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In 2017, Euromonitor International identified 20 “megatrends” that help define what is shaping consumer behavior. This week, the firm released a “State of Play” report on eight of those trends and found that while the trends identified remain relevant, the pace of change shaping them is accelerating.

The megatrends examined include “shifting market frontiers” experiential activities, the “retreating” middle class, ethical living, healthy living (and wellness), the reinventing of shopping, the connected consumer and “premiumization.”

Researchers at Euromonitor said as consumer behavior changes, the emphasis continues to be “placed on experience over possessions” along with a growing interest in “healthy and ethical living.” The drivers influencing this behavior include shifting economic forces, population change and environmental “shifts and pressures” as well as technology and an overall change in values.

In regard to healthy living, the authors of the report said that technology and data collection, as well as changing personal values, have fueled the “healthy living megatrend.” But the trend is evolving.

“Healthy living was previously limited to diets and exercising, whereas now consumers value mental health, sustainability and ethically sourced foods as equally as important, if not, more,” researchers said in their report.

With ethical living, the focus is on brands and packaging as well as authenticity and transparency. “More and more brands have begun to work on building and implementing their sustainable and ethical strategies,” authors of the report noted. “Our 2017 white paper predicted that environmental shifts, growing pressures from a digital-savvy audience type and NGO’s would play key roles in defining the ethical shift, and statistics now show that 28 percent of consumers feel good buying eco- or ethically-conscious products and 39 percent of consumers prefer to buy fewer but higher-quality products, according to our 2019 Lifestyles Survey.”

Euromonitor cited Ikea as a case study of a brand that is responding to these consumer demands. “The 2019 grand opening of Ikea’s sustainable store allowed customers to explore best practices for reducing waste production, recycling and upcycling,” the authors said. “Their introduction of new products such as PV panel installations and battery storage solutions help users better understand the direct effects of their actions, with 54 percent of consumers selectively making purchasing decisions to have a positive impact on the world.”

Included in this megatrend are consumers who are taking action to address global environmental issues by making personal changes. This includes “living with less,” which focuses on co-living, reusing, repurposing the resale.

With the shrinking middle class, the trend plays on in several ways, and includes making “selective purchases,” which means a reduction in brand loyalty along with a shift toward buying directly from wholesalers and “bargain stores.”

Dovetailing with this trend is “premiumization,” which, Euromonitor said, “essentially comes down to [the] consumer priorities and motivations behind purchasing goods and services.”

The megatrend involves consumers “taking control of where their spending goes” and includes more personalized and convenient services.

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