Forecast 2015: Puneet Manchanda on the digital consumer


Michigan Ross professor sees consumers combining the best of online, offline, and mobile while winning companies master this mix.

Puneet Manchanda, professor of marketing at Michigan Ross, shares his insights on how consumers and marketers will interact in the digital space.

Manchanda says the coming year will see consumers converging toward solutions that cherry pick and combine the best from each domain—online, offline and mobile. For example, consumers love placing orders on the go but find it hard to wait for delivery at home. So winning companies will be ones that offer complete "mix and match" solutions (order via an app on the phone that integrates payment as well and pick up in the nearest store). Online merchants will focus on creating more immersive and engaging experiences using cutting-edge technologies.

On the digital marketing front, search will still drive the bus while mobile advertising will get stronger in quality and quantity. Lack of reach and return on investment will continue to bedevil social network advertising and it will lose ground. Finally, the rising wave of digitization will generate more data that companies will leverage better at the expense of privacy. However, consumers will continue to be selective about privacy concerns, cutting some businesses slack while complaining about others.

Manchanda's top 10 trend list for 2015:

Digital business

  • O2O—online to offline, where consumers order online but pick up offline—will grow rapidly.
  • In a complementary trend, one-day delivery will get closer to reality in most metropolitan markets.
  • M-commerce will grow to early maturity as customers become comfortable with conducting transactions on mobile devices, especially from within apps.
  • Electronic payment systems will struggle to find traction. One area that will grow faster than normal is peer-to-peer payments (Venmo, Square Cash, etc.).
  • Websites will try to engage consumers using 3D and virtual reality technologies such as Oculus Rift.


  • Search advertising will continue to grow while we will see a rationalization of display (banner) advertising.
  • Print advertising will continue to decline rapidly while video advertising will decline (slowly) on TV, but grow on streaming sites especially on mobile devices.
  • Advertising effectiveness on social networks will be questioned even more seriously, even as social networks that have been free of advertising so far will add it.

Digitization of the economy

  • Big Data will deliver more value even as the hype around it dies out.
  • Consumer privacy concerns will be articulated more and more in the media, but consumers will continue to yield data to businesses that offer "convenient" solutions such as Uber and Airbnb.

Get more insights into research relevant to your business with Ross Thought in Action. Sign up to receive our bimonthly email newsletter. You can follow us on Twitter at @MichiganRoss.

-- Greta Guest, University of Michigan News.

Media Contact:


More 2015 Forecasts:

Scott DeRue on Resolutions Every Leader Should Make

Wally Hopp on Income Disparity

Scott Rick on Smart Consumer Moves

Stewart Thornhill on Entrepreneurial Trends

Peter Allen on Urban Development

Fred Feinberg on Marketing Data