Thoughtful, intentional and wise are some of the key personality attributes revealed by Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends report, which also identified a growing “age agnosticism” percolating in communities as well as a larger number of people who are more environmentally aware.
Researchers at the firm also found a common thread weaving throughout their findings: intelligence. “How we live is so centrally dependent on the choices available that the biggest issue we face is how to make sense of it all,” the report’s authors noted. “Simplifying your options, having smooth purchasing experiences, being mindful and ultimately opting out altogether are all intrinsic.”
Topping the list of trends is the “Age Agnostic” consumer, which report authors Alison Angus and Gina Westbrook said is driven by the fact that people are living longer and more healthy lives.
“Age Agnostics no longer have a passive attitude toward aging, and this is especially true in wealthier developed countries with decent health-care systems and social conditions,” they noted. “Baby Boomers [born between 1946 and 1964] are the generation with the most disregard for age. They do not think of themselves as old, and they most definitely do not want to be referred to in those terms. For example, more affluent Baby Boomers have been shown to be just as obsessed with technology, including tracking the latest apps and smart devices, as Millennials.”
Baby Boomers will also continue to spend money as they live longer and contribute to society in other ways. In regard to businesses that are already keying into this trend, Euromonitor cited companies such as electric bikemaker Cobac from Germany and mental trainer app Cognifit.
Other notable trends on the list include “Back to Basics for Status” where having less means much more to consumers.
“Consumers are rejecting the mass-produced and generic and in 2019 will favor products positioned as simplified, back to basics and of better quality, with an implied level of status,” Angus and Westbrook said. “From the rise of ‘locavores’ seeking hyper-local food, to eco-luxe glamping holiday experiences, from craft spirits and beer to homemade baby food and artisan beauty, consumers are searching for authentic, differentiated products and experiences which allow them to express their individuality.”
Dovetailing with this trend is the “Conscious Consumer” and “I Want a Plastic Free World” behavioral cohorts. The latter is seen by the growing number of countries and municipalities banning single-use plastic to address a global microplastics pollution problem.
With the “Conscious Consumer” the focus is on the environment as well as taking care of other humans and animals via veganism.
“Veganism, the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products for any purpose, was once regarded as confined to extremists but is increasingly adopted by a wide range of people,” the authors noted. “They range from the health-conscious to those concerned with animal welfare to those who see how the environment is negatively affected by industrial meat production.”
Euromonitor said social media has accelerated and amplified the message, and has brought veganism to the “forefront of consumers’ minds.”
“It is for everyone and has become cool, endorsed by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus and Chinese pop singer Long Kuan,” the firm said. “It is no longer seen as a choice for life with total eradication of animal-based products with today’s Conscious Consumers having a more flexible approach to their consumption and choosing to be vegan — or flexitarian — for one meal, one or two days a week.”
The other trends cited include “Digital Together” and “Everyone’s An Expert” where technology connects and fosters collective intelligence — locally and globally. “Loner Living” and “I Can Look After Myself” were trends that focused on creating more independence — even as people age. The remaining trends rounding out the list included “I Want It Now!” and “Finding My Jomo” — the former reflecting preferences for having products and services when and where people want it.
Similarly, “JOMO” is the “Joy of Missing Out,” where the locus of the consumer behavior lies on satisfying a need. Here, it is to set boundaries.
“Boundaries between work and life are blurred and so are those separating the private sphere and the social,” the authors said. “Social networks give the illusion that we all should be doing something exciting and saying — or posting — something for others to acknowledge. The fear of missing out, or being left out, has given place to the reappropriation of self-time. To protect their mental wellbeing, consumers want to be more intentional with their time, to set their own boundaries and be more selective in their activities.”