The consumption patterns of the French have never evolved as much as over the past ten years, in all sectors, from the most archaic to the most elitist, in order to make pleasure accessible to all. From physical stores to “Bricks and Clicks” via Social Selling, a look back at this dazzling change in consumption habits.
- The rise of new purchasing and financing methods
By removing all physical borders, new technologies and new economic models have profoundly changed consumer habits. Indeed, many companies are digitizing their services and are becoming, for the most part, “Bricks and Clicks” (Airbnb, Booking, Amazon, Uber). During the last ten years, they have developed applications to contribute to continuous access to their offers.
Internet shopping is far from being confined to the computer: mobile e-commerce exploded in 2019 with 16.3 million French people having made purchases from their smartphone, or + 23.7% in one year(1). It is notably thanks to the smartphone, which has become an entry point for brands, that Social Selling was born, where the art of selling directly on social networks, especially on Instagram. The user experience is improved by taking into account the desires of each individual through their behavior. The personal, almost intimate dimension of social networks coupled with the use of new technologies such as Data Mining allow increasingly detailed knowledge of customers. Thus, we are entering the era of ultra-personalization.
A profitable strategy, especially in the automotive sector, where 80% (2) of French people say that their research on the web and publications on social networks make them think, even influence them when it comes to choosing their future car model.
It’s not just the purchasing methods that have changed, the very purchasing and payment formulas have evolved. Thus, the subscription business model has exploded over the past five years, disrupting the way we consume. The purchase of a property with immediate payment, which could represent a real obstacle, is no longer on the agenda. This mode of acquisition has conquered many French people since they are 94% to have a subscription including 89% for telecommunications, 48% for multimedia and 42% for transport. (3). Freedom to terminate quickly, to renew a good regularly (without repurchasing), possibility of spreading out its expenses to better manage its budget, to acquire an expensive product: the advantages are multiple!
To this flexibility of the payment method is added the desire to easily and regularly replace its equipment, giving rise to monthly offers.
- Direct to Consumer challenges the classic model
The major change in consumption patterns now lies in the “Direct to Consumer”, a business model in which the Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) are part. The D2C benefits from a direct-to-consumer distribution model, without a point of sale, freeing itself from any intermediary. Companies thus sell their products directly on their site and advertise them through digital channels such as social networks. A DNVB therefore has the particularity of carrying out by its own means, the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of its offer.
This practice is very successful and is based on the community effect and the feeling of belonging to the brand generated by the direct link with the customer and the transparency cultivated by the DNVBs, in particular thanks to social networks. The brands also integrate a purchasing functionality in order to refer the consumer to the brand’s website. The customer experience is therefore at the heart of the DNVBs strategy. The mega e-tailer Farfetch listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of over $ 5.8 billion(4) is the perfect example of this new model of consumption. Indeed, the company has built an online empire thanks to a platform that centralizes the offers of more than 1000 physical stores, and ensures the delivery of products in less than 48 hours. Farfetch has dusted off the market by offering consumers almost tailor-made features, customer service available 24 hours a day, and above all, extremely fast delivery times. These partnerships therefore allow ready-to-wear brands to benefit from the unique technology developed by Farfetch.
III – From smartphone to car: equipment finally accessible to all
In 2020, almost instantaneous consumption from the sofa has therefore become the new benchmark model, accompanied by new payment habits such as subscriptions. But what triggers the switch to the act of purchasing? In large part, a need for social belonging. The example of Apple’s iPhone perfectly illustrates this need and is the archetype of new consumption patterns. The iPhone has been able to seduce all social classes over time, in particular by offering purchase by monthly payment which makes it possible to adapt to all budgets. However, its price has continued to increase in 10 years. Indeed, in 2007, the iPhone was sold for € 799, while in 2017 the iPhone X cost € 1159! (5). Apple was therefore able to give the feeling that its product was unique in terms of price and user experience. Although this product is expensive, it nevertheless gives off an image of accessibility thanks to subscriptions, which are a real achievement in consumption.
The brakes and barriers are popping up, even in the most critical sectors in the purchasing decision such as the automobile or real estate. Thus, the “Direct to consumer” model and monthly payment are also duplicated in the automotive distribution sector. They dust off the sector, perceived as being rigid, opaque and inaccessible. No wonder when you know that the price of a new car has increased by 20% in fifty years (6) ! Consequently, many consumers are now turning to DNVBs platforms and opting for monthly offers, which are a very good alternative to buying and which offer many advantages. It is now possible to have fun by regularly replacing your car with a more recent model, and to choose your brand, model, home delivery, all at a monthly price. In addition, the French today prefer use to possession, which is why long-term rental or LOA (Rental with Purchase Option) are attracting more and more consumers. There is even an increase in the automotive sector in the number of leases made (73% of car purchases in 2020), while classic car loans are on the decline. (7).
Thus, consumption patterns continue to evolve, even in the most critical sectors in the purchasing decision, such as the automobile or real estate. Here, it is a question of transforming the model of automotive distribution. It is clearly possible to move the lines, using the most advanced technologies in order to offer even more advantageous and personalized offers. The health and economic crisis that we are currently experiencing has highlighted the relevance of this new model where physical distribution and the act of “cash” purchasing are on the way to becoming the “old world”.
(2) Accenture / Facebook
(3) Audirep analysis carried out on a sample of 1000 people representative of the French population and aged 18 and over – 2019.
(5) http://www.smartaddict.fr/comment-le-prix-de-liphone-a-pu-autant-au Increase-en-dix-ans/
(7) According to the French Association of Financial Companies
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Towards consumption at all “As-a-service” – Forbes France