Paul Twite, UK managing director at Toluna explains how mobile insights will continue to influence both consumer behaviour and data-driven insights going into 2018.

Last year, we predicted mobile data would play a larger role in uncovering consumer purchase habits and intent. Larger smartphones, and better mobile web and app UI pushed mobile commerce forward. Insights from mobile data continue to bridge the gap between on and offline, with Forrester predicting mobile will influence $1.4 trillion USD in sales by 2021.

This year we saw the accelerated shift to an on-demand economy from the way consumers watch movies, buy groceries, and travel from point A to B. These consumers have high expectations of brands and businesses with which they interact. Their sentiment and taste continues to change as the on-demand economy takes shape, and the ability for marketers to connect with them is critical in these fast-paced times.

As such, real-time data will continue to be a massive driver of marketing insights and action. In order to stay competitive, data will need to be sourced, organised, combed for insights and acted upon faster than ever. In 2018, data-driven marketers will depend on quantitative data garnered from mobile and other channels to inform ‘what’ a consumer did. But insights into the ‘why’ will also become faster and more readily available to marketers in companies of all sizes.

On the tech side, marketers will continue to experiment and refine data-driven strategies with augmented reality, beacons, digital tracking, and geo-location becoming an increasing part of the data blend. On the insights side, the next year will see significant change in the market research sector, as the democratisation of data and the integration of technology and human behaviour come to the fore.

What do we mean by “democratisation” of consumer research data? Traditional market research is time consuming, expensive, and was generally available only to large organisations that had the resources to either conduct or purchase research data. Now, with increased availability of technology powered by online communities and proven research methodologies, businesses of all kinds can have easy access to consumer insights on demand and in real time. 

At its core, the market research industry still faces major challenges adapting to this age of the consumer. The need for insights on demand will transform market research in 2018 and beyond, and I believe that innovative companies of all sizes (not just Amazon, Facebook, and Google) will continue to find ways to garner deep insights and use those insights to provide customers with value and superior brand experiences.