Executive Summary


Change is Real.

90% of respondents to a World 50 poll said that customer behavior has changed either significantly or moderately since 2019.


People want the predictable.

After so much turbulence and change, customers are reaching out for experiences, products, and services that promote a sense of rhythm or safety. CBS’ Radha Subramanyam called this a “desperate quest for the normal.”


Omnichannel isn’t optional.

If you can’t offer a truly customer-friendly experience both on- and offline, you’re going to lose in the marketplace. The pandemic raised the bar for digital experiences, while its end accelerated the desire to interact in person.


Personalization has scaled.

Rapid advancements in generative AI and the further fragmentation of society mean it’s finally possible to look at a customer as one individual. This is quickly becoming an expectation rather than a differentiator, said several executives.


Customers crave experiences.

Consumers are spending more money on experiences and less on goods as they try to make up for lost time. Travel and restaurants are just two of the industries that continue to rise despite inflationary pressures.


Wellness wins.

Customers are focused on wellness—whether that means personal care, psychology, or even their pets, which Zoetis’ Wetteny Joseph said may be linked to health benefits.


The economy is existential.

Polled about which factors have most affected companies’ customer-facing strategies, 58% of respondents selected economic pressures as the most significant, with only 12%-14% choosing geopolitical events, hybrid work, or AI as the top category.


ESG is under pressure.

Executives reported cuts to ESG-related spending because of economic uncertainty, but they cautioned that customers still expect ties to sustainability and diversity, even if they don’t necessarily want to pay for the added costs.