U.S. consumer attitudes shift as many become open to intelligent technologies taking an active role in purchasing decisions
NEW YORK; June 6, 2017 – Retailers and consumer goods companies could unlock $2.95 trillion in value for the industry and consumers over the next decade by accelerating digital transformation, according to a new report by Accenture Strategy. Investments in new, digitally-driven business models will give consumers greater choice around how they purchase goods and services, and enable companies to deliver profitable, differentiated experiences.
Accenture Strategy’s ‘Painting the Digital Future of Retail and Consumer Goods Companies’ report, based on analysis for the World Economic Forum, quantified the impact of digital transformation on consumer industries over the next decade. The study identified current consumer appetite for new purchasing experiences, the business models that have the highest potential to unlock new value, and how organizations and policymakers can prepare themselves.
“The next decade will be a golden age for consumers, with technological innovation creating a variety of shopping experiences that will give consumers the simplicity, convenience or excitement they crave,” said Chris Donnelly, senior managing director, global retail lead, Accenture Strategy. “Out of the $2.95 trillion in value the report identified, consumers have the most to gain – just over $2 trillion – through cost and time savings. The success of retailers and consumer goods companies to unlock value will be dependent on their ability to gain a deep understanding of consumers, embrace disruptive technologies and adopt innovative business models.”
Consumer appetite for new purchasing experiences
Today, 37 percent of U.S. consumers would allow companies to collect their personal data via intelligent devices in return for a better experience or financial reward. Another 37 percent would subscribe to a service that constantly looks for the best pricing deals on their behalf, and actively recommends which company to switch to, and when.
Over a quarter (26 percent) of U.S. consumers would use sensor-based digital services that pre-emptively address their needs without human intervention. Another 24 percent would subscribe to brands that analyze their shopping history to select products especially for them, and orders them automatically.
“The retail and consumer goods industries will change more in the next 10 years than they have over the past 40,” said Oliver Wright, managing director, global consumer goods lead, Accenture Strategy. “As expectations around cost, choice, convenience and experience continue to increase, consumers will challenge the industry to evolve and innovate which will drive huge growth in digital commerce.”
To reach the next frontier of digital commerce, retailers and consumer goods companies need to explore the following transformative business models which are already being welcomed by U.S. consumers:
As a by-product of industry transformation, there is potential disruption for people and society which companies, policymakers and regulators need to actively address to:
- Minimize impact on local communities – With an increasing number of retail stores downsizing or closing due to the rise of digital commerce, local communities need to respond by businesses and government establishing economic development strategies and partnering with communities to repurpose physical space as hubs for experiences, leisure and lifestyle activities.
- Reskill the workforce – Emerging technologies will drive a range of efficiencies which will significantly change the nature of the industry’s workforce. Business leaders and policymakers must focus on accelerating reskilling people, creating partnerships with educational institutions, and influencing public policy to meet the needs of the future workforce.
- Ensure sustainability – Meeting consumer demand for rapid delivery needs to be achieved in parallel to minimizing environmental impact. Shifting to electric vehicles and exploring load-sharing can help while also enhancing delivery efficiency. Furthermore, innovation in packaging design and supporting recycling infrastructure is also critical, helping to build a more circular economy.
To find out more information about the report, please visit www.accenture.com/futureretailcpg.
About the research
Accenture Strategy created a value-at-stake methodology for the World Economic Forum to quantify the impact of digital transformation on the retail and consumer goods industries, and consumers, in digitally developed economies over the next decade. Consumer insights were taken from Accenture Strategy’s latest Global Consumer Pulse Research which surveyed 25,426 consumers across 33 countries during July and August 2016, including 2,532 U.S. consumers.
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