Microsoft Taps Suzy For Real-Time Consumer Research

Despite all the resources behind Microsoft, the company’s researchers tapped real-time research platform Suzy for its latest report on the advertising industry’s state of the industries, such as travel, retail, health and wellness, technology, and finance.

Powered by Suzy, Microsoft’s Advertising’s State of the 5 look at consumers’ opinion around these markets. Microsoft conducted five surveys to identify shifts in behavior and trends that may continue through 2021.

Microsoft uses a lot of a different research, including search data from Bing. Using multiple services provides quantitative and qualitative data.

For instance, consumers newfound comfort with digital services opened the door to the virtual world in ways marketers hadn’t experienced. With adoption comes new conflict and struggles with what used to be societal norms.

The data shows travel is on consumers’ minds. Many are “staring at pictures of places they want to go,” or “saving money in anticipation of traveling again.” As consumers continue to dream, pin and investigate safe travel options, responsibility for their own health and well-being remains top of mind.

When restrictions lift, they are looking for responsible forms of travel, such as trips in nature and the outdoors.

Some 48% said they plan to travel to places they’re never been before, and 44% said the quality of medical care at their travel destination is far more important than pre-pandemic.

When it comes to retail, the research shows a tension between prioritizing convenience and a moral desire to support local businesses. In fact, 68% said they feel it’s more important than ever to support local retailers, but only 27% say their spending in this category increased. Conversely, 50% say their spending at Amazon, Walmart, and other large companies have increased.

This conflict is amplified by another interesting trend: a move to minimalism. The data shows consumers are growing tired of the constant push to have and buy more.

The trend toward minimalism also provides interesting insights. Some 33% of respondents agree they are more likely now to purchase brands that support a cause they care about.

About 33% agree that sustainability is important, so they try to buy clothes secondhand on peer-to-peer sites like Poshmark, and 35% are likely to spend money on home improvements or renovations in the future.

What does it mean for advertisers?

Companies need to improve and adapt their experiences to compete, and they will need to communicate these new experiences and benefits to consumers. Kraft Heinz, for example, is trying new ways to drive convenience. During the pandemic, it started selling their products direct-to-consumers with a program called Heinz To Home, rather than just to grocery stores.

This option helped consumers alleviate the pain point of not finding staple items in stores, due to stockpiling. Companies will be forced to take a side, according to the report.

The research shows that consumer comfort with these digital solutions will increase, but health and staying safe has become much more important.

Some 43% said they are comfortable with taking online fitness classes, and 30% said they’ve become more accustomed to using health and wellness apps on their phones, such as FitBit, Calm, MyFitnessPal and sleep trackers.

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