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The Age of Innovation, When Coders Become King: Macro and Consumer Trends

The Red Zone – 5 April 2013

What does the future look like for consumers and marketers on both a local and global scale? Oresti Patricios, CEO of OrnicoGroup provided an incisive outlook on macro and consumer trends that will shape the future in his trends talk, Futurecast.

Macro Trends

Patricios highlighted largely positive macro trends that are occurring on the African continent:

  • Of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, six of them come from Africa.
  • A majority of African consumers believe that they will be better off within the next two years showing that they have a more positive outlook on their finances that other countries.
  • The amount of dependants per working age in Africa is decreasing, which will release more economic power into the hands of consumers.

Patricios says, “Innovation drives economic development.” As we create more cutting edge technologies which respond to consumers needs there are more opportunities created within the economy. Think back to the development of mobile technologies, computers, laptops and the extensive industries and jobs that they have developed. This trend will continue to surge ahead as organisations get more creative and innovative.

Consumer trends

Infected with the “infolust” virus, consumers are used to being able to access a wealth of information arising from various websites and applications. Social networking channels also play a part in rapidly disseminating information and outputting consumer’s feelings about brands. With this information overload from TripAdvisors, Hellopeters andWikiLeaks, Patricios believes that “transparency becomes absolutely vital.”

Our industries are also following a trend of serving the “bottom of the pyramid”, addressing the needs of the baseline consumers. Micro-insurance, which insures low-income individuals’ health and property is a trend that started in Africa and is spreading overseas due to its profitability. In South Africa alone there a wide range of hospital and income protection products offered by insurers such as Clientele that prove popular among the low income markets.

 

The trend of miscalling friends and families to save on airtime in India is so popular that brands have begun to sponsor them. According to the India Times, “96% of India’s 900 million mobile user base give a missed call to pass on mundane information like ‘Have reached destination’, or ‘Call me back’. ICICI Bank customers can give missed call to a particular number and get their account balance status as a text message, instantly. Dial another number, you’ll get mini-statements delivered to your inbox..The Missed Call Bandwagon include around a 100 large companies including HUL and Microsoft besides small businesses, restaurants, e-commerce portals, television channels and even political parties.”

More and more things are becoming “FREE!” on the internet. According to Patricios, “Brands must mirror the society they live in and become more human.” As the ‘free’ society continues to exponentially increase, brands need to adapt to this trend more. For example, while many television series were previously only available through DVD boxsets at a hefty price, now we see channels like Fox and Universal offering them to be streamed free on their websites as they quickly began to realise the power of the internet as an information dissemination medium (whether this is done legally or not). South Park creators also made their entire series free to watch on the web, as the creators believe in this notion of ‘free’.

Patricios’ talk had so many fantastic insights that we simply can’t fit them all into a single article! Here is a summary of other interesting observations that he has made:

  • Society will become more divided as there will be more and more niches created.
  • Coders will become kings (they are the innovators after all!) and
  • Trust is the new brand currency

OUR TAKE OUT:

The only people depressed about the African economy seem to be the economists themselves. Also, innovation will drive the economy and make coders ‘king’.

 

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