THE CONSUMER IN THE CRISIS
The financial crisis revealed to the world in the summer of 2007 reached its peak in the autumn of 2008 and was the cause of the economic crisis in 2009 and sparked the budgetary crisis in 2010. In 2009, the effects of the “the most severe and synchronised international recession in the post-war period” were experienced in Portugal resulting in a sharp fall in foreign demand for Portuguese companies, restricted access to credit and increasing uncertainty. The GDP fell 2.7% recording the most negative variation since 1975.
Most Portuguese had not yet felt it in their pockets, but the uncertainty was already influencing behaviour, where private consumption registered the first fall since 2003. In the year it was founded, C-Lab, anticipating a long period of major economic turmoil, proposed researching the Consumer in the Crisis.
This study saw the birth of a new awareness regarding consumption; it saw consumers awakening to “good deals” and to the urgent need for saving; it saw that consumers were trying out new offsets for non-consumption and forecast the adjustments that would follow.
REDESIGNING THE BUYING PROCESS
Determining the times when brands can most influence consumers’ decisions to buy, has shown itself to be a growing challenge in a buying process that is increasingly less linear and more atypical.
Driving the evolution of this buying process are consumers who have more options and information. The Internet, social media, the proliferation of supply and the new mechanisms for loyalty, advertising and payment are the new data with which we can and must play.
C-Lab redesigned the buying process, by creating what it called the C Consumer Cycle. This should be seen as an extended process, which also includes the time after making the purchase as a key moment of actually using the product, formulating and sharing opinions.
THE CONSUMER IN LARGE NUMBERS – REFLECTION OF A CHANGING SOCIETY
The analysis of the socioeconomic context of the country is paramount for a proper understanding of consumers, their behaviour and expectations.
During the year C was set up and as a complement to the work undertaken, we intend to share the figures that show the evolution of society or somehow portray its particular nature. A contribution towards a broader reflection on the reality of the people and of families, without the ambition of exploring each of the themes in detail.
This was a project that resulted in the compilation of generic figures, dispersed across countless sources, but the aggregation of which we considered to be relevant in the process of understanding the consumer.