As an increasing number of consumers demand products and services to meet their specific needs, companies are racing to build bespoke offerings to avoid being left behind. As tech advances, industries are rushing headlong into the new market for personalisation, in some cases without understanding the motivations of the clients they are trying to satisfy. Euromonitor International’s Megatrends series examines these Personalisation Seekers to determine where this concept is heading and who will drive demand moving forward.
The rise of Personalisation Seekers
Although longstanding, the demand for personalised and customised approaches has accelerated in recent years, for supply- and demand-side reasons. Consumers have greater information about their individual interests, lifestyles, health, nutrition and body through wearables, monitors, and AI- and digital learning-based tools. Companies are developing approaches that advance this concept across consumer goods and services, allowing for prices to decrease enough for these products to serve other consumers than a niche, luxury target audience.
Euromonitor International classifies consumers who are demanding more bespoke products and services as “Personalisation Seekers”.
Over 50% of consumers globally prefer goods or services uniquely tailored for them
Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyle Survey 2022
Personalisation Seekers are typically evenly divided between males and females. They skew younger, although not at dramatic rates, implying that there are ample opportunities to engage consumers at scale for most ages or genders. Personalisation Seekers are considerably more likely to be married or in a civil partnership than have any other type of marital status, including being single.
Most significantly, Personalisation Seekers are likely to have higher household incomes than other consumers. Among the highest earning cohorts, Personalisation Seekers represent an overwhelming majority: 56% of the richest respondents (household income above USD168,600), 59% of respondents with household income between USD112,101 and USD168,600, and 64% of respondents with household income between USD89,601 and USD112,100. Personalisation Seekers have the money to act on their demands for more tailored products and services and have the collective purchasing power to afford niche and innovative approaches that help them in this quest.
Personalisation Seekers and consumer goods
Personalisation Seekers are quite knowledgeable about the consumer products with which they engage. Compared to other consumer groups, Personalisation Seekers are most likely to agree or strongly agree with sentiments such as “I like to try new products and services” (78%) and “I extensively research the products and services I consume” (74%).
Personalisation Seekers want new products and services and will switch when they face disappointment or dissatisfaction with an existing approach
Trying to sell these consumers an offering that does not perform as advertised is a risky endeavour that will lead to customer attrition, while well-designed bespoke products will prove sticky.Industries such as beauty and personal care, apparel and footwear, and consumer health are setting the pace for development of personalised options, building interest through technological development (how far the underlying technology has advanced to where products and services are able to be commercialised at scale), consumer acceptance (how eager consumers are to engage with personalised alternatives), and the degree of individualisation (building unique personalised products developed for an individual rather than more broadly customised around consumer groups).
Within beauty and personal care, this has taken the form of increasingly sophisticated digital approaches using questionnaires, virtual consultations and diagnostics, AI recommendations, and, at the leading edge of innovation, truly bespoke formulations that use big data and hyper-personalised approaches such as DNA and skin microbiome mapping. Personalisation Seekers demand much more from the truly personalised products with which they engage in this space. To justify the considerably higher price, they require considerably better performance and demonstrated efficacy.
Apparel and footwear has also invested considerably in personalised efforts to build bespoke products for everyday consumers. By employing novel manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, apparel and footwear companies can economically produce custom and complex products for consumers. Underlying this is a group of Personalisation Seekers for whom truly unique and customised products are a sign of discernment and cultural significance. Both market leaders, such as Nike and Levi’s, as well as niche operations, including Sweden’s Size & Fit, are innovating on these fronts.
The marketplace for vitamins and dietary supplements is only marginally behind beauty and apparel in terms of innovation around personalisation. Improvements to technology in the form of refined diagnostics and tracking, microbiome mapping and genomics, as well as investments from both start-ups and market leaders, are driving development. Although on the whole still niche, these personalised approaches are increasingly being met by a growing base of intrepid consumers who are knowledgeable about supplements and actively seeking specific ingredients when choosing supplements.
Read Euromonitor International’s briefing, Megatrends: Personalisation, for further analysis on the drivers of personalisation across consumer goods.