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Top10 trends in global consumer market in 2018

Jan 23 2018 13:40

Johannesburg -  Shifting trends and millennials' aversion to ownership will continue to disrupt businesses this year, according to market research company Euromonitor International which revealed the top 10 global consumer trends for 2018 on Monday.

This year’s stronger global economy is expected to boost consumer expenditure, at its strongest since 2011. But shifting consumer attitudes will continue to cause disruption for businesses.

Mobile technology and internet accessibility, Euromonitor believes, will in particular play a key role in shaping consumer preferences in 2018.

According to the company’s report ‘Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018’, people’s growing curiosity about their genetic make-up and a rising interest in personalised health and beauty are fuelling a global market expected to soar by 2022.

Augmented reality (AR) is also touted as a trend to watch, with its vast potential in the mainstream consumer space bringing the benefits of in-store shopping into the home.

“Augmented reality improves the consumer experience, providing a more lifelike view of the items,” said Alison Angus, Euromonitor International’s head of lifestyles.

“Online captures consumers’ interest with the convenience of the hassle-free, anytime, anywhere shopping they crave. The ability to see and touch products before buying is a bonus.”

The top ten global consumer trends for 2018 are:

1. Clean Lifers

Consumers are adopting clean-living, more minimalist lifestyles, where moderation and integrity are key, the report said. A new generation of “straight edge” consumers has grown up knowing deep recession, terrorism and troubled politics, and has a wider world view than previous generations.

Clean Lifers prefer to stay in and relax rather than hit a nightclub. Having been sheltered by the family unit, they enjoy spending time with them.

They 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.

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, Euromonitor said.

“It is now beginning to impact older generations: previously materialistic Baby Boomers are looking to downsize and simplify their lives. Sharing economy stalwarts such as Uber, Rent the Runway and Airbnb have entered the mainstream.”

At the same time companies are rethinking their business models, as start-ups continue to spring up in all markets. Examples are pop-up shops that allow consumers to hire designer clothing and accessories for a week, which are loaned free by fashion labels with all proceeds going to charity.

3. Call out Culture

“Hashtag activism” is rapidly gaining momentum as internet usage explodes and more people have access to social media.

Empowered consumers are using social media to highlight injustice and call brands to account.

The trend has been fuelled by a high degree of social unrest, combined with unprecedented consumer power. In 2017, Twitter users alone generated 125 million hashtags a day.

Consumer opinions are far-reaching, Euromonitor said. “While in the past, consumers may have felt powerless to stand up to brands on their own, social media has given them collective clout.”

Business are responding to this, the report found, forced into greater interaction with customers in the public space.

4. It’s in the DNA – I’m so special

People’s growing curiosity about their genetic make-up - what makes them so special - and a rising interest in personalised health and beauty are fuelling demand for home DNA kits, Euromonitor said. Target consumers range from the “worried well” and those curious about their origins.

Genomics are entering the mainstream, Euromonitor said, thanks to falling prices, better marketing and distribution and positive regulatory changes.

While still in its infancy, at $70m in 2015 Credence Research says the global market is burgeoning, and is expected to soar to $340 m by 2022.

5. Adaptive Entrepreneurs

Consumers are increasingly seeking flexibility in their lifestyles, with millennials' entrepreneurial nature shifting them away from the “traditional” 9-to-5 career towards one that affords more freedom.

Euromonitor's survey shows that nearly 50% of respondents across all generations aspire to being self-employed. The shift in the priorities of Adaptive Entrepreneurs is directly linked to a change in values, Euromonitor said.  

In 2018, these consumers will gravitate towards a lifestyle they can build themselves, and the internet will be crucial for this lifestyle.

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

According to a survey conducted by LEK Consulting, 80% of respondents were keen to use AR technology to visualise products digitally in their homes.

In 2018, View in my Roomers will increasingly look for immersive “try before you buy” online shopping experiences, bringing the benefits of in-store shopping into the home, the report said.

Consumers will look for AR apps that test cosmetics in a selfie-style format, or try on clothes in digital dressing rooms.

7. Sleuthy Shoppers

Consumers’ crisis of trust is deepening, said Euromonitor, leading to greater emotional involvement and action.

Sleuthy Shoppers are investigative consumers, who are sceptical of mass-produced products and the motivations of the companies that create them, the report stated.  

A new wave of shoppers are investigating the full production process, from material or ingredient sourcing to production and distribution, along with information on all parties involved along the way.

As a result vulnerable businesses have to realise the best way to build trust is to showcase the history of a product and the experiences of the people who made it. Once trust is established, Sleuthy Shoppers are likely to become loyal customers, Euromonitor said.

8. Co-living

The Co-Living trend -  where residents share living space and a set of interests and values -  is blossoming, the report found, especially among millennials and the over-65s in the residential space.

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.

This is causing real estate disruption as co-living has become the alternative accelerator ecosystem for smart minds and out-of-the-box thinkers, Euromonitor said.

9. I-Designers

I-Designers participate in creation, design and build, and are seen as sophisticated connoisseurs, Euromonitor said.

They are judged not just on their choices, but also on the care with which they make them. Innovative businesses are giving consumers the tools and knowledge to be creative and to share their creations, Euromonitor explained.

For example, LEGO Ideas is a co-creation platform allowing fans to submit their own designs for new LEGO sets.

10. The survivors

A decade after the credit crunch the frugal mindset of consumers remains entrenched, despite the improving global economies.

The austerity mindset has seen consumers flocking to deep discounters. Consumers have responded to austerity by making greater use of the growing number of resale shops, grocery discounters and value-based retailers.

By catering to the poverty-stricken or price-sensitive, deep discounters are among the only retailers that have proved resilient to the rise of internet retailing, and are a disruptive force in retail.

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2018  |  global economy  |  consumers  |  trends
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