Skift Take

Are consumers discarding price-consciousness for convenience? Uber is convenient, but it's also cheap. These dueling preferences aren't clear-cut, and the trends will remain complex.

A substantial change in consumer behavior is under way. If it’s true, then companies like Kayak, TripAdvisor and Skyscanner, which find consumers pouring through sometimes-miniscule rate and fare differences looking for a deal, may have to pivot.

Speaking at Skift Forum Europe in Berlin in April on a panel about investor strategies, Cristina Berta Jones, chief operating officer of B2C e-commerce for Naspers Group, said consumers “universally” want the same thing, and are shifting their preferences from price to convenience. Naspers has investments in China’s Tencent and India’s MakeMyTrip, among many others.

“Convenience is a big trend across the board,” Jones said.

Jones added: “They seek convenience. They’ll pay for convenience. Price continues to be important but it becomes secondary.”

OK, Kayak, TripAdvisor and Skyscanner might argue that they, too, provide a convenience because comparison-shopping is easier than navigating from website to website.

Many of Naspers Group investments are in emerging markets, where consumers sometimes leapfrog technology, such as getting online through mobile instead of desktop first.

Unlike Jones, Suzanna Chiu, head of Amadeus Ventures, focuses on business-to-business investments that are geared to help Amadeus’ customers improve online conversion. Most  the startups that are the focus on these investments are involved in some form in technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain or messaging, for example, Chiu said.

“We define things where we can work together with our portfolio companies, Chiu said.

Chiu argued that voice search “will be very big. The interface of choice. We are getting there.”

She said it is vital for companies to collect large amounts of data to make voice search work.

“It’s a data game,” Chiu said, referring to voice-based search. “You need a number of conversations to get to that accuracy that it becomes really intelligent.”

You can watch the entire interview above, or consider reading more coverage of Skift Forum Europe.

At Skift Forum Europe in Berlin, Europe’s travel leaders gathered for a day of inspiration, information, and conversation.

For more details on the upcoming Skift Restaurants Forum and Skift Global Forum in New York City, as well as the recent inaugural Skift Tech Forum, please visit our Forum site for details.


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Tags: investors, sfe2018, skift forum europe, venture capital

Photo credit: Cristina Berta Jones (left), chief operating officer of B2C ecommerce for Naspers Group, and Suzanna Chiu, head of Amadeus Ventures, discussed investor strategies at Skift Forum Europe in Berlin in April. Skift

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