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Three things marketers need to know about the evolving post-pandemic Australian consumer

By Amit Bapna |

September 28, 2022 | 4 min read

The Drum hears from Katie Rigg-Smith, chief strategy officer for Australia at WPP, about recent research that sheds light on the country’s rapidly changing political, cultural, and social backdrop.

Making sense of the evolving Aussie consumer

The changing Aussie consumer landscape

The Australian market has had a complex and interesting evolution in the post-pandemic world. For a country that remained locked down far longer than many other nations, the pandemic has brought about major shifts in the consumption habits of its people, even as unemployment and the cost of living rose sharply.

As Katie Rigg-Smith, chief strategy officer - Australia, WPP, tells The Drum: "The pandemic has ensured a new type of honesty in the daily lives; about who we are and what our lives are like outside of work with our employers, and this has continued post-pandemic."

It also means companies need to look again at their rules of engagement in the changing landscape.

As per the findings of the latest edition of ‘Secrets and Lies 2022’, an annual study conducted by WPP in Australia and New Zealand, Australians are shying away from sharing honest views online for fear of retribution, and that sentiment has gone up from 48% in 2020 to 63% in 2022.

Here are some defining trends of this changing consumer landscape that marketers should be looking at for their future playbook.

Do not forget the old and ageing

In the post-pandemic world, there has been a key shift in the older population, especially in the region, which is marked by a stark change in their outlook and energy levels.

According to Rigg-Smith: "Marketers need to flip the script on ageing and remind everyone aged over 50 that they’d better get busy living." They need to wake the sleeping giant - the 50+ consumer, which is the custodian of half of all private wealth, she adds.

‘Singles’ will be big business

To be happily single is a winning lifestyle choice over settling for unhappily together and being alone does not have to mean being lonely.

Shares Rigg-Smith: "Even as every brand is talking about inclusivity, they also need to remember to include singles as an important cohort." The opportunity is lucrative there as the world of singles is increasing.

She points out: "Creating products and services for great solo moments is a vastly untapped market: non-shareable, completely single, totally wonderful, and indulgent experiences." Every single category has room for a great product or service designed for those with a healthy love of self, she adds.

Walk the talk

It has become critical for brands to live up to their environmental, social and governance promises since the action is being rewarded, not perfection.

As per Rigg-Smith: "People - and investors - are willing to forgive you for not having perfect solutions, but they won’t accept you for not having a plan of attack."

While living up to the promise is critical, equally important is to remain simple and easy to understand. As per the study findings, 87% said companies use buzzwords, making it hard to get to the truth of what they sell.

Rigg-Smith’s word of advice: "Brand custodians should review the copy on their websites and socials." As we prepare for a more voice-activated world, it might be time for a language make-over, she adds.

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