Conscientious consumers can express themselves in varying degrees, according to Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018.
With shoppers of all ages wanting and needing less, “ownership is under question,” and flexible, minimalist living is gaining ground as consumers share everything from clothing, cars, bicycles, household items, pets and living spaces, according to Alison Angus, head of lifestyles research.
As more balk at corporate 9-5 jobs in favor of entrepreneurial on-the-road lives, “distrust in business continues to escalate,” according to Angus. Last year’s Euromonitor International Global Consumer Trends survey showed that nearly 50 percent of respondents across all generations aspire to being self-employed. Talking about sustainability and social responsibility is no longer enough, and in 2018 consumers will seek more radical transparency from brands.” Angus wrote. BlackRock’s chief executive officer Larry Fink is in synch with the ideology, having challenged leading chief executive officer’s Tuesday to serve a social purpose beyond just making money.
As evidenced by the #MeToo initiative, hashtag activism is expected to gain momentum globally for an assortment of causes. “Overall, 2018 will see consumers continuing to question their values, priorities and purchasing decisions; deepening their engagement in the brands and issues that matter to them.” Angus wrote. “The desire for uniqueness and true authenticity is driving customization to a new level, with consumers becoming the creators in 2018, feeding into the design of products and becoming involved in the production process.”
Leading this year’s trends are “Clean Lifers,” healthy, vegetarian-leaning teetotalers who favor moderation and integrity. This new generation of “ straight-edge” consumers, many of whom are educated 20-to-30-year-olds have a wider world view than previous generations. Alcohol-free music festivals, early morning fitness raves, collective meditation events and intergenerational vacations are their sort of fun.
Ranking second is The Borrowers — community–minded sharers, renters, swappers, streamers and subscribers. With an estimated 55 percent of the world’s population living in cities last year, urbanization is a factor in the sharing economy. Number-three is the “Call Out Culture” — hashtag activists, e-petitioners and other social media renegades. A Sprout Social survey in 2017 found that 46 percent of U.S. consumers voiced an opinion about a brand online. Also, when they saw a complaint on social media, 65 percent of consumers said they would research the brand before buying it, while 32 percent would reinforce the message by liking or sharing it.
Fourth is “It’s in the DNA — I’m So Special” — genonomics will get more traction in the beauty, personalized health and fitness sectors. Fifth is “Adaptive Entrepreneurs,” partial to Innov8, WeWork and other flexible work spaces, these consumers “are not brand-defined—they want to take risks and remain distinctly independent.” Angus wrote.
The sixth leading trend is “View in My Roomers,” who will be able to visualize products before they try or buy them online or in stores. Last year’s introduction of more sophisticated smartphones will give them greater access to augmented reality too. Seventh is “Sleuthy Shoppers,” whose skepticism about mass-produced products and the companies’ motives will be turned into action. Eighth is “I-Designers,” fueled partially by working-age older millennials and Gen X-ers who are reconsidering their spending habits.
“Co-Living” is the ninth most important trend and Millennials and over-65s have helped to get it there. Tenth is “The Survivors” — the cautious spenders who haven’t forgotten the 2007 financial crisis despite rising incomes, declining unemployment rates and improving fiscal health.
Angus said, “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. This is in part why the in-store shopping experience remains appealing, and in 2017, 88 percent of global sales in value terms were still made in-store. In 2018 consumer expenditure is expected to grow at its strongest rate since 2011. Overall 2018 will see consumers continuing to question their values, priorities and purchasing decisions; deepening their engagement in the brands and issues that matter to them.”