobilizes communities and creates new standards. We saw this last year after a homeless man in Boston turned in a backpack and, more recently, when Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe.

Social media has always been a catalyst for bringing people together as well as an outlet where consumers can vent. But when a surge of voices results in change, social media posts are more than ephemeral cybertext. And, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, consumers around the world leverage social media to generate buzz about current events, although members of some countries are more vocal than others: 

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Data Digest: Business Technology-Focused Companies Win In The Age Of The Customer

Christopher Kelley

Forrester has written extensively about the Business Technology imperative in the Age of the Customer. While the transformation from IT to BT is challenging, Forrester’s Business Technographics data highlights how business leaders have increased – and plan to continue increasing – their technology spending. This means that the train has left the station and CIOs can either embrace this shift or fight against the BT transformation tide.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the BT agenda, these data also show the difference between BT-Leaders -- companies that embrace a BT agenda -- compared to BT-Laggards – companies that are entrenched in the traditional IT mentality vis-a-vis Business Technology needs.

Specifically, we found that businesses with IT departments that help accelerate business success are more likely to:

  • Have had double-digit growth in 2014. The bottom line is important. We found that 30% of companies that BT-Leaders grew at 10% or more in 2014 compared to 2013, compared to 26% of BT-Laggards.
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The Data Digest: Health Insurers Must Ensure Satisfaction

Anjali Lai

The US health insurance industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Since federal legislation mandated health coverage for all US citizens, health insurers have been pivoting away from pure B2B models to reinvent themselves as B2C services – and they’ve been responding to the demands of a new target group: consumers who purchase their own health insurance.

Earlier this year, we published a blog post detailing the channels customers use when purchasing health insurance. But mapping customers’ physical interactions with a company is only part of the story – understanding their emotional evolution is just as important. According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, a mere 50% of consumers who purchase their own health insurance feel that the brand puts them first; others believe health insurers do what’s best for their own bottom line at the expense of customers. The former are not only emotionally satisfied, they are also loyal to their current health insurer and willing to spend on additional products and services: 

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The Data Digest: Consumers’ Device-Switching Behaviors

Anjali Lai

According to our fellow consumers, we’re more productive. Ask any mother, and she’ll tell you we’re addicted. Listen to a doctor, and you’ll think we’re creating clinical problems. The consequences are up for debate, but the fact of the matter is clear: US online adults get things done by switching from one screen to another.

Today, the majority of the US population uses three or more connected devices; we don’t only live among screens – we live by them. We complete tasks by gliding from one screen to another without a second thought. In fact, over half of US online consumers often carry out a single activity across multiple devices, and one-fifth admits they always do this.

While consumers commonly start certain tasks on their smartphone and complete them on a desktop, they also move from desktops to portable devices. The devices consumers use and the frequency with which they move between screens vary by activity. A blend of Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data and passive behavioral tracking shows that retail behaviors are most fragmented across devices, followed by media consumption activities:

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The Data Digest: Emotion Is The Hidden Driver For Consumer Choice

Anjali Lai

Here in the US, we’re gearing up to celebrate July 4, the day that everyone knows signifies America’s independence. But most people don’t know that the 1776 congress didn’t actually declare American independence on July 4. This date didn’t mark the start or end of the American Revolution. America’s Declaration of Independence wasn't even written, signed, or delivered to Great Britain on July 4.

We celebrate July 4 in the name of tradition — and we defer to assumptions rather than unearthing the true story. But when we dive a level deeper and look beyond the surface, we gain new depths of insight. When it comes to understanding customers, it’s time to take a deeper look.

The role of emotion is one of these “unknowns” in consumer behavior: An incisive view into consumer behavior reveals that emotion is more powerful than commonly thought. More than a mood, emotion is a key driver of customer decisions, actions, and perceived experiences —and pervades each stage of the purchase life cycle. For example, Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that Etsy inspires extremely positive consumer sentiment before, during, and after making a purchase: 

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Consumers Will Download More Than 226 Billion Apps In 2015

Satish Meena

Apple and Google have recently announced the total number of app downloads from their app stores over the past 12 months. Apps downloaded by by iOS users crossed the 100 billion mark in June 2015 — 25 billion of those in the past 12 months — while Android users have downloaded more than 50 billion apps in the past 12 months. Google did not announce a cumulative download figure, although we know that app downloads passed 50 billion in July 2013. It took Android almost 57 months to cross the 50 billion milestone, compared with about 59 months for Apple. Android app downloads have overtaken iOS app downloads due to the rapid adoption of Android-based phones in emerging markets. However, this does not include Chinese app stores serving Android users, such as  360 Mobile Assistant, Myapp, Baidu, MIUI, Wandoujia, Huawei, and Anzhi Market; our just-published Forrester Research Mobile Application Spending Forecast, 2015 To 2020 (Global) indicates that these entities will account for more than half of the expected 226 billion app downloads in 2015.

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The Data Digest: Forrester’s Next-Generation CX Index Reveals Why Customer Experience Is Important For Telecom Companies

Gina Fleming

Having lived in a number of cities throughout the years, I have faced the typical problems of the cable customer — a limited number of providers and little ability to switch. And over and over again, I’ve been frustrated and disappointed by the customer experience (CX) I’ve received from these cable companies. I’m not alone: Forrester’s next-generation CX Index™ benchmarks TV and Internet service providers (ISPs) as among the lowest for CX quality. But as many new TV models start to emerge, consumers will be able to punish poor providers and switch more easily to new companies that meet their needs.

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Older Consumers Embrace Technology During Their Purchase Journey, Too!

Nicole Dvorak

Millennials: We can’t seem to get enough information about them. Recent reports that focus exclusively on how Millennials use new technologies have misled eBusiness execs into believing that they must focus primarily on Millennial dollars.[i] But as my colleague Sucharita Mulpuru discusses in her latest report, the kids are overrated.

History has shown us that technology innovation has an impact on all generations —even if adoption rates and motivations differ by age. We even see this trend when examining the role that mobile devices play in the consumer purchase journey today. For example, although 26- to 34-year-olds lead in tablet adoption, 35- to 44-year-olds show the highest levels of tablet use during the research process —more than a quarter of US online researchers within this age group use a tablet!

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The Data Digest: The Value Of Company Values

Anjali Lai

We are notoriously bad at knowing ourselves. Science shows that we are not quite as beautiful, or smart, or ethical as we would like to think. As a result, our self-proclaimed beliefs do not always translate into action; often, we say we’ll do “the right thing” but (consciously or not) we’ll proceed to do the opposite. Are we really nothing more than delusional creatures of habit bound to repeat our mistakes? No – actually, far from it. Certain individuals are hyperaware of their values and follow through on decisions and actions accordingly. Although a small group, these consumers spark awareness, change their behavior, demand transparency, and inspire trends.

My latest report examines what, when, and why consumers buy, when values are central to their decision-making process. In my research, I found that, despite limited knowledge and patterns of self-deceit, consumers want to purchase from companies that embrace ethical practices. More broadly, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of company values and are opening their wallets when company values resonate with theirs:

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The Data Digest: Customer Service Has Gone Digital

Anjali Lai

In the past week, I have booked a flight using a travel voucher, questioned a charge on my credit card bill, and bought an electric toothbrush. What do these experiences have in common? In each case, I had a relatively complex question and I received a helpful answer – without talking to anyone in person or by phone. Instead, with a little online research, I was able to identify which blackout dates applied to my travel voucher, clear the charge on my credit card bill, and learn the best settings for my toothbrush.

Essentially, I sought answers immediately by turning to digital channels first. In this regard, I’m not the only one. For the first time in the history of our research, more US online adults report using company websites than speaking with agents by phone when resolving customer service needs. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that 76% of consumers turn to FAQ pages, and usage across other digital channels is growing notably:

The fact that technology is disrupting the way in which customers seek information is not merely a trend – it’s at a tipping point. In the age of the customer, consumers expect accurate answers with greater speed and less friction than before; as companies offer them detailed online content with increasingly effective navigation strategies, consumers will embrace self-service digital channels at the expense of offline communication.

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