Consumers’ values and priorities are undergoing significant transformation, impacting all aspects of their lives from eating and drinking, to their health, homes and shopping choices. Historically trends have been influenced by business, however, consumers themselves are now shaping the trends that will impact both in the year ahead and in the longer-term. For businesses, it is important to keep up to date with the shifting consumer landscape and the factors driving this in-order to remain relevant, competitive and leverage new opportunities.
The Shifting Landscape
The global demographic make-up continues to evolve as younger generations have greater influence from an earlier age and older generations live longer. The last of the millennials have entered the workforce and becoming the key spending cohort, but they are playing by new rules. The older of generation Z are following closely in their footsteps, just starting to enter the workforce, but already hugely influential.
Understanding the needs and desires of these consumer groups is paramount for business, particularly given their desire to do things differently. Business needs to go beyond just understanding these specific generation groups but need to be able to break these down further to understand variances within these such as age, gender or regional differences.
Hyperconnectivity is giving individuals access to more information than ever before, educating them on evolving social, cultural and political landscapes. This is developing greater self-awareness, helping consumers to make more informed decisions. Continued rapid technological advancements are opening doors for all consumers around the world, presenting both challenges and opportunities across industries and markets.
Companies and organisations can use lifestyles insights to identify and profile consumer segments and develop targeted products and marketing strategies. Companies can keep in touch with the most prominent trends and how they may impact on their business as well as how these are likely to change in the future.
This article highlights some of the key lifestyles changes and common ways businesses use this information in their strategy.
Millennials Spending More Time Together as a Family
Millennials are finally settling down and becoming parents themselves. These new parents value spending time with their children and family more so than previous generations, invested in building close relationships with them and keeping up-to-date on the latest trends that are happening in their children’s lives. This takes many forms, from volunteering at their children’s school, watching their favourite TV shows or taking classes with their children, millennial parents are more involved in many aspects of their children’s lives; enabled by shifting workplace environments and greater flexibility.
Companies that offer flexible work patterns are more appealing to millennial parents. Millennials have relied on their own parents much more than previous generations, valuing their advice and opinions. Many of them like spending time with family, often living with them longer, taking holidays and socialising together more than any other previous generation. This continues as millennials have their own children, prioritising spending time not only with their immediate family, but also their extended family. Since grandparents and grandchildren are much closer, brands and companies need to ensure that they understand close-knit family dynamics, as well as how to appeal to the whole family instead of individual members.
Changing Role’s for Men and Women in the Home
There is a slow shift in gender balance in household incomes which is changing women’s attitudes to family roles. Women are moving away from their traditional role as the main homemaker and childcare provider towards more shared responsibilities, whereby men take on more of the chores and childcare. Modern men are embracing this, and, in some cases, this is total role reversal, where women are the only members of the family working, and men opt to be the stay-at-home person in the relationship. As a result, men are increasingly influencing household spending, from weekly shopping to home design. Brands can benefit from appealing to men’s preference for aesthetic designs, especially in the kitchen, which is evolving into the new “man cave”. Opportunities for smart appliances are also increasing, as both male and female home-makers seek efficient solutions that give them more quality time with their families.
Betterment plays a key role in shaping consumer cultural values
Cultural factors play an important part in the shifting consumer values as more consumers seek betterment in all they do. They are becoming more understanding and kinder individuals as global issues such as poverty, terrorism and human rights are deepening social consciousness. As communities become more diverse, there is growing understanding of differing cultures, traditions and religious beliefs, and awareness of many shared values and ideals.
This is resulting in consumers making choices that are increasingly influenced by ethics, inclusion, diversity, welfare and equality. There is increasing anxiety about global issues, particularly among younger people who are spending more time with family, seeking out safe space in the family home. In the work place, flexibility is a key motivator for individuals pursuing work-life balance, as are broader issues including working environment, employment rights and income and role equality. This is important not just as employees but also as consumers.
Keeping ahead of shifts in consumer lifestyles and understanding future preferences and buying behaviours is important to business strategy, particularly given today’s complex demographic landscape. Consumer lifestyles helps companies decode consumers and build knowledge on consumption habits, from eating, drinking and shopping to the use of technology and shifting habits and values across different generations, cultures and geographies. Not being aware of the key consumer trends and segmentation can easily leave companies vulnerable. Lifestyles insights inform business and provide the tools to succeed and develop tailored market positioning and path to market strategies.