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2007 Was the Year of the "Omni Consumer" According to IBM Analysis


Extensive global research of more than 16,900 consumers conducted throughout 2007 by IBM’s business think-tank, the Institute for Business Value (NYSE: IBM), shows consumers flexed their power and control over businesses and institutions in dramatic new ways this year.
IBM calls this new breed of consumer the “Omni Consumer,” and they are skeptical, empowered and more connected than ever -- with sophisticated technologies at their fingertips. From shopping to healthcare, entertainment, personal finance or energy use, the Omni Consumer emerged as a force in 2007, demanding knowledge of products’ impact on individuals, society and the environment.

NEWS FACTS -- IBM Consumer Survey 2007 Highlights

Health & Environment
Eroding Trust in Food Safety: Nearly 70 percent of consumers express low overall trust in the claims by branded food products regarding environmental impact, health and wellness. Nearly half of consumers are more concerned about food safety and nearly two of every five consumers said they buy different brands due to these concerns.

Majority Consider the Environmental Impact of Purchases: Seventy percent of the consumers IBM surveyed said environmental considerations were already an important factor in choosing products other than energy.

Canadians Fearful Poor Air Quality is Affecting Their Health: Forty percent of Canadians feel their health has been affected by poor air quality and most feel the government is not doing enough to fix the problem. The national survey also found 12 percent of Canadians think soil contamination, and 11 percent of Canadians think poor drinking water quality has negatively affected their health.

Internet and Social Networks Influencing Buying Decisions: Fifty-three percent of consumers used the Internet to compare features and prices among retailers in the 2006 holiday season. Two-third of teens surveyed said they use cell phones to text friends while shopping for input, and 25 percent accessed the Internet from a mobile device while in a store. One in ten consumers reached out to friends and family via text message while shopping to get input.

Increasing Interest in Doing It Themselves: A U.S. consumer survey showed 50 percent growth in the use of self-service technology in the past year, with 70 percent of respondents saying they expect businesses to offer more self-service options. The most stated reasons for using self-service were access to information and services outside of normal business hours, less time standing in line, ease-of-use, and greater privacy for certain transactions.

Personal Internet Time Rivals TV Time: Sixty-six percent of global consumers view from one to four hours of TV per day, versus 60 percent who reported the same levels of personal Internet usage. 19 percent of consumers spend six hours or more per day of personal Internet time, versus nine percent who report the same levels of TV viewing. Traditional TV is on the decline as consumers’ primary media device as they turn to online destinations like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, games, or mobile entertainment.

Personal Finance
Americans Don’t Feel Valued By their Banks: Two-thirds of U.S. banking customers don’t feel valued by their banks and are unwilling to commit to a deeper relationship. Only 36 percent of customers indicated bank employees listen to their needs and follow up with them.

Insured Americans are Loyal to their Agents: U.S. consumers want personalized service and human interaction from their insurance providers. Three-quarters of consumers are satisfied with their agent’s service and remain committed to working with them in the future.

Despite Customer Loyalty, Insurers are Failing to Connect: Less than half of U.S. insurance customers are informed about new products or services, and 57 percent said insurance policies are not tailored to meet their needs.

Consumers Will Pay More for Environmentally Friendly Energy Options: A global IBM survey found that two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for power sources that emit lower greenhouse gas emissions. Also, most consumers want the option to choose their electric or gas utility provider (83 percent of those surveyed), but the majority reported either they cannot or do not know they can.

Quotes, Attributable to Peter J. Korsten, vice president and global leader, IBM Institute of Business Value
“Through our research into consumers’ lives, we’ve overturned many of businesses’ traditional assumptions about consumers. People simply want more choice about the type of products and services they consume, whether it is energy, entertainment, or their insurance policy. Consumers have more control over what, where and when they buy than ever before.”

“Looking ahead to 2008, businesses must restore consumer confidence and demonstrate their commitment to transparency. A one size fits all approach is history for those who want to emerge as winners in the minds and wallets of the Omni Consumer.”

“IBM is focused on helping our clients in every industry evolve their business models to deal with today’s sophisticated and connected consumer. Leveraging our deep expertise and understanding of the Omni Consumer, IBM can help companies build the deeper relationships required to turn customers into advocates.”

About the IBM Institute for Business Value
The IBM Institute for Business Value provides strategic insights and recommendations that address critical business challenges to help clients capitalize on new opportunities. The Institute is comprised of consultants around the world who conduct research and analysis in 17 industries and across five functional disciplines, including human capital management, financial management, corporate strategy, supply chain management and customer relationship management. For more information on IBM, please visit:

Editorial Notes:
IBM also spoke with people in a Connecticut mall to ask them what it means to be an Omni Consumer. To see what they told us, visit these two You Tube links:


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