This week, we look back on a turbulent year in the field of consumer behaviour. In 2021, the Consumer Behaviour Monitor revealed interesting shifts in media use. Health, sustainability and corona remained key themes for brand communication, but consumers are now becoming a little corona tired. In this post, we also take a look at the future, focusing on the financial industry. 

Almost half of Dutch people have no financial good intentions
Good intentions are inextricably linked to the start of a new year. During this pandemic, we monitor changes in spending behaviour and expenditures, so for this edition we went in search of financial good intentions. In the new year, many Dutch people resolve to save money. Three in ten Dutch people want to save for the future; one in five put money aside for a buffer. An equally large group wants to live more frugally, i.e. to save money. In addition, 13% would like to have an overview of their income and expenditure, and 12% would like to check whether their insurances are still appropriate. A smaller group wants to start investing (9%), pay off (study) debts (6%) or change banks (4%).

Yet almost half of the Dutch (44%) have no financial resolutions for the new year at all. For finance marketers, there is an opportunity to communicate the benefits of a clear financial future with associated planning, in order to avoid (ugly) surprises. In addition, they can make strides by making everything about this topic as understandable as possible and removing as many barriers as possible. Insurer Aegon is already doing the necessary by profiling itself by thinking ahead ("Think ahead. Think Aegon"). The fact that the average Dutch person does not like to talk about financial matters makes that challenging. How do you use communication to create urgency about something that is almost impossible to talk about?

Marcel van Brenk, partner at EY VODW: "Financial service providers are faced with a fundamental consideration, the central question being: "What ambition do I have to play a role in the lives of consumers?" It is a diabolical dilemma. If they become irrelevant, they lose the customer relationship and the underlying source of value, the customer data. They are then increasingly forced to focus on a more marginal role in the value chain as a transaction machine or a risk bearer. On the other hand, building a truly relevant customer relationship requires a substantial investment, which is not always easy to calculate in the short term, but can prove to be a winning strategy in the longer term.

Shifts in the media landscape, especially among young people
By 2021, media use will have changed considerably. We monitor the shifts in media use from March 2021 onwards. Of all media types, the group that uses Facebook at least once a week has declined the most (-6%). It is possible that the blows that Facebook took in the past year have been reflected in its use. Twitter has experienced the largest growth in the past year: the group that uses Twitter at least once a week has increased by 6%.

Especially among Dutch people between 18 and 34 years of age, we see large increases in the use of certain channels. The group that uses Twitter at least once a week has increased by 15%, TikTok by 12% and podcasts by 12%. Almost half (44%) currently listen to podcasts at least once a week. In particular, the group that listens 1-2 times a week has increased (+8%), but there is also clear growth in the group that listens to podcasts 3 times a week or more (+4%). Podcasts do not yet seem to have penetrated to all age groups: among the total target group, 21% listen to a podcast at least once a week, a growth of only 1%. After the shift from linear television to streaming services, the shift from radio to podcast platforms now seems to have begun. How do you stand out in a sea of content?" is an important question in the world of podcasts. Because podcasts offer a wider range and increase personal choice, the role of content is again becoming more important than in contemporary radio.  

Daan Muntinga, strategist and scientist: 'A new year, a new sound? That is not very likely in radio land. In the new year, too, radio brands will traditionally kill each other off - the popularity of the DJ will continue to determine their market share for a while. Radio brands have been facing fierce competition from completely different angles for some time now. This is forcing them to think about how they can make the difference with their own sound rather than a DJ bought from another station. A good example - and a personal favourite - is Belgian station Klara. The payoff of this classical station is 'Stay Astonished'. This is expressed in a large number of strong, narrative podcasts on various historical subjects such as Napoleon, Berlin and the Burgundians, all richly interlarded with matching classical music. An experience for the ear that seamlessly connects to the distinctive positioning of the brand. More radio brands should do it this way. '

Importance of brand communication on corona and health decreases
Alongside shifts in the media landscape, there are also shifts in the themes consumers want brands to communicate about. The Netherlands is becoming corona tired. The groups that want brands to communicate about corona or health have declined the most (-9% and -7%). Nevertheless, together with sustainability, these are still the most important topics for brands to communicate about. The biggest riser is the subject 'politics'. The group that wants brands to communicate about politics has increased by 7% to 14%. This increase may have been caused by the turmoil in politics last year. Another interpretation is that consumers like brands to show their commitment to society. After all, brands that show they understand what is going on in people's minds are considered more sympathetic.