The Tech We Use Today Redefines The Future Of Consumer Behavior

February 27, 2023  |  Mark Hillary

McKinsey recently published recent research that focuses not just on which are the main technology trends shaping business at present, they go beyond this to explore what the trends we see today will mean for how companies must be structured in future.

How will consumer behavior and society itself change because of the technology we are seeing and using today?

I think this is a very interesting area of technology strategy – how different technologies may change consumer behavior completely. For example, before e-commerce companies were completely normal there were very few delivery options. If you bought something from a company online then they would ship it to your home address – that was the only choice. Now it’s common to be able to send it to a locker, a local store, your home, to use a timed delivery option or an economy one with less control. The systems and technology options have changed how consumers behave and interact with brands.

Who would have thought that a trip to your local 7-11 store would be normal, just because you ordered something on eBay?

The four changes driven by technology that McKinsey identifies are:

  1. Innovation at the edge: data use and creation is exploding. Systems are becoming easier to build thanks to low and no code design. Many more user interactions with brands will be automated – through AI agents or other automatic processes. Networks of expertise that sit between your brand and the end consumer will be increasingly important and need to be supported by the right systems.
  2. A perpetual learning culture: we are now seeing platforms redefined endlessly. The options to create new services are changing all the time. 70% of companies will be using digital twins soon and over 50 billion IoT devices will be online by 2025. The Metaverse is the next step – and enormous new environment that may well become what we call ‘the Internet’ in future.
  3. IT as a service: over 90% of developers are using APIs to access other systems. Ideas such as Software as a Service have become standard business tools to allow access to systems and technology on a pay as you use basis. This philosophy will be transferred to many other areas of technology creating a complete service industry in technology – as opposed to products that need to be purchased before use.
  4. Expanded trust boundaries: the use of biometric systems to approve identity for purchases will be normal. Facial recognition has improved 50x since 2014. Consumers are worried about their personal data being hacked, but they also want personalized service from brands – which requires their information. Brands need to balance this need for trust around security, privacy, and cyber-technologies. Consumers are becoming more aware of their right to own their own data just as brands want more of it.

These are all major shifts in how people behave and interact with technology. The question of who owns my data was rarely considered in the early days of social media when users would happily upload family photos and personal events to share with their friends – and the social media company selling ads.

The other changes are redefining how technology is used in business. It is becoming easier to innovate, to experiment, to try new ideas. This is ideal for startups, but how do traditional incumbent brands remain relevant when new competition can be created from anywhere at anytime?

The financial services industry sees this daily. Fintech allows scrappy startups to offer much better financial services to end consumers than the banks are offering, however the level of trust and consumer adoption remains a hurdle. Fintech brands that do manage to become well known are generally respected as best in class – new banks almost always receive better customer satisfaction scores than the traditional brands.

The bottom line is that technology is now shaping society itself. We are working on projects that change how we all behave. The future is arriving faster than anyone in this industry could have ever expected.

Continue discovering what the future will be like. Gartner has provided a good summary for the tech industry. Their latest analysis looking ahead to 2023 lists ten important technologies worth watching this year.

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