Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018
From mindfulness to augmented reality, shifting consumer expectations can be major disruptors for businesses. Learn more by downloading Euromonitor's white paper, Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018.
2018 will see consumers continuing to question their values, priorities and purchasing decisions, prioritising brands and issues that matter to them.
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Consumers are adopting clean-living, more minimalist lifestyles, where moderation and integrity are key. Clustering around educated 20–29-year-olds, 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. They have been shielded by affluent Generation X / Baby Boomer parents, and take more guidance from them; possibly resulting in lower self-confidence. They are keen to secure a more ordered existence for themselves.
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. 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. Meanwhile, new, innovative start-ups continue to emerge to satisfy The Borrowers.
Call out 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. The global success of the #MeToo movement in the wake of recent sexual harassment scandals is testament to the growing empowerment of consumers, who use their collective voice to fight injustice and call brands to account.
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. Target consumers range from the "worried well" and those curious about their origins to hard-core fitness and nutrition fanatics. Companies such as 23andMe, DNAFit and AncestryDNA map genetic code via simple blood or saliva samples and explain what it all means. While still in its infancy, at USD70 million in 2015, Credence Research says the global market is burgeoning, and is expected to soar to USD340 million by 2022.
Consumers are increasingly seeking flexibility in their lifestyles, and are prepared to take risks. Millennials especially have an entrepreneurial nature, shifting away from the "traditional" 9-to-5 career towards one that affords more freedom. Euromonitor International’s 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey shows that nearly 50% of respondents across all generations aspire to being self-employed. Taking out Baby Boomers, amongst which this desire is lower, this aspiration increases to 56%, clearly showing the growing trend towards this Adaptive Entrepreneurial lifestyle.
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. AR has a wide range of applications in industries and has a great deal of potential in the mainstream consumer space. Consumers are already using AR to try on beauty products or access tutorials at Urban Decay or Sephora. IKEA Place, an AR app, enables consumers to see true-to-scale 3D models of IKEA furniture in their rooms whilst Dulux Visualiser enables consumers to see how their walls would look painted in their colours.
According to a study amongst 15–69-year-olds, conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab across France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the US, 25% of early adopters believe consumers will be exploring travel destinations through AR by 2018.view in my roomers.
The use of AR technology on sites such as Snapchat, for Facebook stories and in games such as Pokémon Go has fostered awareness of the potential capabilities. View in My Roomers want AR incorporated more widely to create immersive experiences. According to a survey conducted by LEK Consulting, 80% of respondents were keen to use AR technology to visualise products digitally in their homes.
The rapid uptake of high-performance phones is expected in 2018, as more consumers upgrade and smartphone makers race to incorporate AR technology into their new generation devices.
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. Now, if companies do not provide tangible proof of their practices, Sleuthy Shoppers will turn to independent online sources for information.
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 (see The Borrowers trend). The shift in focus from possessions to experiences is changing purchasing patterns, and driving buyers to connect with the product creation process. For some, merely to own is unrefined, but I-Designers, participating in creation, design and build, are seen as sophisticated connoisseurs.
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.
The trend originated from the basic premise of student housing, driven by the rising cost of real estate in urban centres. Co-living communities typically provide short-term accommodation and host various events for their inhabitants. They may consist of students, entrepreneurs, artists or even Baby Boomers, who find themselves mortgage-free with no familial responsibilities; able to downsize, move around and live out their older years in the way that suits them best.
10 years on from the credit crunch which heralded the start of the Great Recession, the frugal mindset of consumers remains entrenched. Despite improving economies, rising incomes and falling unemployment, the gap between rich and poor is highly visible, and those caught between low pay / meagre state benefits and high living costs are still struggling to cope with austerity. Those at the bottom of the pyramid remain mired in poverty, with many relying on foodbanks, second-hand items and value-based retail formats to make ends meet. Precarious employment means many others, not traditionally classified as poor, find themselves struggling to cope.