New social demographic expected to account for half of global consumption by 2025.

A new type of customer has been on the rise over the past several years. In a recent report, Demand Institute introduced the Connected Consumer, a shopper who has internet access and uses it to research purchases and to shop. But Connected Consumers aren’t merely online shoppers—they’re digitally savvy and have enough income for discretionary purchases. They also prefer premium products and are on the cutting edge of consuming trends.

Globally, Connected Consumers rival the global middle class, but this cohort is growing faster and spending more: By 2025, these consumers will account for half of global consumption. Some of their key characteristics include:

On average, they’re younger, more urban, and more affluent than other consumers, and they display more confidence and engagement.

Connected Consumers are omnichannel shoppers, using the web for a variety of consuming activities, including researching and shopping online, sharing ideas and reviews on social media, and viewing media and advertising.

The obvious question for retailers is how to position their business to serve this consumer. If they are connected, you must be connected. But how and where?

EMAIL

Most of these consumers like to receive promotions that reflect their demographic profile. Two easy ways you can connect with them and provide relevant ads are through email and text messaging. Be sure you’re collecting email addresses and mobile numbers.

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still a strong and effective tool. According to Chief Marketer, email’s return on investment is 28.5 percent compared to 7 percent of direct mail. And Pew Research reports that 92 percent of online adults use email, with 61 percent of those using it on a daily basis.

TEXT

When it comes to text/SMS marketing, the numbers tell the story. Techipedia research shows the open rate of SMS is 98 percent and Conversational Advertising says that 90 percent of those are read within three minutes. And then consider this finding from eMarketer; mobile offers are redeemed 10 times more frequently than print offers.

Consider creating a loyalty program for text/SMS subscribers or adding this option to your existing loyalty program. Responsys reports that 66 percent of consumers subscribed to mobile marketing indicate a purchase as a result of receiving highly relevant mobile messages.

SOCIAL MEDIA

While it may seem like old news or something you have tried but don’t have confidence in, social media will continue to play a large role. This doesn’t mean you need to be on each and every platform, but you need to be active and visible in the most relevant social media channels.

Research shows that 52 percent of Connected Consumers use social media sites to help make purchasing decisions. They’re asking their friends, family, and followers for advice, but they’re also using social media to research businesses. If your business is absent from social media, then to these consumers you are out of sight and out of mind.

Connected Consumers are engaged, ready, willing, and able to spend money with your business. If you want to attract their business, engaging through email, mobile marketing, and social media are essential. Staying relevant and making this new consumer a high priority should at top of your marketing list.

— Chris Rainey