Influential Consumer Group Grows

Last year’s “e-fluential” is this year’s “prosumer” and this powerful consumer group is growing.

Measured at roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population by Burson-Marsteller and RoperASW in 2001, this consumer has the ability to exert enormous influence on the purchasing decisions of others, and Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners found that 25 percent of those surveyed counted themselves among this group.

Actually, “prosumer” is not a new term. It was coined by marketing visionary Alvin Toffler in the late 1970s as a blend of producer and consumer. Ira Matathia, director of strategy for Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, describes prosumers as powerful people that don’t sit passively, instead they actively share positive and negative experiences and consult with other consumers.

The study of 2,000 Americans revealed a profile of prosumers that marketers can use for targeting and understanding this influential group. Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners recognized that prosumers were much more likely than average consumers to be consulted for tips and recommendations, and while they may help establish some trends, they are likely to identify themselves as mainstream, rather than trendsetters. The report says that prosumers manage to combine mainstream tastes and attitudes with openness and experimentation, leading them to make purchases based on personal choice, rather than fashion dictates.

Prosumers vs. Consumers
Task Prosumers Consumers
Tuned to several media sources at once 52 percent 42 percent
Not overwhelmed by information overload 48 percent 37 percent
Concerned about the threat of future terrorist attacks 63 percent 49 percent
Acknowledge their love for technology 56 percent 33 percent
Own cellular phones 77 percent 65 percent
Source: Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners

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