What’s happening to consumer empowerment?
Last year the trend in consumer empowerment seemed unstoppable. Where is it headed this year? My thoughts on empowerment last year were the following:
Internet and mobility are converging. Information will play an even bigger role in how we perceive reality. New interaction solutions will embed information into our perception of the world.
An opportunity to deeply share context becomes possible. We will see the rise of solutions that coach consumers to attain their desired goals (ethical or otherwise). Context sharing will also reinforce the value of social networks. They will become the next platform for communication, information, entertainment and commerce needs. This will make it evermore difficult for businesses to charge for these services. Thus, businesses will give them away for free and instead become brokers of attention and reputation. They will make money from supporting each other to empower diverse social networks.
Consumers will also become empowered to manufacture for themselves. With rapid manufacturing technologies consumers will be able to invent new products and give them unimaginable forms.
Out of these developments a new more equalitarian relationship between consumers and businesses will emerge.
This year, with businesses downsizing and politician seeming ever more incompetent at solving societal polarization, consumer empowerment is changing course. In some ways it is speeding up and in others it is slowing down. Technologically driven empowerment is sure to be delayed. However, people’s desire to have more control over how they consume has grown. Prepare for an explosion in social innovation: new uses for old technology serving societal needs.