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Consumption Drivers: What do consumers expect from brands and retailers?

Matthieu JOLLY
9 minutes
Facing a surge of technological innovations and profound changes in consumer behaviour, brands and retailers must differentiate themselves in the minds of customers. With the Access Panel 2020, you have a 360-degree view of consumer arbitrage and purchasing dynamics.

By sifting through the consumption of 14,000 individuals interviewed in Belgium, Spain, France and Portugal through its statistical model, Echangeur has identified 10 strategic personas or targets that make and will make the future of trade.

But what are the consumers’ expectations?

To answer this question, Echangeur proposes its analysis grid based on a statistical model: Consumption Drivers. There are 7 and they explain the choices and trade-offs of people in terms of consumption.

At the heart of the Innovate Service Centric approach, consumer drivers are keys to fuel your thinking, identifying areas of innovation in order to offer consumers innovative services, whether they are low or high tech, all having in common a goal: to be differentiating!

Echangeur identifies for you 7 Consumption Drivers:


67% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 35% in average) fully agree with “I need to live by fulfilling projects: work, sport, travel, etc.”


Motivated by a constant desire to surpass oneself, the customer stimulated by the ACHIEVEMENT consumption driver is dynamic and continues to set new challenges and objectives. He therefore expects brands to help and support in order to reach them, whatever they may be. Remaking its kitchen, buying a washing machine or running the London Marathon within a year. Clearly, it’s ACHIEVEMENT that pushes a jogger to equip himself with a connected bracelet to track his performance during his workouts.

While change forms the basis of this consumer’s personal and family life, ACHIEVEMENT occurs naturally during the different moments of life that affect the family unit. Moving, work, travel, sports activities, … at every opportunity, the consumer wants to be supported to express his full potential.

It is also the driver that makes your project safe! Any help with the administrative management of invoices is welcome! After-sales services are therefore particularly to be cared for as well as the possibility of recycling its products. In short, every moment of the customer relationship counts.



69% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 28% in average) fully agree with “I am constantly looking for new ways to save time, to make my life as easy as possible”


In an ever faster and demanding world, the EASE consumption driver corresponds to THE constraint of our industrialized and urbanized Western societies: lack of time. The consumer sensitive to EASE will therefore immediately take ownership of any solution, physical or digital, which can help him recover and/or save valuable minutes.

Having fully understood and integrated EASE, retailers are therefore investing heavily to eliminate checkout waiting and simplify product delivery. How many drive, click and collect, fast delivery services have been launched in recent years? Removing these tasks perceived as chores by the client gives him time that he can then reinvest for something else.

While many brands have innovated in recent years, we are still at the beginning of this movement to remove time constraints. Thus, the spread of artificial intelligence will enable the development of automation and subscription services that are increasingly targeted. For its part, the deployment of 5G will encourage the deployment of new delivery methods recently perceived as simpes gadgets (drones, robots and autonomous vehicles).



46% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 16% in average) fully agree with “I need to be recognized in the eyes of others, feel valued, important, unique”.


The consumer sensitive to the ENHANCEMENT driver seeks above all to be recognized and treated by the whole as unique. At the heart of the consumption driver is therefore naturally the data and its exploitation.

Every day, the spread of new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, changes the relationship between the customer and the brand by making it ever more ambient. But it also makes the delay made by brands regarding the ENHANCEMENT driver even more glaring. In a world marked by immediacy, consumers increasingly want to be privileged, known and recognized. As such, loyalty programs still have a long way to go to, for example, rewarding the customer as soon as they cross the store’s threshold and not exclusively after they go to the checkout.

It is indeed a One-to-One relationship that the consumer now aspires to. He wants to benefit from benefits related to his consumption alone and not that of a customer segment determined by the sign. A number of brands have understood this, offering in-store facial recognition initiatives or benefits related to customer engagement with the brand.



52% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 29% in average) fully agree with “I need to have new experiences, to enjoy and be surprised“.


New, discovered or surprise… here are the words that best characterize the desires of customers influenced by the EXPERIENCE driver. Flagships, concept stores or other ephemeral stores are perfect illustrations of this expectation of renewal and re-enchantment of the relationship. However, be careful not to hastily summarize EXPERIENCE to simple one-off communication operations! The driver creates and strengthens the link between customer and brand. It is up to her to find a way to capture the attention of the consumer throughout her journey. EXPERIENCE can, for example, be used to surprise the consumer as he walks down the street to draw his gaze to the shop window to get him into the point of sale.

Similarly, in an ambient business, EXPERIENCE allows you to go beyond the moment of the transaction. It is by being present in the daily life of the consumer, whether or not it is a purchase project, that the driver gives all its power. Thanks to him, a complicity, a preference is created between customer and brand … enough to ensure a presence in mind and therefore a return to the brand in the medium term.



51% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 26% in average) fully agree with “I absolutely need to protect myself against everyday risks and to anticipate them”.


In an increasingly uncertain world, the consumer is constantly faced with multiple difficulties, material, professional or financial, … all sources of anxiety. Through the FORETHOUGHT driver, he seeks to live serenely, without stress, minimizing his feeling of insecurity. It is understandable that concerned about his future, his well-being and that of his loved ones, the client FORETHOUGHT logically has a much higher number of insurances than other consumers.

However, this driver should not be reduced hastily to the insurance and banking or even after-sales services. The Internet, search engines and artificial intelligence also work around FORETHOUGHT. If you have a question, you don’t have to delve into a dictionary or call friends. With a click, the customer simply gets his answer in the moment.

Thus, FORETHOUGHT goes further. By helping his client to keep a light mind and to go through the vagaries of everyday life, the brand mutates and transforms itself into a life coach and enters the daily life of the consumer. In fact, the brand evolves from a simple merchant role to a more complex life partner.



74% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 27% in average) fully agree with “I need to meet and discuss with others, by promoting togetherness”.


The consumer sensitive to the SOCIALIZATION driver is waiting for relationships, interactions, exchanges. He enjoys communicating with others without necessarily having to know them or physically associate them.

The explosion of social networks and instant messaging is a direct consequence of this driver. The Internet and, more generally, new information technologies offer consumers a playground that lives up to their ambitions. Social networks take a prominent place in his daily life, both personal and professional. Like WeChat, they are gradually becoming real e-commerce platforms.

But this need for relationship is also physical. This is what is at the heart of the store concepts launched in recent years. Going to the point of sale gives you the opportunity to meet, talk with other people. As a result, stores mutate. A supermarket becomes a canteen in the neighbourhood when, opposite, a café is installed on the shelves of a fashion brand and offers the customer a break during his shopping. SOCIALIZATION thus abolishes the traditional boundaries of trade.



49% of Belgians, French, Portuguese and Spanish (versus 16% in average) fully agree with “I need to consume less to preserve the plant and I’m ready to boycott non ethical brands“.


In an uncertain world where ecological and social crises are becoming ever more violent, the client-citizen sensitive to SUSTAINABILITY acts on the object of his consumption to be in tune with his values. This activist arbitrates in the sense of a positive, real and significant impact on the environment but also on society. With SUSTAINABILITY, he chooses short circuits, fights against programmed obsolescence or invests the second-hand market. In constant search of meaning, he chooses his consumption according to ethical and moral criteria. Concerned by major causes such as climate or inclusion, it favours concretely engaged brands. On the other hand, it is ready to boycott those that show shortcomings.

The goal is to ensure the best living together in a sustainable world!

For a brand, SUSTAINABILITY is a major challenge for a relationship of trust. Driven by civil society, brands must go beyond the simple transactional logic to accompany the project of a world where all actors are empowered. From the brand committed to the company with a legitimate mission, the small, coherent steps put end to end make the difference: fighting waste, pollution, offering seasonal fruits and vegetables, respecting the animal cause, … They offer a new playing field for a consumer and a consumer finally annoyed.

Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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