Do You Really Know What Matters Most To Consumers?

Many experts have offered their views on the topic of changing consumer values in recent years. And, many of these views have had to do with how consumers seem increasingly focused on where products are sourced from, child labor in product development, supply chain transparency, sustainability and other ethical matters, as the consulting firm Deloitte noted in a recent report. “There’s also a view that consumers are increasingly drawn to products that are personalized,” the firm noted. “But are these factors determining their decision-making process?”

To uncover the factors that are important to consumers, Deloitte did a survey that was designed to provide a better understanding of the changing consumer value set.

What the survey found, according to Deloitte, is that consumers still look to value, product and convenience as the overwhelmingly important attributes while making decisions. And, for the most part, consumers today value price, convenience and products over core values and personalization. “This finding is in line with the values that have been held by generations of U.S. consumers,” the firm noted. This finding also was true among consumers across age groups and income levels.

“In fact, often-noted attributes of the modern consumer like core values and personalized experiences ranked lowest among their priorities,” Deloitte said. “While this finding doesn’t discount that some marginal attributes may have grown over time, the fundamental attributes that the consumer looks to today are similar to what we would have seen 50 years ago.”

In addition, Deloitte noted that these preferences hold true “no matter how we slice the data — along the lines of age or income. Consumers across the board prioritize price, product and convenience the most while evaluating purchasing options …... Even high-income millennials, who may be the outliers, follow this trend,” the firm noted.

The bottom line is that while what matters to consumers may not have changed significantly, “the marketplace today is a competitive battlefield,” Deloitte added. “What is convenient or what offers value is relative, and hence these parameters are likely constantly changing in the mind of the consumer.”

All of this analysis of the data and trends across demographics and behavior brings to the surface a nuanced reality: The consumer is changing, but not necessarily in the ways we usually hear or think of, the consulting firm concluded.