Convenience and personal control will be the biggest consumer trends of 2020, according to the latest report released by Euromonitor International. It suggests while consumers aim to strike a balance between the two, brands must balance trust, security and delivering products that add value.
Euromonitor International’s consumer trends report is released each year and identifies the emerging and fast-moving trends that are expected around the world for the year ahead. It explores changing consumer values, as well as the shift in consumer behaviour, which can disrupt businesses globally.
The report states that consumers are being given the chance to “engage on an equal level and have their cultural identity respected. They want to have an impact on the changing physical environment and are beginning to value their own mental wellbeing”.
It also found consumers may be required to “relinquish personal control” in order to achieve greater convenience, as well as finding the advantages technology can bring to everyday life, and shorter, personalised content, which may mean consumers must trade their data privacy to achieve desirable benefits.
Euromonitor highlights that new circular business models offering ‘more with less’ through sharing, reusing, refilling and renting, thanks to sustainability leaders and an increase in environmental awareness. The Reuse Revolutionaries trend, particularly for younger generations, sees a priority of experiences over ownership where consumers are avoiding waste generation and appealing to more ethical practices by embracing sustainability through longer-lasting products.
More than 89 million tonnes of material were extracted from the global economy in 2018, Euromonitor reports, while only nine per cent were being recirculated, meaning 91 per cent of materials were put to waste, according to the 2019 Circulatory Gap Report.
“The Reuse Revolutionaries trend embodies two themes: recycle and refill,” said global head of packaging at Euromonitor International Rosemarie Downey.
“First, the recycling of plastic bottles for repeated use is an important facet to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and enable a lower carbon footprint. Second, refillable containers are rising, as seen in the expansion of free water refill stations and reusable packaging initiatives from foodservice and retail establishments.”
Downey said circularity is here to stay, as the Reuse Revolutionaries trend signals a waste-free future for safety of the planet and human health, in which “brands should be mindful of these needs”.
Euromonitor predicts that virtual assistants, smart devices, chatbots, unmanned factories and AI-driven applications will be penetrating business operations, supply chain logistics and consumers’ lives.
Humans are increasingly accepting certain tasks to be performed by robots or other AI, however complete trust and universal access by this technology will take more time, the report states.
According to Euromonitor International’s 2018 Digital Consumer Industry Insights Survey, AI and robotics / automation were ranked two of the top three technologies impacting business over the next five years.
“Robots and humans will sit side by side. The industrial world will still be the main driver in robot adoption as the world struggles with an ageing society and faces an increasing cost of labour,” said Euromonitor International head of consumer electronics Loo Wee Tek.
“Backed by maturing algorithms and machine learning, AI-driven robotics is a tool to achieve precise automation and avoid manmade risks in a wide range of industrial situations, especially manufacturing, assembly and logistics.
Proudly Local, Going Global
This trend captures the consumer desire to “adopt and appeal to a sense of individuality and growing national identity from local inspiration”.
It identifies a growing expectation from multinationals to respond to local culture, social norms and consumers habits appropriately and creatively.
Euromonitor reports that food and beverages are among the leading industries for local production, as 85 per cent of production is sold within the producer’s nation on average. It found smaller factories closer to the end consumer are superseding multinational megafactories, which is aligning with environmental priorities and retreating from globalisation.
“In emerging markets, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, consumers are becoming wealthier, with a strong emerging middle class,” said Justinas Liuima, lead industry analyst at Euromonitor International.
“They do not necessarily want the same products or brands as everyone else. There is a desire to connect with local traditions and culture, often starting with fashion, music and cuisine. This reconnection with one’s authentic roots is key in the Proudly Local, Going Global trend in emerging markets.”
Traditional drinking and eating habits are changing. Euromonitor highlights that consumers are seeking more outcome-based goods to address mental wellbeing needs and prevent physiological effects of stress, worry and sleeplessness, and turning away from stimulants and substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
“Products positioned for mood enhancement, relaxation, stress- and anxiety-relief and boosting brain function are increasingly prevalent across a range of industries from soft drinks to cosmetics,” the report found.
Inclusive for All
More companies are reframing products and services to be accessible for everyone and representing individual consumers beyond the mainstream. Euromonitor suggest that brands are catering to those with physical or mental disabilities, unlocking the potential for an “Inclusive for All business model”.
Around one billion people around the world live with some form of disability, according to the World Health Organisation. Euromonitor suggests diversity will become a measurement of relevance for a brand, where Inclusive for All will become a new norm.
Independent beauty brand Kohl Kreatives in the UK has tailored makeup tools for cancer patients and individuals with impaired motor skills. Its products feature free-standing brushes with easy-group handles and bendable heads to help those in the physical disability experience the beauty industry without the harmful stereotypes.
Consumer expectation for brands to tailor products and services to them often means they must “surrender more of their personal information to optimise their experience”.
More companies are investing algorithms and data collection to achieve precise marketing so that consumers can spend less time researching products in return.
Senior industry manager, digital consumer, at Euromonitor International, Michelle Evans, said that whether consumers would be willing to give up more privacy in exchange for more personalised experiences is a major conundrum in the corporate world.
“In general, consumers are becoming aware that their every move is being tracked by the devices that have brought so much convenience to their life,” she said.
“In general, connected consumers are choosing to unplug more regularly, which is one way of controlling the ability of brands to track their every move. Many are opting for a moderate, balanced approach that ensures one’s digital wellbeing remains intact while still being tethered to the internet.”
Catch Me in Seconds
Consumers are accessing “immense amounts” of information with fewer barriers in only a swipe, click and scroll.
Euromonitor suggests brands and platforms are producing “catching and speedy content by launching offerings in multisensory and quick form for instant gratification”.
More brands are investing in video and AI to shorten as, as 50 per cent of shoppers confirm video content helps in the brand and selection process, according to Google.
Advertisements which blend naturally in social feeds, such as on Instagram, offers opportunity fo greater online engagement.
“The Catch Me in Seconds trend has evolved and become stronger as technology, both accessibility and usage, has made it possible to deliver instant information and functionality to users,” said Amanda Bourlier, consultant at Euromonitor International.
“Consumers expect brands to make their information, product or service as accessible as possible in a short timeframe to compete with other demands.”
Euromonitor also highlighted Frictionless Mobility, We Want Clean Air Everywhere and Multifunctional Homes as trends to look out for in 2020. To read the full report, visit here.