Top 10 Global consumer trends for 2017

Consumers are now more demanding of products, services and brands than ever before and are using digital tools to articulate and fulfil their needs. Euromonitor sees the following trends, emerging worldwide.

 

Ageing

In 2017, 25% of the world population will be over the age of 50, a record number.

These consumers aged over 50 are transforming what it means to be older in terms of lifestyle and are more demanding in their consumption needs. New business ideas for the baby boomer market include chefs, online dating sites and yoga instructors for those with health issues. “Midorexia” is a label for the middle-aged and older consumers who acts younger than their years. This label highlights the shifting status and needs of a consumer groups living and working for longer.  Some big and prestigious companies such as Goldman Sachs and PWC now organize re-entry internships programs for ‘older people’. Fashion campaigns continue pushing older role models. Technology is becoming an obvious opportunity for the soon booming “Longevity economy” with robotic and AI derived technologies that will help older consumers take better care of themselves in their own homes.

 

 

Consumers in training

Younger “consumers in training” have a voice that goes beyond “pester power” (the ability of children to pressure their parents into buying them things). This gives them a more active role in what is purchased, often turning them into functioning in-house shopping consultants. Children are navigating the digital world including e-commerce with ease.

 

Extraordinary consumers who fall into atypical consumer categories in terms of height, weight, dietary needs, physical ability … are pushing to see their needs better met. This is for example leading to fashion sizing for “real people” (global plus-size market is growing in line with the increasing obese population).  The “Healthwear” is an apparel niche that offers solution-based fashion design for ill and disabled consumers.

 

Faster shopping: in 2017 consumers are impatient, “IWWIWWIWI” – “I want what I want when I want it”. Consumers want to shop faster and secure their convenience. As an answer to rapid convenience Amazon is working on ‘an under 30 minute home delivery service’ using drones. “Proximity-aware tech” is growing in popularity and getting more sophisticated. It enables retailers to send relevant and personalized messaged to passers-buy, by sending alerts from in-store beacons directly to their mobiles phones. Many consumers find these targeted and more relevant promotions less irritating than regular ads as they are being contacted within a specific context where they can act upon.

 

Get real: the allure of authenticity

Authenticity is a standout consumer value in 2017, heralded by everyone from change makers and celebrities to supermarkets and chefs. Visual culture in an age of digital communications is at the forefront of discussions about authenticity. Social media and selfie culture have affected insecurity about appearance, exacerbating body dysmorphia in some. The Japanese concept wabi-sabi is advocating the beauty to be found in imperfection and the authentic. Different industries are adapting their offering around this “get real trend”: ranging from authentic holiday experiences, outdoor sport experiences, ‘natural’ fashion items to food experiences.

 

Identity in flux

The 2017 consumer is harder to characterize as the nature of identity itself is in flux. The existing tensions between global versus local have been highlighted by the migrant crisis, which questions national identity. Additionally, individuals are showing a more elastic understanding of ethnicity and sexual identity. Brands are forced to rethink who their audiences really are within different countries. The “We before me trend” arises among younger consumers, confirming an aspiration towards altruism and a smaller ego.

 

Personalise it

2017 consumers expect elements of personalisation in mass produced as well as upscale items. The so-called “Experential luxury” is the shift from purchasing luxury goods to enjoying services. A shift from “having to being”. With the new infinite capacity to gather client information, customers expect brands to fulfill and even predict their needs. Personalisation is also about adding a personal face to a brand. Popular clothing etailer ASOS (as seen on screen) has an #AsSeenOnMe feature in which shoppers can “Get inspired by how other customers have styled this item” and add their own look to the gallery.

 

Post-purchase

In 2017, shoppers pay more attention to their post-purchase experience. Post-purchase contact with the company’s representatives, the medium and the tone of the response become critical parts of the customer journey, shaping their view of the business.

With online reviews, customers influence the post-purchase experience. This online sharing of buying experiences is considered as a new source of consumer power.

 

Privacy & security

The 2017 consumer wants safety in a perceived volatile world, particularly for its nearest and dearest, and is looking to tech tools as aids in this quest.

 

Wellness as status symbol

The desire to be fit and healthier seems to be almost universal. Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness sessions, “athleisure” clothing, food with health-giving properties and upscale health and wellness holidays.

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

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