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How Three of the Top Global Consumer Trends Are Impacting the Way We Eat, Pay and Travel

8/27/2021
Caroline Bremner Profile Picture
Caroline Bremner Bio
Jared Koerten Profile Picture
Jared Koerten Bio
Kendrick Sands Profile Picture
Kendrick Sands Bio
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How Three of the Top Global Consumer Trends Are Impacting the Way We Eat, Pay and Travel

Caroline Bremner, Jared Koerten, Kendrick Sands

At the beginning of the year, our expert analysts identified the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends that would have the biggest impact on consumer behaviour in 2021. Today, we are looking back at three trends, Outdoor Oasis, Shaken and Stirred and Thoughtful Thrifters, and their impact on payments, travel and dining.

Outdoor Oasis Impact on Travel

As travel halted, consumers sought closer-to-home activities, leading to a strong uptake in nature and outdoor experiences. With a drop of international tourism spending by 75% in 2020, recovery is set to take at least five years. Consumers quickly adapted to the new normal, and 2021 will continue to be characterised by staycations, glamping, adventure travel and immersion in nature. 

Climate-smart and community-focused strategies are being prioritised, balancing the needs of rural and urban areas, to build strong foundations for future success based on the 1.5°c pathway. As borders reopen in line with mass vaccinations and digital health passports, consumers will opt for beach and rural locations over urban centres.

imagebvg8n.pngSource: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January 2021

Shaken and Stirred Impact on Food and Dining

The pandemic redefined eating experiences as billions of foodservice occasions shifted into homes. The experiential elements of food retail like sampling have also been notably diminished.

However, consumers still crave meaningful experiences with their food. People rediscovered the joys of baking at home and cooking with family. Restaurants pivoted to delivery or developing ready meals, meal kits or fully prepared food at retail stores. Digital tastings and cooking classes recreate the restaurant experience at home.

Packaged food brands are also finding new ways to incorporate experiential elements into their offerings. Moving forward, consumers will place an even greater value on foods that can help deliver a culinary experience.

Thoughtful Thrifters Impact on Consumer Finance

COVID-19 accelerated the shift of consumer payments away from cash and increased the use of pay-now card functions as consumers embraced more cautious spending patterns. 

Thoughtful Thrifters are spending less overall, including reducing their revolving debt carried on credit cards. Consumer credit utilisation rates did not reach pre-recession levels for nearly a decade after 2009, illustrating the longevity of consumer mindset shifts.


Financial card rewards are also shifting as card issuers appeal to the consumer preference of value over experience-based rewards. For example, targeted rewards for spending on consumer staples are replacing these traditional rewards, including travel.

imagemgcx.pngSource: Euromonitor International

A growing number of digital banks are empowering consumers to manage their savings dynamically beyond what commercial banks can offer. The Nigerian digital savings and investment platform PiggyVest introduced Flex Dollar in October 2019, which aims to protect consumers’ money from devaluation. Flex Dollar enables users to save, transfer or withdraw their money in US dollars, with the option of transferring their money back to naira at any time.

Consumer-centric to people-centric strategies

We are still living with many uncertainties; businesses must continue to rethink and evolve their strategies. One core focus area is moving from a consumer-centric to people-centric strategy. Businesses must put people at the core of their strategies, not just the consumer, but also employees, suppliers, partners and communities and embrace the shift towards more caring, inclusive values.

Learn more about how the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 are impacting consumer goods and services in our Expert Opinions and in Action Case Studies report.

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