Top 10 consumer trends for 2018

By Sarah Stowe | 16 Jan 2018 View comments

What will be driving consumer choices in 2018? The latest report predicts 10 top global consumer trends for the year ahead, revealing continued disruption for business. Leading the way in shaping change, mobile technology and access to the internet.

There’s an expectation of boosted consumer expenditure, the greatest growth since 2011, but with minimalist and cost-conscious overtones, benefiting budget retailers in particular.

Alison Angus, head of lifestyles research at Euromonitor, and author of the report Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018 [emerging forces shaping consumer behaviour], writes “Consumers of all ages want and need less. Ownership is under question, and flexible, minimalist living is gaining popularity, with consumers sharing everything from clothing, household items and pets through to cars and living spaces.”

There’s a growing preference for what Angus calls “entrepreneurial lifestyles on the road” and a general distrust for business.

“Talking about sustainability and social responsibility is no longer enough, and in 2018 consumers will seek more radical transparency from brands.”

The trend for customisation deepens with consumers interacting with the design and production of products.

Here are the 10 top trends

1. Clean lifers

These abstemious, stay-at-home consumers are clean living: think increasing sobriety, rejecting animal-based products, saying no to reckless spending, embracing multi-generational travel, early morning yoga raves.

2. The borrowers

Community-minded sharers are rejecting conspicuous consumption, and this is not just millennials but Baby Boomers, who are downsizing in favour of flexibility.

Renting goods is becoming more popular as affordability, convenience and sustainability drives these consumers who use technology to seek more efficiencies in shared services.

3. Call-out culture

Hashtag activism sees empowered consumers call brands to account and petition for change. Consumer opinion is not just social-media based, customers are boycotting or buying from brands according to their corporate values.

4. It’s in the DNA

Consumers want to know what makes them special – quite literally. They are seeking genetic information that helps them with health, fitness, nutrition, skincare. Businesses utilising this include wine selection based on customer genes and meals to suit DNA profiles.

5. Adaptive entreprenuers

Great news for franchising – there’s a strong trend for self-employment as consumers reject traditional 9-5 working models and are prepared to take risks. Macroeconomic factors, lifestyle changes and the internet are encouraging alternative ways of working. Consumers are more adaptable and seek adaptable brands.

6. View in my roomers

Consumers want to connecting the digital and the physical  – visualising products before they try and looking for  immersive experiences. Greater technical functionality in smartphones drives this trend and augmented reality is key. Global internet retailing is expected to increase by 13 per cent in 2018.

7. Sleuthy shoppers

Say hello to investigative consumers. From Gen X to Gen Z, these consumers draw battle lines and brands are either friend or foe. Transparency is key: the purchasing journey starts with the supply chain and consumers want to be comfortable with the final product.

8. I-designers

Think re-evaluated spending habits, the sharing economy and the desire to create. The result is personalised products that match the consumer’s desire for authenticity and a mindful approach to purchasing. These consumers want to get their hands dirty – as long as the process is easy.

9. Co-living

Shared living, shared resources, shared interests – these consumers are disrupting real estate with an alternative approach to urban living.

10. The survivors

Consumers remain frugal, even 10 years on from the GFC and despite improving economies. Second-hand outlets and budget retailers are helping cash-strapped consumer make ends meet.