Personalising beverages to target individualistic consumers

Personalisation facilitates differentiation and uniqueness by creating a product that is perceived as being more closely aligned with individual consumer needs. Drawing from GlobalData research, Eloise McLennan explores how increasing product relevance can create more involved buying behaviour


Consumers are moving towards right-for-me products that reflect their lifestyle choices. Image courtesy of ProStockStudio


Driven by the desire for products that help consumers to express their individuality, modern consumers are breaking away from ‘one-size-fits-all’ products. Instead, identity-driven shoppers are increasingly on the lookout for offerings that reflect their personal lifestyle preferences and needs. With consumers more connected and informed than ever before, this puts increasing pressure on brands to develop products that align with specific needs and personalities.

In a globalised world where mass adoption of products and trends is increasingly commonplace, personalised products can stand out from the crowd and encourage premium spending. By aligning with individual consumer needs, brands can increase product relevance, which in turn enhances engagement and creates more involved buying behaviour. It can also lead to higher consumer satisfaction at a time when preferences are becoming stronger and more forcefully expressed.

As GlobalData analyst Jamie Mills explores in the recent report, ‘TrendSights Analysis: Personalisation’, there are three core concepts that brands can use to tap into the personalisation trend: segmenting consumers by demographic groups; targeting lifestyle and individuality preferences; and identifying specific consumer concerns and functional requirements. To find out how brands can effectively personalise beverage products to target today’s individualistic consumers, we round up some of the key findings identified in the report.

Demographic demands for different life stages

"Consumers are shunning the confines of traditional labels."

When it comes to personalising products, using specific demographic groups to target consumers is a well-established practice for FMCG brands. Catering to key demographic factors, such as gender and age, allows brands to position products in a way that effectively resonates with a large number of consumers.

Consumer needs change depending on what life stage they are at, and purchasing decisions will be significantly influenced by this. For example, time-saving features can enhance the appeal of beverages for a wide variety of consumers; however, the motivations driving shoppers towards these products are different depending on their life stage. Younger consumers often prioritise time-saving features because they align with their active social lifestyles, whereas older consumers may rely on such features due to the demands of busy careers or parental responsibilities.

Consequently, assessing and adapting to these core purchase driving cues is an important process for brands looking to develop personalised products to target age demographics. As consumers seek out products they perceive to be tailored towards their specific needs, this knowledge can help drinks manufacturers to resonate with consumer lifestyles in more authentic ways.

Addressing modern lifestyle needs with occasion-focused beverages

Although targeting conventional demographic groups has be an effective way for brands to appeal to consumers in the past, in today’s individualistic society, many consumers are shunning the confines of traditional labels, such as age and gender, in favour of products that align with their personalities and lifestyle needs.

With many shoppers, especially younger ones, using their product choices as a tool to express their individual interests and values, employing a combination of demographic and lifestyle cues can help brands to develop a more in-touch offering that reflects the nuance of real (and aspirational) lifestyles being led by modern consumers. Incorporating these up-to-date requirements of lifestyle-driven consumers creates new opportunities for brands to develop personalised beverage products that target specific activities.

Growing interest in sporting and adventurous hobbies is a key opportunity for drinks brands to target active lifestyles with fitness-oriented solutions designed to suit these pastimes. Tailoring beverage products to socialising or entertaining occasions may also help brands to target consumers. According to GlobalData, sociable millennials are a prime target for these solutions, as they generally have an extremely favourable perception towards products that they can share with others.

Functional formats to target health and dietary concerns

"Dietary and health needs are becoming increasingly important factors."

Dietary and health needs are becoming increasingly important factors for consumers when purchasing beverages. While the majority of shoppers may take a reactive approach, health-conscious drinkers are proactive when it comes to their mental and physical wellbeing, and they will often select products that they believe will help them maintain or improve it. This growing awareness has fuelled demand for products that are personalised by consumer health demands and preferences.

Modern dietary choices have already begun to influence developments in the drinks industry, as consumers actively seek out functional beverages that claim to improve general health and wellness, as well as beverages that address specific concerns, such as digestive health and bone and joint health. However, there are opportunities for brands to capitalise on this growing trend with personalised products that focus on untapped health concerns, such as muscle health.

Dietary preferences represent an important facet by which brands can personalise their offerings. As food plays a key role in day-to-day dietary needs, identifying how influential dietary trends are affecting purchase decisions can help drinks brands to direct innovation when developing new products. For example, the recent backlash against sugar, fats and artificial sweeteners has been an important factor in both food and beverage choices. Utilising the trend, brands were able to create innovation opportunities by personalising their offerings – for example, by adapting ingredient compositions to reflect changing consumer preferences and employing positive claims such as natural and free-from.

Innovation opportunities for beverage manufacturers

Following rapid technological developments, consumers are more informed than ever before. Empowered by their digital lifestyles, shoppers are increasingly encouraged to express and act upon their opinions and beliefs, which has resulted in an increased interest in ‘identity-related’ purchases. This necessitates brands and manufacturers giving control back to consumers and involving them in product development processes, as well as allowing consumers to manipulate products to meet individual needs.

These informed and individualistic consumers want more from the beverages they choose and will actively opt for brands and offerings they believe will best meet their needs. As a result, personalised products that reflect the diverse lifestyles of modern consumers can help brands to encourage engagement, as well as differentiating products from competitors. However, according to GlobalData when exploring lifestyle-targeted solutions, it is vital that brands determine “whether activities are habitual or a ‘one-off’ in order to ensure that product offerings can effectively integrate as a longstanding partner to that occasion.”

The use of smart tools offers unique ways to direct consumers to more personalised offerings within brand portfolios. One­­­ of the most appealing features of smart tools and connected devices is their ability to personalise results and information specifically to the user. As consumers already rely on digital devices to perform a variety of tasks in their day-to-day lives, this approach offers significant opportunities, particularly as consumer engagement with digital tools is set to grow in the future.