Every year Euromonitor International, the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research, identifies emerging and rapidly evolving trends that are expected to gain ground in the following year. These trends provide information on the changing values ​​of consumers globally, exploring how their behaviour shifts and how this alters businesses globally. And this is what it shows in its latest report, “The 10 main global consumer trends for 2021”.

Resilience and adaptability are the forces that will drive the major global consumer trends of 2021. The pandemic created, influenced, or accelerated each of these ten trends, forever altering consumer behaviour. Despite the difficulties we faced in 2020, consumers are not giving up. They continue to find their voice and push forward the idea of ​​a better tomorrow.

So, what are the ten trends? Let’s take a closer look!

1. Rebuilding For The Better

Consumers no longer see companies as for-profit entities but instead, expect them to care beyond their income and take a proactive stance in the fight for human health and environmental sustainability. Especially the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. Businesses should lead to an economic shift that tilts the focus from volume to value. According to figures from Euromonitor International, 69% of professionals* expect consumers to increase their concern about sustainability after the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, 50% of professionals* believe that businesses should be driven by a purpose beyond mere financial gain.

2. Craving For Convenience

The second trend is a not-so-surprising fact that reveals consumers yearn for the comfort of the pre-pandemic world. They want to regain the tranquillity that was taken for granted before the arrival of Covid-19 and the consequent imposition of new restrictions. The pandemic led to many companies going out of business; those who managed to stay afloat now need to modify their operations and develop an efficient and frictionless customer experience. Companies must ensure a fast and smooth purchasing process across all channels. About 68% of consumers over 60 years of age prefer to speak to a person for inquiries. Out of stock products, limited store hours, and long lines are the main barriers to using the Click & Collect service.

3. Outdoor Oasis

Health threats, mobility restrictions, limitations to the number of people in gatherings or the increase in teleworking make consumers turn to an outdoor sanctuary for their leisure activities. In fact, many families are considering leaving the city behind and investing in rural areas. The trend points to consumers’ reconnecting with nature and changing their priority in terms of work. 54% of professionals* think that working from home will become a long-term change.

4. The “Phygital” Reality

Digital tools have helped consumers stay connected from home and facilitate safer procedures in physical stores. Phygital Reality is a hybrid between the virtual and physical worlds. Here customers can seamlessly live, work, shop and play both online and in-person. Companies can integrate virtual processes in their physical spaces to offer exciting experiences to users who prefer to stay at home. Ensuring a comfortable and engaging buying process across all channels is key to driving eCommerce sales and gathering data. The importance of omni channel is evidenced through data: 87% of consumers own a smartphone. Global e-commerce sales of personal accessories reached $ 15.8 billion in 2020.

Global Consumer Trends
Shopping Online From Safety Of Home (Representative Image, Photo credits: Andrea Piacquadio)

5. Playing With Time

The total or partial stoppage of many economic activities, the introduction of teleworking, and mobility restriction have made consumers manage their time differently. Consumers are gaining new-found flexibility by scheduling activities in an unconventional order to suit individual time demands. 51% of consumers chose “me time” among their top three life priorities. 46% of consumers value virtual experiences online. Accordingly, businesses must now provide solutions that ensure greater flexibility, especially with products and services that can be accessed from home.

6. Restless Vs Rebellious

Lower and middle-class customers are fed up; distrust of the elites and the political class has become commonplace. After caring for others and realizing that no one was doing it for them, consumers now defy misinformation and prioritize their needs. The report shows 29% of consumers today are actively involved in political and social issues.

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Businesses who wish to cater to restless and unruly consumers can do so through targeted marketing on social media and virtual gaming platforms – areas that consumers thrive as it gives them a voice and pressures social giants to take care of disinformation.

7. Safety And Hygiene Is A Priority

Another one of global consumer trends shows that consumers are now obsessed with their well-being. The fear of infection and increased health awareness amidst the pandemic drives the demand for hygiene products and has pushed consumers towards contactless solutions to avoid exposure. Even though vaccines are now rolling out globally, people still prefer contactless services, exceptional sanitation standards, and products that improve hygiene and immunity.

Accordingly, businesses should implement enhanced safety measures and innovations that target concerns to reassure consumers.

8. Shaken And Stirred

The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped everyday life, tested mental resilience, restricted experiences, and wreaked economic havoc. 73% of consumers consider that depression and mental health currently have a moderate or severe impact on their daily life. As a result, consumers are reassessing priorities and identities in the search for a fuller life. They now have a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

Businesses in the healthcare sector must provide products and services that support mental wellness and help consumers overcome adverse circumstances to gain confidence.

9. Thoughtful Spending

In 2021, consumers are budget-conscious and buy affordable, value-added products and services. 49% of consumers intended to save more in the next 12 months. Companies must offer value-added products at affordable prices without sacrificing quality. Premium attributes should be reinforced with new storytelling and have a strong link to physical and mental health and personal well-being.

10. Remote Workspaces

A new balance is found between work and personal life, as remote collaboration has redefined the traditional office environment. Around 52% of global consumers previously had a strict boundary between work or school and personal life. But teleworking has caused a domino effect, changing consumers’ consumption habits – from betting on sportswear to greater investment in technology to changes in diet.

Accordingly, companies must support work-life balance, productivity, and communication needs. Understanding the benefits and challenges of remote working will enable businesses to bring the best of the office to the home.

All in all, goal-driven initiatives resonate with consumers in 2021. Amid social unrest, consumers want facts and expect brands to act. Being compassionate and supporting mental well-being are critical attributes to driving brand loyalty. Flexibility, agility, transparency and technology is paving the way. With increasing uncertainty reshaping the world, businesses must prioritize and reinforce consumer, environmental, and safety needs to drive a brighter future.

*The term “professionals” refers to individuals/groups who were part of various surveys conducted in Jan – Dec 2020 by Euromonitor International.

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