SYDNEY/BOSTON: Consumers have developed new attitudes about speed, personalisation and their relationship with brands, and their growing demands will require brands to keep pace with their digital expectations, a new report has said.

According to Forrester, the Boston-based research firm, there are five key shifts in consumer behaviours, attitudes and expectations that are fuelling customer empowerment.

These are defined in Forrester's "Empowered Customer Segmentation in Asia Pacific" report as a willingness to experiment, device usage, digital and physical integration, information savviness and self-efficacy.

Anjali Lai, lead author of the report, told CMO ahead of its release that the ways in which consumers are changing creates demand for businesses to innovate digitally.

"As human beings, we are hardwired to avoid risk and minimise loss, but the economics of digital disruption mean that it's much easier to engage in new products and new services than it has been in the past," she said.

"Customers are much more accustomed to seeing innovation and to trying these new products and services, or entering into new experiences."

Consumers have also become reliant on technology to accomplish their everyday tasks, Lai continued, meaning they no longer regard their digital experiences as separate from their physical ones.

"There has been this convergence. As a result, customers have rising expectations for digital seamlessness," she said.

A further challenge for brands is that consumers have developed the ability to take in greater volumes of information than ever before. They share more content across social channels and are also more driven to take control of their experiences.

To deal with these changes, Forrester is adopting five new customer segmentation categories, which it calls "progressive pioneers", "savvy seekers", "convenience conformers", "settled survivors", and "reserved resistors".

According to the report, progressive pioneers – the most rapidly evolving consumers – dominate in metropolitan China and India, while Australian consumers largely prefer convenience.

Lai said Australia recorded the largest group of convenience conformers, a group who are open to using technology for making their lives easier, but only after the technology has gained acceptance in the market.

"It shows that brands in Australia aren't necessarily contending with consumers that are changing as quickly as they are in China, India, or even the US," she said. "But they have a unique opportunity to engage customers through digital means."

Data sourced from CMO; additional content by Warc staff