Marketing to Upscale Urban Consumers

February 2, 2011

In 2011, brand marketers will need to fine tune their strategies to meet the needs of experienced and sophisticated urban dwellers who are rapidly growing in nations around the world, according to a new report from consumer insights firm These consumers already number in the hundreds of millions, and are referred to as “Citysumers” by

Citysumers More Demanding, Connected says Citysumers are more demanding and more open-minded, but also more proud, more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone, requiring a whole host of new urban goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.

In addition, cites UN statistics indicating that by 2050, the global urban population is expected to be 6.3 billion, or 70% of the population at that time

Three Key Trends Drive Citysumer Growth identifies three key drivers for the boom in Citsysumers. Namely,
1. The huge increase in the number of urban dwellers all around the world.
2. The ever-increasing wealth and power of cities and those who live in them.
3. The spread of urban culture and values.

Citysumer Opportunities

In recognition of the rapid growth of Citysumers, advises marketers of eight specific branding opportunities, which are briefly highlighted here.

1. Celebrate urban pride: In thriving mega-cities, whose economic and cultural power already often surpass that of entire nations, Citsysumers’ identities will often be closely tied to a city’s culture, its brand, its heritage, its ‘being’. This means that for brands, delivering city-specific products, services and communications that truly capture a city’s character is an excellent way to build recognition and trust, especially if they are seen as impersonal and corporate.
2. Enabling urban encounters: Despite ever-increasing amounts of time spent online, audiences aren’t retreating into virtual worlds. Rather, Citysumers will forever enjoy connecting with other, real-life human beings. In fact, online (especially with smart phones being the new laptops) increasingly drives and enables offline encounters.
3. Enriching the urban canvas: Many time-starved, choice-rich, smartphone-using Citysumers look to brands to bring them ever more varied and instantaneous experiences, especially if those experiences are fast-paced, transient interesting, physical, interactive etc.
4. Pushing the urban envelope: Sophisticated urban audiences are especially receptive to brands that use daring and edgy marketing campaigns and strategies.
5. Go eco-urban: Cities are increasingly seen as a solution to the quest for environmental sustainability, with high-density living promoting a more efficient distribution of resources (although not everyone agrees). Indeed, urban environments offer forward-thinking brands a whole host of opportunities to reach eco-conscious Citysumers.
6. Urban escape: Brands focusing on enabling Citysumers to temporarily leave the city and enjoy some peace and quiet with nature and clean air thrown in have numerous opportunities for innovation.
7. Urban transcendence: Brands also have an opportunity to innovatively deliver peace, quiet and nature into urban environments themselves.
8. To buy or not to buy: Urban living, with its premium on space, means that for many Citysumers, owning bulky, irregularly used items is inconvenient, if not unnecessary. Easier access to public services or even private objects is creating a culture where ownership is increasingly a choice to be considered. Furthermore, an OWNER-LESS model also allows Citysumers not having to sink large parts of their budgets into a small number of high-price tickets, freeing up money to be spent on a multitude of experiences, such as bike- and car-sharing services.

Mature Consumers Seek Edgy Brands

A growing audience of experienced, less-easily shocked, outspoken consumers appreciate brands that are a little bit more daring and outspoken, according to other findings from, which has dubbed this growing consumer trend “Maturialism.”

According to, consumers of today no longer tolerate being treated like yesteryear’s easily shocked, inexperienced, middle-of-the-road consumers. Able to handle much more honest conversations, unusual flavors and risqu? experiences, these consumers increasingly appreciate brands that are pushing the boundaries a bit.

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