2018 will see consumer expenditure growing at its strongest rate since 2011, but shifting consumer attitudes and behaviours will continue to cause disruption for businesses.
Mobile technology and internet accessibility will play a key role in shaping these changes.
The Euromonitor International ‘Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018: Emerging Forces Shaping Consumer Behaviour’ report has identified the following 10 consumer trends that will reign in 2018.
#1 Clean lifers
Consumers are adopting clean-living, more minimalist lifestyles, where moderation and integrity are key, the report notes. Clean Lifers have strong beliefs and ideals. They are less tolerant, more skeptical.
They feel they can make a difference, and this influences their spending choices.
This means more saying no: no to alcohol; no to unhealthy habits; no to animal-based products; and, increasingly, no to unmeasured or uninformed spending.
Also, clean lifers prefer to stay in and relax rather than hit a nightclub.
A night out to a club is expensive, short-lived, and not particularly healthy or safe.
Clean Lifers would rather spend their money on experiences, such as weekends away, festivals and restaurants, where they are able to chat with friends, or healthier social alternatives, such as hosting fitness class parties from yoga to high- intensity workouts.
#2 The borrowers
A new generation of community-minded sharers, renters and subscribers is reshaping the economy, making conspicuous consumption a thing of the past.
Rejecting material goods in favour of experiences and a freer lifestyle, which has characterised the buying habits of millennials for the last few years, is a trend that continues to evolve and spread.
Sharing economy stalwarts such as Uber, Rent the Runway and Airbnb have entered the mainstream.
Meanwhile, new, innovative start-ups continue to emerge to satisfy The Borrowers.
Rather than aspiring to things, they favour minimalism and living for the moment.
The Borrowers want access rather than ownership, whether through sharing, swapping, renting or streaming.
Big companies are embracing the sharing economy by sponsoring or investing in start-ups.
#3 Callout culture
Whether it is airing a grievance on Twitter, sharing a viral message or signing an e-petition, consumers are having their say.
“Hashtag activism”, while not new (the Twitter hashtag turned 10 in 2017), is rapidly gaining momentum as internet usage explodes and more people have access to social media.
In response, marketers are being forced into greater interaction with customers in the public spacee. They need to be prepared to face any social media backlash, however.
#4 It’s in the DNA — I’m so special
People’s growing curiosity about their genetic make-up and a rising interest in personalised health and beauty are fuelling demand for home DNA kits.
A new wave of companies aims to provide “I’m So Special” consumers with genetic findings related to their general health, fitness and nutrition.
#5 Adaptive entrepreneurs
Millennials especially have an entrepreneurial nature, shifting away from the “traditional” 9-to-5 career towards one that affords more freedom.
The shift in the priorities of Adaptive Entrepreneurs is directly linked to a change in values.
In 2018, these consumers want a lifestyle they can build themselves, and align with their personal interests and passions.
Risk-seeking entrepreneurs will not be attracted to the same brands or marketing techniques that dominated in the past. They will favour products enhancing their adaptable work and personal lives.”
#6 View in my roomers
In 2018, View in My Roomers will be connecting perception and reality, merging digital images with physical space.
Consumers will be able to visualise products before they try or buy, both in-store and online.
The arrival of even more sophisticated smartphones in 2017 gives View in My Roomers access to greater functionality, including augmented reality (AR) technology.
#7 Sleuthy shoppers
With further political upheaval in 2017, consumers’ crisis of trust is deepening, and leading to greater emotional involvement and action.
Sleuthy Shoppers are investigative consumers.
Sceptical of mass-produced products and the motivations of the companies that create them, tired of empty rhetoric and soothing words of assurance, they are taking action to find out more.
The best way to build trust is to be vulnerable and truly showcase the history of the product and the experiences of the people who made it.
The lingering impact of the global financial crisis has encouraged prime, working-age older Millennials and Gen X-ers to re-evaluate their spending habits.
Simultaneously, the rise of the sharing economy, with pioneers such as Uber and Airbnb, is eroding their desire to own goods.
I-Designers are judged not just on their choices, but also on the care with which they make them.
Social media flaunting of purchases is perhaps tacky, but it is compelling, even glamorous, to show “how I made it mine”.
The ongoing desire for personalisation is meshing with the yearning for authenticity to create true next-generation customisation.
The Co-Living trend has blossomed amongst Millennials and the over-65s in the residential space. It is a form of housing where residents share living space and a set of interests and values.
The trend stems from hyper-urban hubs that have embraced the sharing economy as a lifestyle choice.
In its most basic form, co-living sees people share spaces and mutual facilities to save money and inspire collaborative ideas or provide comfortable, more acceptable living conditions.
Businesses have started aggressively pursuing co-living opportunities to be ready for disruption in the medium term.
#10 The survivors
10 years on from the credit crunch, which heralded the start of the Great Recession, the frugal mindset of consumers remains entrenched.
Consumers have responded to austerity by making greater use of the growing number of resale shops, grocery discounters and value-based retailers.