Market intelligence agency Mintel has revealed six key consumer trends impacting industries and markets around the world, identifying how they will play out in the years to come.
In 2019 and beyond, the global consumer landscape will evolve like never before, according to Mintel, driven by themes of privacy, individuality, wellness, convenience, and connectivity:
Social media inspiration is blurring the line between reality and #lifegoals, opening consumers up to a whole new world.
TOTAL WELLBEING—Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED—A growing momentum to take on new challenges is driving consumers to reach new heights and uncover new passions.
RETHINK PLASTIC—While not inherently bad, the throwaway use of plastic is driving consumers to review their own behaviours to prevent plastic pollution.
ON DISPLAY—Consumers and brands are becoming more aware that they have a digital persona to nurture and grow, creating a tension as everyone fights for attention and nobody is safe from scrutiny.
SOCIAL ISOLATION—Constant digital connectivity, where physical interactions are replaced with digital updates, can increase feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and depression, creating a demand for products and services that help consumers learn to disconnect.
REDEFINING ADULTHOOD—The concept of what it means to be an adult has changed beyond recognition and consumers are adapting to lives that don’t fit the mould.
Below, Simon Moriarty, director of trends EMEA, explores the trends set to shake up the EMEA market, including implications for both consumers and brands.
“In 2019 and beyond, growing consumer curiosity with the microbiome shows no signs of abating,” he says. “From gut-friendly fermented foods to probiotic skincare, consumers will demand products that balance and boost the natural bacteria found in and on the body.”
“Consumers are looking externally to their surroundings and internally towards their physical and mental wellbeing, expecting holistic approaches to wellness that produce the same benefits,” he adds. “Across the globe consumers are increasingly seeking personalisation and in the UK, as many as 42% of Brits are interested in a personalised diet based on their genes/DNA. Developments in health monitoring, such as skin sensors or ingestible capsules, will satisfy consumers’ demand for this personalised approach, while also building on scientific research in these emerging fields.”
“As appetites for adventure grow, consumers are becoming more willing than ever to expand their comfort zones and push themselves to the limit with new experiences, Moriarty says. “Growing confidence means, for example, that being single no longer presents a barrier to explore, as 63% of British solo holidaymakers agree you can have more of an adventure travelling on your own.”
“Social media inspiration is blurring the line between reality and #lifegoals, opening consumers up to a whole new world,” he says. “It may be fuelling a love of adventure, but social media is not without its pitfalls and in the years to come, companies and brands should proceed with caution.”
“When it comes to recycling, well-meaning consumers are desperate to do the right thing but they often simply don’t know how or where to start,” Moriarty says. “In the UK, 49% of consumers who recycle food packaging most of the time or less say that clearer instructions on which parts of packaging can be recycled would encourage them to recycle more often. As consumers continue to challenge brands over the perils of plastic waste, the development of recyclable products and packaging that are convenient for consumers to separate will be critical. But equally as important will be creating incentives and initiatives.”
“In 2019 and beyond, expect to see more sponsored ‘reverse’ vending machines and bring-your-own-mug schemes,” he adds. “But it takes more than any one individual or brand to save the world. The future will be about working together. Companies and organisations should look to partner in order to create or crowdsource ideas that will make innovative and disruptive changes, such as the development of biodegradable materials, the search to enhance the recyclability of plastic or the cultivation of a better waste management system.”
“Consumers and brands have come to accept and nurture their digital personas, perfectly curating their online identities,” Moriarty says. “But even among the most carefully crafted feeds, one misguided post can lead to intense scrutiny and public backlash.”
“Today’s consumers are not afraid to speak out, for instance in the UK, 28% of Millennial consumers (aged 18-37) say they feel very confident about expressing a different opinion in a conversation,” he adds. “Now more than ever, it’s crucial for companies and brands to have social media strategies in place and to train employees about company morals and etiquette, so that when (not if) they are faced with a sensitive issue, they know how to handle it in a timely way. While it is good to balance the cycle of ‘negative exposure’ by sharing positive stories, it’s important to also promote critical thinking and dissent. This will help brands align with consumers’ defiant side and break through their filter bubbles.”
“Technology can make the world a lonely place,” Moriarty says. “Consumers increasingly live their lives through smartphone screens, and although connected electronically, they are becoming isolated from each other both physically and emotionally. People are questioning the benefits of social media as in the UK, a fifth (21%) of consumers who have cut down their social media usage or taken a break from it in the last year say they have done so because they were worried about their mental health.”
“Facilitating connections and creating unique spaces where communities can be built is the next stage in cultivating customer loyalty,” he adds. “Brands who position their physical and virtual ‘space’ as places for consumers to meet while also eating, shopping or taking part in a leisure activity will lead to a boost in not only engagement, but revenue.”
“With experiences over material things being a key priority for Millennials, companies need to focus on campaigns and opportunities that centre on making life memorable,” he says. “Taking a technology-first approach could be the answer, as more and more consumers are commonly relying on technology to manage their everyday ‘adult’ tasks. For example, in the UK, 48% of Millennials (aged 19-38) would be interested in receiving automated online financial advice tailored to their personal situation.”
“Despite more convenience and opportunity, the challenges of adulthood have not disappeared,” Moriarty says. “Those looking to capitalise on this will serve as a resource for these hurdles, by making responsibilities feel more manageable and even fun (sometimes). Flexibility is the name of the game. With a growing remote workforce, consumers’ daily lives are fluid and brands have to adapt to lifestyles no longer defined by 9-5 work cultures.”