Everything You Need to Know About Living in Austin, Texas

Learn everything you wanted to know about what makes Austin, Texas weird from the people that call it home. Download our Austin, TX research report to review all of the details.

Introduction

The capital city of Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the seat of Travis County.  Located nearly in the center of the state, Austin is about three hours south of Dallas; three hours west of Houston; and about 90 minutes north of San Antonio.

Experiencing a population growth of 34.1% between 2007 and 2017, the Austin region is one of the fastest-growing in the country  Austin has been the fastest-growing major metro in the country for nine straight years, from 2010 to 2019. The metro population jumped to an estimated 2.2 million people as of July 1, 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. That is an increase of 2.8% from the prior year, bigger than any other metro with at least 1 million residents. That’s 169 people added every day, on average.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of 2.2 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the median age in Austin is 34.7 years. Of Austin’s population aged over 25, 44.8% have a Bachelor’s Degree. Leading the US in tech salary growth, it’s the number four city tech workers would consider moving to.

Austin’s laid-back, take-it-or-leave-it kind of attitude matches well with its fun and “weird” culture, celebrated on bumper stickers and T-shirts with the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

“Everyone is welcome and has a place somewhere here. And it just makes it such a unique place because you just never know who you’re gonna meet or what experience you’re going to have just ‘cause there’s so many different things.”

Jamie E, 38

Austin Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Austin is popular with younger residents with middle to upper household incomes. These Austinites love the convenience of being just blocks from shopping on Congress Avenue, live music venues on 6th Street, and even some great parks, hiking, and biking along the Colorado River. 
  • Across the Colorado River from Downtown Austin sits South Austin, where young, artsy types congregate. Barton Heights offers great family areas, while Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek attract mainly hip, liberal Austinites.
  • North and Northwest Austin include Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander, which attract a lot of families. The Leander is an award-winning school district, and Apple and Dell have large operations in the area. North Austin also has some great luxury apartments. These fast-growing Austin neighborhoods are popular with families.
  • West Austin has some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, such as Westlake Hills and Steiner Ranch. The commute into town is a bit longer than in other areas of Austin, but residents are closer to Lake Travis and the great outdoors. Neighborhoods Oak Hill and Circle C Ranch are further south.
  • Although East Austin used to be considered the poorest part of the city, the area is now mostly a hipster neighborhood with many sleek, modern developments. 
  • Southeast Austin is home to a lot of University of Texas students, likely because of the large numbers of apartments and other rental properties in the area.

“I am in a tiny house in East Austin. With three dogs – I have two Huskies and a mix. You’d be surprised the people who to live in the tiny houses where I’m at.”

Shelly S, 42

Doing Business in Austin

The Austin region offers businesses deep talent, education, quality healthcare, telecommunications, and a modern, international airport.  The major employers include: Amazon, AMD, Apple, Charles Schwab, Dell, General Motors, IBM, Intel, National Instruments, Samsung, Tesla, VISA, and Whole Foods.

Key Industries include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Technology
  • Creative & Digital Media Technology
  • Data Management
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Life Sciences
  • Space Technology

The growth isn’t slowing down any time soon. The new Tesla Gigafactory, set to be located in eastern Travis County, will be one of the world’s largest and most advanced automotive plants and will bring an estimated $1 billion in capital investment to the region.

In addition to being home to tech giants, Austin has a thriving startup scene. Austin area startups attracted $2.2 billion across 263 venture deals in 2019. Startups account for a larger share of businesses in Austin than in nearly all major US metros and Austin ranks 6th for new businesses per 1,000 population.

“A couple of my friends work at Google and Facebook and they’re always saying so many people are moving in. I would say those apartment complexes are definitely to cater to people like that. Cause it’s like the new hub.”

Madison P, 28

The Cost of Living in Austin

Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. Texas features no personal or corporate income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the US.

According to Austin’s Chamber of Commerce, the cost of living is 2% lower than the national average.

Austin Apartment Costs

Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Austin than most similar cities. The median two-bedroom rent of $1,450 is above the national average of $1,193. The city’s median one-bedroom rent is $1,175. While rents in Austin fell moderately over the past year (-0.6%), many cities nationwide saw slight increases (+0.2%). 

According to RENTCafé, these 5 Austin neighborhoods offer a good selection of rental apartments, unique dining, shopping, atmosphere, walkability, and a sense of community:

  • Downtown Austin (average rent $2,200/mo)
  • Central Austin ($2,100/mo)
  • Clarksville, between downtown and the MoPac Expressway ($2,100/mo)
  • Zilker, South Austin ($1,400/mo)
  • Travis Heights, South Austin ($1,400/mo)

What Austin Renters Want

No two renters are the same but many Austin renters are consistently seeking features and amenities. Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property: 

  • Convenient Location – People want to live, work, and play in a geographically convenient circle. If your multifamily property is located near the University of Texas, show how it’s a convenient walk to campus to appeal to professors, graduate students, and staff. Similarly, if you have property near the new Apple campus, play up this proximity and go after Apple employees.
  • Pet-Friendly – The American Veterinary Association estimates that 50 percent of renters have pets and that 3 out of 10 renters without pets would have pets if their landlords allowed it. Allowing pets in your multifamily property opens up your prospective pool of renters and provides you with a competitive edge.
  • Key Appliances – Renters are on the lookout for properties that have garbage disposals, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. In higher-end rentals targeted at tech industry workers, potential residents may expect smart thermostats and TVs.
  • Connectivity – Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. Ninety-one percent of renters say reliable cell reception is important, and 44 percent say they won’t rent without reliable cell service.
  • Outdoor Living – One of the bigger benefits of living in Austin is the ability to enjoy warm water all year round. Tenants respond positively to multifamily properties that offer outdoor living space such as balconies, patios, or decks.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment

The city’s official slogan promotes Austin as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the city’s many musicians and live music venues. It’s also home to events like Austin City Limits and SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive.

Instead of the flat terrain common to most of the state, visitors are greeted with stunning vistas, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Austin’s natural setting, in one of America’s most unique landscapes, offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for fitness, recreation, and relaxation.

Austin has a reputation as one of the nation’s fittest cities, since there’s plenty to do outside to stay fit and enjoy an active lifestyle in the area’s mostly temperate climate. 

Ask any Austinite about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to roller derby to cycling to kayaking. Austin is also home to many sports teams including:

  • Austin Spurs: NBA D-League Basketball Team
  • Round Rock Express: AAA Baseball Team
  • Texas Stars: AHL Ice Hockey Team
  • Texas Longhorns: Big 12 Conference College Sports
  • Austin FC (2021): Major League Soccer
  • Austin Bold: United Soccer League
  • Circuit of the Americas: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, INDYCAR Challenge, MotoGP
  • Austin Herd: Major League Rugby

“The music scene is one of the things that was appealing to my husband and me when we moved here. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Every single weekend there is live music from local folks and from up and coming artists from around the country. And it is every type of genre that you can think of – from rap to alternative to bluegrass country. It is really culturally diverse.”

Theresa M, 39

Read the full research report: Austin, TX research. We interviewed Austin, Texas residents to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

A Serious Consumer Insights Perspective on Silly Content

Marketing levity for consumer insights marketing: Humor can help mitigate bad press, explain serious issues, and of course, attract a willing audience.

During these days of rising health, political, and economic concerns, plenty of people can use a laugh. As many respectable and completely serious doctors and scientists have done before, Clarity Clinic even says that humor can provide good medicine for mental and physical health issues. Perhaps, that makes this the perfect time for a little media levity, even to address very serious topics.

With that in mind, gain some perspective from a consumer insights company to see how adding a bit of levity to marketing content can help attract an audience and even improve a brand’s reputation.

How a consumer insights company treats humor as serious business

A company like Netflix doesn’t just offer marketing content; for them, content provides the basis for their entire business model. Some people may find it surprising that a show like “The Floor is Lava” has even trended to the top for popularity in the U.S. market. On the other hand, even Mashable TV critics praised the show for offering some levity and fun during 2020, a year when many people have found little to celebrate.

Using humor to take the edge off of poor PR events

From the view of a consumer behavior analysis agency, some companies have done very well incorporating jokes, even in the face of poor PR. Take a look at an example of the great KFC chicken debacle. Apparently, KFC changed suppliers, and ensuing problems resulted in chicken shortages that even led to a number of store closings.

In those pre-pandemic times of just last year, it was always easy to buy such staples as toilet paper and chicken. Nobody ever thought twice about eating inside a KFC, rather than using the drive-through. Thus, consumers expressed outrage when they could not immediately dine on their favorite meal in 2018.

In response, KFC took out plenty ads to apologize to their loyal and hungry fans. Instead of printing KFC on the image of a bucket of chicken, they rearranged the numbers to spell FCK. According to The Drum, the naughty humor worked because the public appeared to forgive them. Their ads and images even went viral on social sites. A marketing and consumer behavior analysis agency named Mother came up with this effective strategy, which also generated quite a bit of positive attention for them.

Can humor always take the edge off of PR disasters or other serious matters?

Obviously, KFC’s mistake pales when compared to some other PR disasters. For instance, an audience personas agency probably would never have suggested that Equifax try to use humor to cope with their massive data breach. Consumer insight marketing professionals should think about the audience before they suggest the right tactic to take for different types of problems or errors.

On the other hand, marketers can find examples of businesses using humor to address very serious issues. As am example, Melbourne’s Metro released a “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign to help promote safety and reduce the number of accidents. The videos ended up with a greater number of views than the amount of people that even live in the whole country of Australia. According to their media staff, they wanted a way to educate their community about safety without turning them off.

As another example, Burger King used a humorous video to educate the public about their company stance on the serious issue of net neutrality. After they interviewed average people, they found that most internet users really did not understand the idea behind the controversy. Thus, they used a humorous video that showed the order taker giving higher priority to people who paid more for their Whopper than those who paid the regular place, which they equated to internet providers throttling bandwidth for some websites but not others.

The pros and cons of using humor to grow a marketing audience

Marketers may sometimes use humor to help address very serious issues, as discussed above. Used right, funny content can work just as well for everyday marketing too. With that in mind, consider some benefits of employing humor to help grow an audience for marketing campaigns:

  • Attention grabbing and relatable: Consumers get bombarded with lots of ads for companies that want to sell them something, and they may pay attention to and even care more about a company that makes them laugh too.
  • Memorable: Studies have linked humor with better recall, so any company that wants people to remember their name might earn the privilege with some levity.
  • Often share-worthy: Internet users like to share funny videos, quotes, and memes and may feel less inclined to simply share an ordinary advertisement.

On the other hand, businesses need to avoid certain pitfalls that almost all comedians have fallen into at some point. They should remain wary of giving offense, appearing amateurish, or simply not landing their joke. As in the case of Equifax, for example, plenty of comedians may have joked about them, but they wisely decided not to choose that exact time to laugh at themselves.

Why consult a consumer behavior analysis agency about humor in marketing?

Mark Twain called referred to humor as mankind’s greatest blessing. Particularly during stressful times, a bit of levity can lighten up many heavy loads. By expertly incorporating a funny scenario or even a self-effacing joke into marketing campaigns, businesses can gain more attention and in many cases, even do their target audience a favor.

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CPG Brands: Who Makes Household Decisions in Families?

When it comes to CPG brands, determining the likely marketing audience should be listed at the top of any marketing plan. Find out who decides what to buy.

As one of the first steps to develop a marketing plan, a CPG marketing agency will conduct audience research. Obviously, they need to learn as much as they can about the behavior and demographics of consumers who they might attract to their products.

If these products appeal to couples of families, the business should determine which member of the household typically makes buying decisions about CPG products. That way, they will know how to effectively target the other steps in their marketing campaign.

What CPG marketing agency research reveals about household decision makers for CPG brands

Of course, consumer packaged goods come from multiple industries. They can range from pet food to coffee to stockings. Few household members make 100 percent of the decisions about which products or brands to buy. Still, it’s no surprise to see a study on Chain Store Age that found women, typically mothers, make most of the buying choices in average, two-parent families.

Some interesting results from this study found:

  • In a typical, traditional family, Mom usually chooses what to buy. Though fathers have recently grown more involved in household purchase decisions, mothers still make most of these choices in 80 percent of families.
  • Still, men have grown more involved in the CPG-shopping process lately. Lately, moms make about two-thirds of the household decisions, compared to about 80 percent in the past.

Of course, men tend to make certain kinds of decisions for some CPG products more than women do. For instance, in most traditional families, expect more men than women to buy goods for lawn maintenance and home repair. They’re also slightly more likely to choose items related to autos and tech than they are for more general products.

Women made almost always made choices about children’s clothes or toys. In some areas, men and women tend to share buying decisions equally. These include products related to entertainment, furnishings, and appliances.

Who buys the groceries?

While consumer packaged goods can cover a lot of different areas, people often associate them with items found at the grocery store. Some obvious examples include peanut butter, soap, and coffee. At least in traditional families, Pew Research found that women do at least 80 percent of both the cooking and the shopping.

That’s true if a couple has children or not. Couples have started sharing more household chores than they did in the past. At the same time, women usually buy and prepare food most of the time. Pew Research also mentioned that women tend to spend less time doing paid jobs than men do, so that may account for some of the imbalance when it comes to grocery trips and food preparation.

Who should a consumer package goods agency target?

Of course, it’s impossible to offer a one-size-fit-all answer for all kinds of CPG products. Also, even in cases where one gender or another tended to make some kinds of choices more often, they did not always make them and also probably made some purchases because of influence of the other partner.

After all, if a husband expresses a preference for a certain brand of salad dressing or pickles, his wife will probably remember that on her next trip to the supermarket. Similarly, if children ask for a certain kind of socks or a new video game, that request may eventually lead to an adult purchase decision.

Even 10 years ago, AdAge promoted the idea that CPG companies should target men more. Even if surveys show that women tend to make two-thirds of household decisions, that still leaves one-third of purchase choices to men. AdAge also pointed out that even though women still do most of the shopping, men do more of it than they used to do. Even a smaller share of a market could add up to a growth opportunity for some CPG companies.

Why do marketers need to know who tends to choose their types of product?

Marketers need to define their audience before they can make good choices about a number of other factors in their marketing plan. These can range from the platforms used for marketing to the color of the product packaging.

Consider these examples:

  • Crazy Egg revealed that women like blue, purple, and green the most, but they tend not to prefer gray, orange, and brown as much. In contrast, men also like blue and green, but they also tend to gravitate to black. Men also tend to dislike orange and brown, but they shy away from purple.
  • Men and women both use social sites, still they may tend to favor different kinds of platforms. For instance, expect to find more women on sites like Pinterest and Facebook and more men on more discussion-oriented sites like Reddit.

No consumer package goods agency can generalize about exactly which gender or member of the family makes all the household decisions about CPG brands. This can also vary quite a bit for different types of products, and not all families have the traditional mom, dad, and kids. Still, determining their most likely customers will make plenty of other marketing decisions easier for CPG brands.

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Get to Know Your Customers with Consumer Insights Marketing

Consumer insights marketing can help you understand your audience’s motivation, perspective, and behavior so you can discover more opportunities.

As a business owner, you probably think you know your customers pretty well. You might be right, but these days, you need to go beyond some general demographics in order to obtain true consumer insights. Beyond the likely age, gender, or even actions of current or future customers, you will benefit by digging deeper into the motivation, perspective, and information that drives their behavior.  Find out how consumer insight marketing can yield surprising information and even better, great results.

Why focus upon consumer insights marketing?

In an era when a consumer’s experience with a company outweighs the products they offer, attention to consumer insight marketing will help you connect with customers. For example, you may have some idea that your customers mostly base their purchase decisions upon such objective and obvious measures as product quality and price.

Deloitte, a prominent consumer insights company, ran a large survey in the US, UK, Brazil, and China for 2020. According to their consumer behavior analysis, a sizable percentage of respondents said they considered these measures when deciding which business to buy from:

  • How businesses treat employees: 28 percent
  • How businesses treat the environment: 22 percent
  • How businesses treat their communities: 19 percent

For your own business, your customer base may vary somewhat. On the other hand, knowing that about 20 percent of your customers want to patronize companies that care about their employees, the environment, and their community could certainly inform your marketing. For example, you might focus upon social posts and ads that introduce enthusiastic employees or highlight your contribution to worthy causes.

In fact, consumer insights marketing may have even more importance than it did only a year ago. Deloitte noted that they ran a similar survey in 2019. At that point, their consumer insights found that most customers still cared about price and quality the most. This year’s survey found that 55 percent of consumers think businesses have a responsibility to support issues that relate to their purpose.

Deloitte concluded that companies that fail to demonstrate they align with consumer motivations risk getting displaced by businesses that do a better job.  On the other hand, understanding and aligning with their customer’s point of view gives businesses an advantage of competition.

How consumer insights marketing will help your business compete

As a real-world example, Unilever has 28 brands they market as good choices for people interested in sustainable living. These include such well-known names as Lipton, Dove, and Vaseline. Considered sustainable-living products, they deliver the bulk of Unilever’s revenue and also have enjoyed more rapid growth than the company’s other brands.

Such items as tea, soap, and petroleum jelly appear pretty interchangeable, but Unilever did a good job of differentiating them as sustainable in order to grow its market share. Certainly, consumers still care about price and quality; however, in a crowded market, knowing what extra factors will prompt customers to favor one company over another can make all the difference.

How to gather consumer insights

By now, you might wonder how you can possibly start to understand your customer’s motivations and perceptions. If you lack the time or training, you can find market research services that offer affordable packages for all sizes and kinds of businesses. The smaller and newer your company, the more valuable you may find this sort of help.

On the other hand, you can begin by studying general consumer behavior analysis, such as that provided by the Deloitte survey mentioned above. Even better, you should start to monitor your own customers on social media or offer surveys. If you’re starting a new business, you may not have many customers yet. At the same time, you can try to peek at your potential competitors’ customers to understand why they buy from other businesses.

You might also try setting up a booth at a trade show or local event. Not only will this give you a chance to introduce more people to your brand, you will also have the opportunity to meet the kinds of people who have an interest in the products or services that you offer. Start conversations with people, so that you can learn what motivated them to make similar purchases in the past and could prompt them to buy from you in the future.

Why start investing in consumer insights today?

In any case, you should know that consumer insights marketing has become more than just the latest marketing term. No matter what you sell, you can’t assume that price and quality completely drive customer behavior. In fact, the more you know about your customer’s motivations to prefer one company over another, the less you may need to compete on price.

In fact, getting customers to identify with your company in positive ways is a type of marketing that money almost can’t buy. On the other hand, you can achieve that beneficial status if you invest in consumer behavior analysis and work to always view your business through your customers’ eyes. In any case, if you thought that all of your customers were simply getting online compare prices, you should be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can find other ways to earn their business. You just need to figure out how to do it, and that’s exactly why you need consumer insights.

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Know Your Audience with Persona Development

You may think that you already know your target marketing audience, but without persona development, you may be shooting in the dark.

It’s marketing 101: The first step to effective branding and advertising is knowing your audience. And there is no better way to fully understand your audience than a well-crafted buyer persona.

Forbes Magazine Councils Member and contributing writer Jon Simpson defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional characters that personify your ideal customer” and called them “imperative to having accurate audience insights.”

Many business leaders deem the development of buyer personas superfluous, overconfident in their natural ability to connect with existing and prospective customers. But without comprehensive and effective persona development, critical misjudgments can easily occur. And these misjudgments can make the ultimate difference between success and failure.

The benefits of persona development

It is essential for brand strategy experts and content marketers to draft and refine effective buyer personas. No matter how busy they happen to be and how anxious they are to get on to the content creation stages of marketing campaign development process, they absolutely must make time for this key preparatory measure.

Persona development gives direction and focus to all of your marketing efforts by providing a single audience template that everyone in your organization can use when developing overall marketing strategy and spearheading specific advertising efforts. As the independent content marketing resource Content Marketing Institute puts it, “Documenting your personas, even if done quickly, is key to keeping everybody focused on the same audience.”

Persona development is particularly useful for companies with multiple stakeholders and/or team members who hold decidedly different opinions when it comes to marketing and branding strategies. By determining buyer personas that epitomize target audiences as a whole, companies can not only structure a unified marketing vision, but make all narratives involving company brand and products/services far more compelling, memorable, and ultimately effective.

From your official website and social media pages to your traditional and digital advertising efforts, all elements of your marketing outreach can (and probably will be) refined and optimized to meet the specific wants and needs of your audience as you identify them. However, by creating clearly defined buyer personas ahead of time, you can avoid the tremendous amount of time and monetary expense that go hand in hand with major redesign and redevelopment.

How to develop an effective buyer persona

Although even a rudimentary buyer persona is better than no buyer persona at all, it goes without saying that putting more forethought and care into the persona development process will inevitably yield better results. For this reason, organizations that are serious about marketing and branding success typically employ the help of a specialized persona development agency when engaging in this process.

The Content Marketing Institute breaks the development of an effective buyer persona into five practical steps. Keep in mind that each of these steps is an involved process in and of itself, requiring significant data gathering and analysis using modalities that range from general market research to customer/prospective customer interviews and surveys.

Step 1: Visualize the ideal customer.

Through extensive research, analysis, and projection, develop a single fictional customer who represents your target audience as a whole. For optimum results, go far beyond basic demographics such as gender and income level to examine the details of this customer’s professional and personal life.

Step 2: Consider that customer’s applicable wants and needs.

What are the common objectives and responsibilities of your ideal customer? What obstacles might stand in his or her way?

Step 3: Characterize that customer’s role in relation to the purchase of products and/or services.

What form does your ideal customer’s buying process take? What questions is that customer likely to ask before making a purchase?

Step 4: Consider that customer’s communication preferences.

What media channels does your ideal customer use on a regular basis? Where does he or she go to get information?

Step 5: Marry your buyer persona insights to your strategic company goals.

A great way to do this is to craft one or more engagement scenarios that take buyer personas through various prospective consumer interactions with your company.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the benefits of persona development and/or get professional assistance with the persona development process, contact a skilled and knowledgeable representative of Bigeye today. If you are looking for a persona development agency with vision, we’d love to show you what we have to offer.

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Connecting the Dots: The Trends That Will Shape 2020

Making predictions is a risky business. In 1994, the Rand Corporation — a famous quasi-governmental think tank long-celebrated for their strategic prognostication — confidently predicted the following:

“During the 21st century, those houses that don’t have a robot in the broom closet could have a live-in ape to do the cleaning and gardening chores. Also, the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents.”

While selectively breeding an army of highly intelligent ape butlers and chauffeurs might seem ridiculous to those of us living in 2019, it probably seemed semi-plausible then — and that’s the risk that comes with forecasting. However, when you’re right, the payoff can be immense. If you can predict what’s next, you can position yourself (or your organization) to profit from this shift before it occurs.

That brings us to the subject of this piece: “Connecting the Dots: Consumer Trends That Will Shape 2020.”

What We’ve Learned By Connecting the Dots

Recently released to the public, “Connecting the Dots” is a research and forecasting document compiled by GlobalWebIndex. The report, which is produced annually, offers a valuable window into technology, society and marketing.

For pure prognostication, GlobalWebIndex has a reasonably strong record. In last year’s report, it was predicted that e-sports would finally enter the mainstream. 2019 subsequently saw 50% year-over-year growth in e-sports, the Fortnite World Cup and top e-sports stars appearing on famous late night talk shows. Last year’s report also perceptively noted the continuing trend of social media becoming less social and more utilitarian, as platforms such as Instagram and Facebook become closer to one-stop-shops for consumer needs.

So what does the latest version of the report predict for the upcoming year? Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most relevant predictions offered in the report.

The Emergence of Online, On-Demand Healthcare

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if booking a physician’s appointment was as simple as booking a ride with Uber? That’s the future we’re hurtling toward, as AI and telehealth begin to augment — and in some cases replace — conventional primary care.

Today’s AI-powered health offerings are a far cry from the limited telehealth patient sessions of a few years ago. Healthcare operators are also taking things a step further by combining telehealth services with mobile clinics and pop ups. By marrying the two approaches, providers can offer the same suite of services found in any brick and mortar doctor’s office, yet in a far more accessible way.

The public interest is certainly there. According to “Connecting the Dots”:

“Our global research reveals 36% of consumers are using the internet to research health issues and healthcare products, jumping up to 42% for users aged 55-64, where a focus on health becomes even more crucial.”

The study also found that:

  • 75% of consumers use the Internet to research which medications to purchase
  • Half of consumers say that video physician consults will help them manage their health more effectively
  • 70% are willing to make their health data accessible via smartphone

In a world that’s conditioned to expect on-demand services — and where access to healthcare remains an intractable problem — this is one projection that seems almost certain to be realized.

Privacy and Cashless Societies

In some ways, privacy has become almost a quaint notion in the digital era. We trail streams of data as we navigate our phones and the web — much the same way that city buses trail exhaust fumes. Every follow, like or page visit is duly recorded and used to optimize our marketing and ad profiles.

This hyper-transparency has been largely shielded from two key areas, however: Medical records and financial data. Both areas are regulated to varying degrees. Yet our daily financial transactions could soon be subject to the same level of transparency as our daily web browsing.

That’s because digital currencies are on the rise. Bitcoin, Facebook’s Project Libra and efforts by China to develop a national digital currency all differ in some key regards. Yet they all share one characteristic: Anyone using these coins/tokens will have their transactions recorded on a public and immutable ledger. That’s the nature of blockchain technology.

While there are so-called privacy coins that obscure transaction history, these offerings are not likely to see the wide consumer adoption associated with a Facebook cryptocurrency or a state-sponsored digital asset.

For those invested in privacy, things aren’t completely dire. The European Union has introduced the world’s strongest digital privacy protections — laws that give consumers much more control over how their data is harvested and used. Yet in a world that is quickly going cashless, maintaining financial privacy may soon become a much more difficult challenge.

A Mediated Existence

Just how mediated through technology have our daily lives become? Consider this: The average person, globally, spends almost seven hours per day online. As companies and industries pursue greater degrees of digitalization, it is only a matter of time before seven hours seem like an exercise in restraint.

Given how much of our lives are now lived online, is it truly possible to detach? Have we lost the ability to prioritize the human touch without sacrificing convenience?

According to “Connecting the Dots,” many people now fear the answer is a resounding “no.” The number of people who report that technology complicates their lives, or who report being constantly connected online, continues to rise each year.

These concerns are shared by the people who seemingly know best: Silicon Valley CEOs and developers. Over the last year, we’ve seen repeated articles in the press about “dopamine fasts” and “technology detoxes.” Many tech leaders have mentioned that they strictly regulate screen time for their own children.

The scale and rapidity of the “tech takeover” of modern society is astonishing, if you take a moment to place it in context. A generation ago, personal computers cost thousands of dollars, had limited utility and were not owned by most households. Tech, in general, was not a lifestyle, except for hard core enthusiasts. 

While increasing computing power and the birth of the Internet ignited the consumer tech takeover, it wasn’t until little more than a decade ago — with the development of social media and the smartphone — that we truly began to live mediated existences. In fact, we’ve hurdled headlong into a radical societal shift, in a very brief period of time, without any real idea about the consequences.

Politicians have become aware of this anti-tech sentiment. Several US senators have urged social media platforms to take steps to make their products less compulsively engaging, claiming that the current paradigm is bad for the mental health of heavy users.

“Connecting the Dots” makes the case that while the tech takeover may be in full flight, human concern about (and opposition to) our new reality will only get stronger.

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Bigeye is a leading creative agency based in Orlando, Florida. We help clients create marketing campaigns that are driven by exceptional creative work, domain expertise and sophisticated technological tools. For more inspired reading, visit our Insights page.

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