What does your target customer look like? Are they a 40-something parent of two in a middle-income household? A recent college graduate who just moved into their first apartment? No matter how you describe a customer, buyer personas like these help you identify your audience. However, they don’t show how that audience actually behaves. That’s where consumer psychology comes in.

Consumer psychology is the study of how thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and perceptions influence the way people buy goods and services. For example, you might look at how customers decide to shop one business or product over another. You may also investigate how variables such as relationships, media, and culture influence the decision-making process.

So, why do we study consumer behavior? Because if we understand why customers gravitate toward a product or service, then we learn how to grab their attention. Here’s what you need to know about consumer behavior in 2019—and how it can impact your business.

Consumers are more connected than ever.

The vast majority of Americans—95%—own a cellphone. Around 77% of those devices are smartphones. Likewise, 73% of adults own a laptop, and 53% have a tablet computer. Voice assistant usage is expected to increase by 1000% over the next five years. These statistics show us that device ownership and media penetration are growing exponentially.

Just think about how and where you utilize connected devices every day. If you’re anything like today’s consumers, you probably:

  • Use mobile devices from the couch, even when you could use a desktop.
  • Use smartphones and laptops to look up businesses before you visit them.
  • Use voice assistants to research topics that come up in real-life conversations.
  • Use mobile devices in the car to find a highly-rated restaurant nearby.
  • Use voice assistants to add to shopping lists and find the best deals.

Consumers stay connected wherever they go. The more connected they are, the more information there is to constantly vie for their attention. Your business needs to be present, active, and optimized everywhere online to become truly competitive and successful.

Consumers are becoming more curious but more impatient.

Now that customers are always connected, they have become more inquisitive—as well as more impatient. Consumers turn to the internet for information as well as inspiration. They often want to learn how to do something, investigate an area of interest, or research a product or service. They use conversational language—such as “do I need” or “can I buy”—to make these searches more pointed, specific, and personally relevant.

Consumers then expect immediate answers to these inquiries. According to a 2018 analysis of Google data, “near me” mobile searches have increased by 500% over the last two years. Similarly, mobile searches containing phrases like “open” and “now” have grown by over 200%.

So, how will this curiosity and impatience impact your business in 2019? Natalie Zmuda, the Executive Editor at Think with Google, says “people’s expectations will continue to rise. They’ll ask increasingly detailed questions and expect brands to provide answers that are tailored just for them. Ultimately, it will be the brands that are deemed truly helpful that will rise above the competition.”

To attract new customers as well as keep your business top-of-mind, you need to predict consumers’ needs regardless of where they are in their journey. You can do this by producing useful, relevant content that addresses not only a specific audience but also a specific query. Additionally, this content should utilize keywords and contain cross-links to improve your SEO ranking and climb to the top of customers’ search results. Finally, develop your marketing communications with technology trends, such as the rise of mobile devices and voice assistants, in mind.

Consumers are putting trust in reputable content and word-of-mouth marketing.

Now, more than ever, consumers are turning to friends, relatives, and even strangers on social media for information on a product or service. According to a hallmark Nielsen analysis 83% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from people they know—and this trust continues today. A 2018 survey found that 91% of consumers aged 18 through 34 trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Hence, cultivating a solid reputation is paramount.

You can improve your online image by not only asking loyal customers to leave reviews but also acting as a reliable resource. Customized content, for example, provides value to consumers without asking for anything in return. As a result, you build trust as well as establish authority in the industry.

Understanding consumer behavior can inform your digital strategy in ways purely demographic information can’t. If you’re still not sure how to integrate this data into your marketing efforts, give us a call or fill out our contact form, and we’ll help you get on track!