Deloitte pinpoints top digital trends for consumer facing industries 2018


Deloitte has published its Digital Predictions 2018 report. Consumer-facing businesses will need to respond to six major digital technology trends this year, which all have the potential to radically alter their customer relationships.

Smart(er)phones: smarter applications

  • By the end of 2023, 90% of adults in developed countries will have a smartphone, and device sales will reach 1.85bn a year, a 19% increase from 2018. The smartphone will become more pervasive in our lives and consumer demand for a mobile-friendly experience will continue to grow.
  • In the next five years we will see more innovative technology being built into our smartphones such as facial recognition, artificial intelligence and enhanced connectivity, software and memory. This will only add to the smartphone’s strategic importance to the consumer business industry as it becomes the primary way to communicate, interact and transact with consumers.
  • IT and marketing teams should integrate the mobile experience into every element of the customer journey and acknowledge the smartphone’s strategic importance to the consumer business industry as it becomes the primary way to communicate, interact and transact with consumers. 

The machines are learning 

  • Deloitte predicts that large and medium-sized consumer businesses will ramp up their usage of machine learning in 2018 in order to analyse, understand and improve consumer behaviour.
  • Pilot projects will double this year compared to 2017, and will double again by 2020.
  • Consumer businesses can use machine learning to make sense of ‘big data’ in order to improve supply chain efficiency and provide apersonalised customer experience

Strap in: in-flight connectivity takes off

  • WI-FI connectivity will soon be standard across all new planes.
  • Deloitte predicts that in 2018, one billion passenger journeys on planes (about a quarter of total passenger flights) will be on aircraft equipped with in-flight connectivity, 20 per cent higher than 2017.
  • Airlines, retailers and online media services alike will have access to new revenue streams and engagement channels.

Augmented reality bites 

  • Deloitte predicts that more than a billion smartphone users will create AR content at least once in 2018, with 300 million being monthly creators and tens of millions making and sharing content weekly. By 2020, direct AR revenues will grow beyond $1bn.
  • Retailers will be able to use AR as part of the decision-making stage of the consumer journey, e.g. by overlaying product information and consumer reviews onto products in store. It can also be used to showcase products directly in consumers’ homes and as an after-sale service, for example, delivering clearer instructions for flat-pack furniture and electrical equipment.
  • Accurate AR offers a practical application for workers in the consumer packaged goods and certain industrial manufacturing sectors. Farm and factory workers will benefit from AR that allows components to be identified, instructions to be added to equipment virtually, and instant performance and safety feedback shared.
  • AR can also be applied by the travel, hospitality and leisure sectors. In aviation, AR will be used by ground staff who need detailed information about logistics, safety and compliance. Tour operators and travel companies will be able to provide AR-enhanced tours, and consumer-generated content such as messages left at points of interest will change the way that we experience tourist destinations.

The subscription prescription

  • Deloitte predicts that by the end of 2018, 50% of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, that average will have doubled to four.
  • The rise in digital subscriptions signals a significant change in consumer attitudes and behaviour. It is also driving a number of significant changes to existing consumer business models.
  • Consumer demand for subscription retail services is growing. The demand for an ‘ad-free’ media experience means that all businesses investing heavily in digital advertising will need to rethink how they communicate to their customers.

Rebuilding the supply chain – block by blockchain

  • Blockchain is stepping into the mainstream. The technology – a digital, decentralised ledger that provides a way for information to be recorded and shared – has the potential to revolutionise supply chain process.
  • Consumer businesses can use blockchain technology to track and trace products, record contracts and transactions, and guarantee the movement of information.
  • The ultimate beneficiary will be the consumer. If blockchain can create efficiencies and save costs throughout the supply chain, these benefits can be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower prices, not to mention safer products of higher quality