How will the recession change consumers? The question has preoccupied marketing people in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific all year, according to an analysis of the top Warc downloads in 2009.

Articles on recession behaviour, new slump-related segments and shifting perceptions in the crisis dominate the list in all regions. There were some discernable differences across the globe, however.

More optimistically, our US users were looking beyond the immediate downturn by hunting out pieces on innovation and longer term changes in the media landscape.

For European subscribers, articles on advertising expenditure – no matter how bleak – also took centre stage during the recession.

And for their Asian counterparts, papers on Chinese Frontiers, and Chinese consumers in the downturn proved popular.

In recent weeks, Warc has published further studies on the recovery consumer and their attitudes to risk. Only 2010 will tell how accurately the trend-spotters forecast any long-term changes in consumer behaviour as a result of the crisis.

Recession aside, interest in stalwart topics of cross-media planning, challenger brands and social networking was still apparent.

Popular case studies across most regions were from Heineken's Dos Equis, Burger King, Unilever's Dove, Cadbury's Gorilla and Johnnie Walker's Keep on Walking global case study.

Rather tellingly, after a strong initial showing, the much-hyped Obama campaign was not among the most popular US case histories. Perhaps Warc users knew something about the president's waning popularity that others didn't?

Elsewhere, analyses of media trends also attracted high download numbers. One of the most popular single pieces was Warc's interpretation of global media trends, produced for the World Federation of Advertisers' annual report.

The good news for our subscribers is that Warc will be publishing the next version of this analysis in early 2010.

Top Downloads in the US

  1. Data sourced from Warc