Empowered consumers/information society

Increasing access to information and economic prosperity have led to the new breed of empowered consumer.  Goods and services are becoming increasingly personalised and people are more and more assertive about what they want and what they are entitled to. (See rising expectations of public services).  As people are less willing to accept what they are told, trust in organisations and institutions, previously regarded as experts, is declining. (See trust in institutions).

What are the implications?

  • Organisations providing little or no information, or information that is not easily accessible or in expected forms (i.e. websites) could miss important opportunities
  • The expectation of high-quality information is increasing
  • Opportunities for organisations to act as trusted sources of information

Moving forward

The most successful organisations are likely to be those that provide information that is transparent and readily accessible.  How does your organisation currently provide information to beneficiaries?  Do you need to find other ways to make this accessible?  How much information do you need to provide?

People will increasingly find their way to new organisations via intermediary sites.  Does your organisation currently engage with these sites?  If not, is this something you should consider in the future?

Are you aware of what people are saying about your organisation (intermediaries and peer to peer)?  How can you ensure the information is accurate?

Want to know more?

Consuming Services in the Knowledge Society: the internet & consumer culture

Published by: University of Birkbeck

Date: 2005

Format: PDF

What is it? Summary findings from a research project investigating the changing nature of consumption in a global context.

How useful is this? This report provides a useful summary of the findings form this 3 year research project, outlining key findings, and providing recommendations for moving forwards for policy and practice.

Other information:  The researchers can be contacted direct for the full report.

Micro Persuasion

Published by: Steve Reubel

Date: 2005

Format: Web blog

What is it? A blog which links to others discussing the rise of empowered consumers

How useful is this? One of the greatest tools in empowered consumerism is Web 2.0.  This blog is a great example of new ways people find information: peer recommendation by one blog linking to many others. 

Other information:

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.

Recent comments

Caroline's picture


Third Sector Foresight

I just read a report on consumer advocacy, which outlines the challenges this could face in the years up to 2020. Although many VCOs do not view themselves as targeting consumer markets, most are ‘selling’ goods and services, and therefore still need to be able to attract and support people in much the same way as more traditional markets do. The report looks at social and economic trends that may affect consumers, and then goes on to outline how they may need support in the future, and is therefore an interesting, and potentially useful resource for you to look at.

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How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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