Britain's Digital Families: Six archetypes of internet and tech users

16 May 2017

New research on the digital DNA of Brits finds that there are broadly speaking 6 archetypes of internet and technology users. Rebecca Emerson, who heads Oliver Wyman in the UK, the consultancy that conducted the study, reflects on the features of Britain’s Digital Families, as well as how businesses can leverage their online behaviour to come to better, and more inclusive, digital strategies.

Do you need a stat to prove that the internet is great? Here’s one: 84% of Brits like or love spending time online. UK businesses have of course been looking to make the most of this and use the internet as another way to connect with us as customers and build our allegiance to their brand and services.

Services apps, social media, and websites with innovations are coming thick and fast. As consumers, we can comment and complain to companies via Twitter or chatbots and receive promotional offers from nearby shops based on our phone’s geolocation data. However, new research (titled ‘Britains’s Digital Families’) suggests that these services may only help 30% to 45% of digital consumers who are the most tech-literate. This is great for me and many of you reading this online, but for everyone else – over half the population – they’re probably ambivalent at best and feeling actively excluded at worst.

So while there’s an arms race emerging in consumer-facings apps and tools by businesses wanting to be the most tech-enabled and serve their customers quickly and easily (and cheaply), they also need to work on making sure all of us are brought along on their digital journeys.

 Britain's Digital Families

In fact, there are not just two tribes of ‘online trendsetters’ and ‘laid back offliners’. Surveying 1,500 UK consumers revealed there were six distinct Digital Families in Britain today. It’s by understanding these archetypes that businesses can adapt their digital strategies to better serve us, for example by being more reliable, secure, or easy to use.

Britain’s Digital Families

Roughly a quarter of us are Laidback Luis. If you’re in this group, the internet doesn’t dominate your life. You may not be the first to get the latest phone or gadget, but will happily go with the flow if the product seems useful. The challenge for businesses is to help you see how your life can be made better and more convenient by their digital services – bringing you along on their digital transformation journey.

About 20 percent of us are Anxious Andersons. These are the type of people who want to tell big companies to mind their own business and keep their hands off personal data. If you’re an Anxious Anderson, you’ll only be willing to interact with companies who share your privacy values and have a strong track record in cyber security. Look for businesses who limit the information they collect and transparently explain what’s being recorded and why it’s needed.

15 percent of us are Contributing Coles. Bloggers, vloggers, coders, and sharers fall into this family. You’ll want to feel like you’re shaping the story and will likely be targeted to be companies’ digital brand champions and beta testers. An ideal website for you would allow you to customise your own experience, for instance by having bespoke product filters or curated lists.

15 percent of us are Carefree Careys. Data privacy matters less than convenience, good service, and totting up rewards points. Most large companies will already be looking to move you onto their online platforms. However, you may find some digital start-ups will be able to use your data in innovative ways that make your life even easier or more rewarding.

Britain’s Digital Families footprint

15 percent of us are Online Owens. Technology is a huge part of life and you view it overwhelmingly positively. To create an online experience tailored to you, expect to see businesses reaching out to you through social media and recommendations from trusted sources. They’ll want you to share what you’ve been doing – such as your latest online purchase – and will add buttons to help you do this and get reactions from your digital friends.

The other 10 percent of us are Analogue Alis. Ever feel like technology is really complicated and changing too fast to keep up with? Then this might be your Digital Family. If you want to get more digital, look for companies that help you get online and make it super easy for you once you are through simple websites with limited tabs, drop-downs, search options, and pop-ups.

Better, and more inclusive, digital strategies

How businesses adapt to serve you and your Digital Family will vary by sector. For example, banks will be looking to cut operating costs by moving their customers to self-serve online or via apps, so it is in their best interest to reassure you about cyber security if you’re an Anxious Anderson and they will make it easy for the Analogue Alis. In contrast, supermarkets don’t really need to convert the Anxious Andersons into digital shoppers, because their business models don’t make any more profit serving customers online than they do in their existing store. They may only have a simple online store that prevents attrition to competitors, but instead will invest more in giving us all the best experience in-store.

Consumer-facing companies can use the findings to better understand customer groups – their likes and dislikes, what excites them or turns them off. And with this knowledge, companies gain a competitive edge that helps them thrive in the digital age. For CIO’s it is, for their digital strategy to succeed, key that they understand how all of Britain views and uses the internet.

Interested in finding out to which Digital Family you belong? Oliver Wyman has developed a special quiz to help you find out (9 questions).

Related: UK Head of Oliver Wyman Rebecca Emerson talks Brexit and growth plans.


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Four ways digitalisation is transforming car brands and dealers

16 April 2019

From changing expectations from the customer to new stakeholders entering the industry, the digital transformation of global automotive industry means it is facing the wholesale transformation of its business model. In a new white paper, global consulting partnership Cordence Worldwide has highlighted four major digital trends that are transforming the relationships between car brands and dealers with consumers.

With digital transformation drives booming across the industrial spectrum, automotive groups are no different in having commenced large digital transformation programmes to improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Falling sales figures mean the automotive sector is facing an increasingly difficult road ahead, something which means companies in the market are even more hard pressed to find new ways to improve their bottom lines.

While it offers major opportunities, the industry’s move to digitalise is not without complications. It has triggered a series of major internal changes, which have presented automotive entities with the challenge of becoming a “customer-oriented” industry. A new report from Cordence Worldwide – a global management consulting partnership present in more than 20 countries – has explored how automotive companies are navigating the rapidly changing nature of digital business.

New business models

The level of change likely to be wrought on the automotive industry by digitalisation is hard to overstate. Automation could well lead to significant reductions in the number of accidents, higher vehicle utilisation and lower pollution levels, while leading to a $2.1 trillion change in traditional revenues, with up to $4.3 trillion in new revenue openings arising by 2030.

As a result of this colossal opportunity, it is easy to see why almost all automotive groups now have digital departments, with generally strong communication within the digital transformation and the customer approach. The changes to society which this may have are potentially distracting automotive firms from the change it is leading to in its own companies though, according to Cordence’s paper.

The automotive market is dead, long live the mobility market

Because of this, the sector’s business model is set to transform over the coming decades. With digitalisation speeding up the appearance of concepts such as car-sharing, a subscription package model will likely become more palatable. At the same time, car and ride-sharing models will cater to the sustainability criteria of millennials, who will rapidly become one of the automotive market’s leading consumer demographics in the coming years.

Antoine Glutron – a Managing Consultant with Cordence member Oresys, and the report’s author – said of the situation, “These ‘old school industries’ are now working on creating new opportunities, but in so-doing are facing challenges and threats: new jobs, new technologies, new ecosystem of partners, necessary reorganisation, different relationship with customers, and even new businesses. The customer approach topic is in fact a real challenge for car companies as it implies changing their business model and adjusting their mind-set to address the customer 4.0: from product-centric to customer-centric, from car manufacturer to service provider.”

Digital customer experience

In the hyper-competitive age of the internet, even top companies face an uphill challenge when it comes to holding onto customers through brand loyalty. Digital disruption has resulted in changes to consumer behaviour, which is forcing a range of marketing strategists to reconsider their old, possibly out-dated strategies. As modern customers wield an increasingly impressive array of digital tools and online databases, they and are now able to quickly and conveniently compare prices, check availability and read product reviews.

The automotive sector is no exception to this trend, according to the study. In order to adapt to the needs of the so-called ‘customer 4.0’, car companies will increasingly need to change their business model and move away from product-centric companies to customer-centric ones, from car manufacturers to service providers.

Glutron explained, “As an automotive company, you can no longer expect customer loyalty simply with good products; you must conquer and re-conquer a customer that “consumes” your service. The offer now has to be global, digital and personalised. Your offer has to be adapted to this customer’s needs at any given moment. A key issue related to data control is to build customer loyalty by creating a customer experience 'tailored' throughout the cycle of use of the 'car product': purchase, driving, maintenance and trade-in of the vehicle.”

One way in which the sector may be able to benefit from this desire for a tailored experience is via connectivity. Consumers are generally positive about new connective features for automobiles, and many are even willing to pay upfront for infotainment, emergency and maintenance services. Chinese consumers, where the connected car market is set to hit $216 billion, are already particularly interested in paying a little more for navigation and diagnostic features in their future new car. This can also enable automotive companies to exploit a rich vein of customer data, enabling them to rapidly tailor their offerings to consumer behaviour.

New automotive segments

Digital transformation has also brought with it the rise of completely new application areas. As mentioned earlier, the most well-known example is the autonomous or self-driving car, where the last steps forward were not taken by major automotive groups but by technology companies such as Tesla. While this may have given such firms the edge in the market briefly, a number of keystone automotive names will soon be set to take the plunge into the market themselves, leveraging their car manufacturing prowess and huge production capacities to their advantage.

Before companies rush to invest in this market, however, it is worth their while to remember that the readiness and uptake for such vehicles differs greatly geographically. For example, following a study published in 2018, 92% of Chinese would be ready to buy an autonomous car, compared with only around 35% of drivers in France, Germany and US. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of different nations will also be significantly less accommodating of the new technology.

Use digital for steering thr activity

Elsewhere, Cordence’s analysis has suggested that hooking the cars of tomorrow into the Internet of Things is also likely to see a rapid change in the business model for car maintenance, providing real-time diagnostics for problems. This presents chances for partnerships to improve the connectivity of cars, especially with tech companies; for example, PSA partnered with IBM for a global agreement on services in their vehicle. Meanwhile, data could also be sold to other parties with an interest in this data, such as the government, which could use it to manage traffic levels, or ensure that only adequately maintained vehicles take to the road.

Glutron added, “With the increase in the amount of client data and connected opportunities, the recommendation is to set up data-centric approaches. The value is now in the customer data. The general prerequisites are to rework the data model and the Enterprise Architecture and generally build up a data lake including data from all sources (internal and external, structured and unstructured).”

From automotive to mobility

Relating further to the idea of connectivity, the report claimed that automotive firms must now adjust their models in line with the provision of end-to-end mobility, rather than treating the sale of a car as an end point in their relationship with the customer. In order to realise this transformation, transformations are likely to become more and more important.

A network of partner companies means automotive firms can provide a global mobility experience. As the vehicle is increasingly connected to its environment, new partners can also be cities, governments, and other service providers within the global mobility services industry in which the car brands want to take part.

According to the study, the target is clear. Companies must look to a holistic transport service, offering to move customers from A to B in a unique and pleasant way – otherwise they might as well take public transport. At the same time, they should extend the services reachable “on-board” (especially the enhancement of the connectivity between the car and smartphones or other connected devices), and reach high standards in terms of user experience (online sales, online payment, customised experience during and after the use of the car).

Concluding the report, Glutron stated, “These mobility market transformations could be considered a threat for the car manufacturers. Quite the opposite: if they take up the challenge and review their business model so that they become the service provider – communicating no longer to a driver but to a ‘mobility customer’ – they can then take advantage of their expertise and their position as a historical player. The most convenient means of transport are cars, and building a car is highly-skilled work.”