January is always a time to look at the future and do predictions. Euromonitor International does a yearly look at consumer trends and their top ten this year. It’s interesting to see a number are tied to the UN’s SDGs (sustainable development goals). Here’s my summary of their insights:

1. Back Up Planners: Rethinking the Supply Chain

  • Supply chain disruptions lead to next best options
  • 28% of consumers tried to purchase locally sourced products and services in 2021
  • 36% of professionals expected supply shortages to be the most significant effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on their company’s supply chain
  • New shopping habits will dictate how Backup Planners discover and select products, from locally sourced to direct-to-consumer brands to subscription services. Localisation and optimisation will become the norm. Companies and distributors should use data to improve supply chain visibility, hone operations and rethink investments.

2. Climate Changers

  • Green activism and low-carbon lifestyles are here to stay. Consumers expect brands to step up and are taking action through the products they purchase as concerns over the climate emergency escalate.
  • 67% of consumers tried to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions in 2021; commit to net zero
  • 78% of professionals think that climate change will impact consumer demand, changing behaviours, needs and preferences
  • Digital innovation is reshaping how retailers, manufacturers and consumers transition to a new era of environmental transparency. Tech tools help consumers trace ethical claims, their carbon footprint and recycling habits on their phones. Millennials and Generation Z, especially, feel they can make a difference through their choices. This largest spending cohort of the future will use tools to ensure minimal climate impact. The more offerings that align with expectations of Climate Changers, the more brands will see their products and services resonate.

3. Digital Seniors

  • Empowered elders, 45% of consumers aged 60+ used a banking service on mobile at least once a week
  • 82% of consumers aged 60+ owned a smartphone in 2021
  • The pandemic broadened older consumers’ minds to the benefits of the digital world. As older consumers embrace technology, human interactions will remain a prevalent component of how they engage with brands. Easy-to-use technology and seamless solutions combined with face-to-face communication define the future of digital inclusion for seniors. Building an agile plan directed at both Digital Seniors and elderly novices will enhance return on investment.

4. Financial Afficionados

Financials by Nick Chong on Unsplash
  • Consumers are gaining confidence in investing and becoming savvy savers to strengthen financial security. Financial Aficionados take control of their money and use services to track their transactions. Financial literacy is no longer restricted to Wall Street. Companies should provide tools and easy-to-use solutions to make any consumer feel financially empowered.
  • Improved financial future, 51% of consumers believe they will be better off financially in the next five years
  • 57% of consumers accessed a banking service through their smartphone at least weekly in 2021; opportunities to server the unbanked and novices
  • Money management apps that are consumer-centric, digestible, educational and simple stand to benefit in this era of financial democratisation. These businesses will build customer loyalty at a time when trust in financial institutions is waning. Retailers and brands should collaborate with financial service corporations to facilitate alternate forms of payment, such as cryptocurrencies or buy now, pay later. The potential impact of Financial Aficionados, from increasing their investment rates and growing their financial acumen, cannot be underestimated.

5. The Great Life Refresh

  • Passion and purpose drive action: The pandemic triggered consumers to make The Great Life Refresh, resulting in drastic personal changes and a collective reboot of values, lifestyles and goals. Businesses should innovate goods, services and experiences that respond to this once-in-a-generation moment, coupled with marketing that acknowledges and embraces the upheaval.
  • New lease on life; 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 and another 4 million in August
  • Supporting personal growth; 44% of professionals believe their companies will invest in employee health and welfare in the future
  • Consumers will continue to navigate the turbulence of the pandemic. Companies catering to The Great Life Refresh stand to be seen as partners, helping consumers adapt to a new way of life. Businesses should tailor marketing to acknowledge and support consumers’ decisions to take action. Reverting to a pre-pandemic playbook might not have the same effect moving forward. Consumers will prefer brands that match the moment. Companies need to offer policies and products that provide value and support personal growth to drive loyalty

6. The Metaverse Movement

  • Simulated, 3D digital ecosystems of the future: The digital world is evolving beyond virtual hangouts to immersive 3D realities. Consumers are embracing these digital spaces to socialise with communities. Brands at the centre of The Metaverse Movement can build equity. These immersive environments can drive e-commerce and virtual product sales as access expands.
  • Finding digital identity: 38% of consumers took part in online video gaming at least weekly in 2021, up from 29% in 2015
  • Advertising in a new digital world: 56% global sales growth of AR / VR headsets from 2017 to 2021
  • Innovative companies have already employed AR / VR applications in their business processes. Consumers using online games and video-first social media for streaming and socialising are establishing the groundwork for The Metaverse Movement. Improvements in AR / VR capabilities and lower equipment costs will increase access to 3D virtual spaces. Consumers who already interact with immersive online social settings will spend even more time in entirely computer-generated environments. As The Metaverse Movement continues to gain tech-savvy participants, businesses must learn their role to increase brand recognition and generate revenue

7. Pursuit of Prelove

  • Secondhand, recommerce and peer-to-peer marketplaces: Thrifting is trending. Consumers are moving from an owning to an experiencing mindset. Sustainability and individuality are removing the stigma associated with secondhand shopping and driving peer-to-peer commerce. Businesses need to do more with less. Investing in circular economy initiatives, such as recycling, rental or resale programmes, will drive value whilst positively impacting the environment.
  • Affordable and exclusive: 33% of consumers buy used or second-hand items at least every few months
  • Zero waster and circular strategies: 67% of professionals stated their company engaged in responsible consumption and production (SDG12) in 2021
  • Recommerce will become increasingly prevalent and cover more categories. Consumers will continue to consider second-hand items when shopping for durable goods, especially. Platforms and aggregators will offer different brands and resell options to meet consumer demand. Additionally, companies need to reuse or recycle materials for new product development and to reduce waste. Pursuit of Preloved will inevitably improve sustainable production and consumption and brand reputation as a result.

8. Rural Urbanites

  • Best of both worlds: Best of both worlds Suburban and rural communities offer more spacious housing and greener scenery, luring consumers out of the metropolitan area. City dwellers also want these benefits brought into their neighbourhoods. Businesses that strengthen e-commerce distribution, expand sustainable product lines and cater to Rural Urbanites will emerge as winners.
  • Relocation revolution: 37% of consumers expect to be working from home in the future
  • 40% of professionals stated their company engaged in making sustainable cities and communities (SDG11) in 2021
  • Consumers want safe, clean and green environments, whether in the city, suburbs or countryside. Spacious and sustainable communities will dictate where Rural Urbanites choose to live. Regardless of location, brands and businesses need to adjust their strategies to retain customers. Expanding brick-and-mortar outlets and services whilst investing in e-commerce will help companies reach a broader audience.

9. Self-Love Seekers

  • Individuality and authenticity drive happiness: Acceptance, self-care and inclusion are at the forefront of consumer lifestyles. Self-Love Seekers prioritise their happiness, feeling comfortable in their own skin and indulging in goods and services that elevate their sense of self. Businesses need to create deep connections with customers. Products that evoke physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing will resonate and enhance the lives of Self-Love Seekers.
  • Confident and content: 56% of consumers believe they will be happier in the next five years
  • Indulgence, personalization and new norms: 54% of professionals believe that more personalised shopper experiences will have a strong impact on retailing over the next five years
  • Consumers will focus on personal growth and acceptance, as uncertainty continues, but to varying degrees. Businesses need to support consumers on their journey and understand their priorities to inform innovation. Offerings that help consumers feel fulfilled, positive and self-assured will improve brand perception. Investing in technologies, such as AI, can facilitate more sophisticated personalised solutions. Most importantly, Self-Love Seekers purchase products and services that align with their motivations and identities, which should stay at the core of business strategies.

10. Socialization Paradox

  • A divided return to pre-pandemic life: Consumers are approaching a return to pre-pandemic life in different ways based on their comfort levels. Certain consumers are eager, whilst others are hesitant, to resume their normal activities, creating The Socialisation Paradox. Companies should provide seamless solutions and multiple options across channels without sacrificing the experience
  • Fluctuating comfort levels challenge re-entry: 76% of consumers took health and safety precautions when leaving their homes in 2021
  • Being agile between phases of recovery: 47% of professionals indicate that exploring new business models (e.g. marketplaces or direct to consumer) is a strategic priority for their company in the next 12 months
  • The Socialisation Paradox is a behavioural phase influencing consumer habits. Consumers want to socialise but demand a flexible approach. Businesses should be receptive and provide a seamless experience with innovative and adaptive solutions. Remote work and virtual events will co-exist with in-person engagements, but consumers want the option to choose. Companies need to be considerate of fluctuating comfort levels. Hybrid business models will put consumers in control of their desired experience.

For more details see Euromonitor International’s free full report.  

It also has great examples of organizations for each trend! There are so many opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning organizations and I hope to delve more into that in coming posts!  All ideas welcome, please share your thoughts and insights!