Technological advances over the course of this year will continue to influence how consumers browse and buy inside and outside a merchant environment. Euromonitor reviews emerging fast-moving trends we expect to gain traction in the year ahead, providing insight into changing consumer values and priorities and exploring how consumer behaviour is shifting and causing disruption for business globally.


We are becoming wiser! “Everyone’s an Expert” expresses the switch in power between retailer and consumer. Previously shoppers relied on a certain brand or information source to get what they wanted, now companies must constantly innovate, drive prices down and streamline and aestheticize their offerings to entice shoppers. At the root of the “Everyone’s an Expert” trend is the almost compulsive need for digital consumers to absorb and share information. As internet retailing continues to increase globally, all industries will have to adapt to consumers’ new demands to stay relevant.


We are becoming more self-sufficient! The focus of “I Can Look After Myself” is the preventative, consumable measures against illness, unhappiness and discomfort that people can take without having to consult a professional. They make use of apps and personalization services to create a product uniquely for them without the need to constantly engage with social media and brand marketing. Being able to ‘look after yourself’ is seen as a luxury that allows people to be more versatile and expand their possibilities. Dictating, designing and personalizing your life allows you to be more flexible.


We demand immediacy! Efficiency-driven lifestyles transcend instant gratification. “I Want it Now!” consumers seek frictionless experiences that mesh with their lifestyles, allowing them to dedicate more time to their professional or social lives. Central to this concern is the management of user data and a company’s access to this data. The public’s trust toward this access and how it will be used will ultimately determine the longevity of this trend.


We want authenticity, for show! “Back to Basics for Status” consumers are searching for authentic, differentiated products and experiences, which allow them to express their individuality. Consumers in developed economies are re-evaluating their spending habits, moving away from overt materialism to simplicity, authenticity and individuality. As emerging economies develop further, the same pattern is likely to emerge, with consumers tiring of generic products and starting to place more value on higher quality, unique and differentiated offerings, which convey a certain level of status.


We want to affect our world! The push for a plastic-waste-free society has gained momentum over the past 12 months, and in 2019, “I Want a Plastic-free World” will grow further. The durability of plastic packaging is being scrutinized because of plastic’s polluting presence, post-consumer use, as waste in the global environment. Consumers will increasingly use their wallets to protest the irresponsible use of plastic, which could, in turn, create a virtuous circle where industry, from food and beverages to beauty and personal care manufacturers and beyond, stand to gain by improving sustainability.


We want to be thoughtful! Today’s “Conscious Consumer” is flexible and chooses for the moment. What used to be the domain of ethically positioned niche producers is now being embraced by conventional companies through higher welfare alternatives of existing products. “Conscious Consumers” are influential, and the trend will spread to others. Animal welfare concerns will evolve further and extend to other industries beyond food, beauty and fashion, to home care, home furnishings, pet food and so on. The meaning of responsible business is shifting, demanding companies improve minimum animal welfare standards even for regular products.


We are intentional! The fear of missing out has now given place to the re-appropriation of self-time as people find joy in missing out. To protect their mental wellbeing, “Finding My JOMO” consumers want to be more intentional with their time, to set their own boundaries and be more selective in their activities. Globally, millennials feel the need for this re-empowerment more strongly than other generations. Planned disconnection provides them with time to reflect and to act freely, focusing on what they really want and enjoy doing. And in developing markets, reliance on the internet may be the origin of higher stress levels, especially when being connected is so linked to essential services.


We can really be together, digitally! The growing ubiquity of high-speed internet, particularly the acceleration of mobile internet, is driving live interactive experiences online and facilitating collaboration on large files instantly. From dating to education, we have grown to expect more authentic, life-like interactions online. As our technological capabilities and comfort using them grow, so will the range of things we can do “Digitally Together”. Our growing comfort with sharing our friends, location and activities online will only lead to the development of new ways to engage. As our technological capabilities and comfort using them grows, so will the potential of what can be created or experienced together, remotely.


But we have never been more alone! Globally, the number of single-person households will outpace the growth of all other household sizes, and baby boomers are expected to comprise a large share of this growth. While baby boomers may have been well known for the high rate of divorce among their cohort, many of those in the younger generations have rejected marriage and cohabitation altogether. They are setting the stage for a trend that is bound to outdate their generation. People across the world are bucking the stigma of living alone and embracing their independent lifestyles and enjoying “Loner Living”. The Pew Research Center estimates that by the time today’s US young adults turn 50, 25% of them will have been single their whole life.


We are ageless! “Age Agnostics” don’t hold with conforming to demographic expectations—everyone connects. The key to winning and retaining loyalty and trust is to develop products and services that are universally accessible even while designed with older people in mind. Baby boomers have much more in common with the values and priorities of millennials and younger generations then many realize, and it is this inclusive mindset that needs to be better understood and catered for in the future. Universal and welcoming, it is about taking care of oneself and focusing on prevention and enjoyment of life. Balancing mental, spiritual and physical is the priority here.

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