Consumer lifestyles have come a long way since before the pandemic. In order for businesses to understand what issues are driving the attitudes, behaviour and spending habits of consumers, Euromonitor International has identified the top five trends influencing lifestyles in 2022:
- Spending squeeze
- No more 9-5 schedules
- Setting new goals
- Trust matters
- Bringing back the good times
Focus on spending squeeze
After the initial post-lockdown boom, consumers now find themselves facing a raft of new economic and financial challenges, such as rising inflation. Naturally, this has led to more conservative spending habits and an increase in budgeting, particularly around fuel usage, energy and food. More recently, the ongoing war in Ukraine has also started to create complications around product sourcing, supply and distribution across Europe.
In an environment in which cash-strapped consumers are searching for ways to cut household spending, businesses need to respond by finding innovative ways to reduce the growing pressure on their turnover, and salvage or even boost profits by:
- Investing in marketing programmes to better reflect consumers’ concerns
- Reducing dependency on third party vendors
- Creating innovative product pricing and packaging strategies
9-to-5 no more
Employees globally enjoyed a considerable rise in workplace flexibility that better fit their lifestyles during the pandemic. For many, the new working conditions were well-received, and they now expect this shift to become permanent.
On the other hand, many household traditions and habits that had been based on more traditional schedules have simultaneously been disrupted. For example, sticking to fixed times to sit down and enjoy shared meals is becoming more difficult, as independent family members are now more likely to follow their own more flexible timetables.
24% of respondents from Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2022 indicate they look for personalised and tailored shopping experiences, and 32% state they are motivated to shop online as they can order at ‘any time from anywhere’. Consumers will continue to expect individualism and flexibility in almost all aspects of life. So, it is essential for businesses to focus on offering products to support individual needs, review their operating hours and delivery services to support existing customers, and reach new audiences.
Setting new goals
Many consumers emerged from lockdown with new insights about how they wanted to direct their personal lives and professional careers. The effort to reshape personal goals is resulting in greater demand for a wide range of products and services that can help consumers achieve their new objectives. This can be anything from purpose-driven experiences to recreational hobbies and pastimes.
The education sector has experienced a spike in enrolments for further education and training courses since people started to redefine their short and long term career goals. It is essential for companies to provide existing employees with upskilling opportunities and the necessary support for them to achieve their new goals.
While consumers consolidate their new goals, businesses of all types should also promote their own corporate values and goals to ensure they are aligned with those of their existing and prospective customers.
Results from the 2022 edition of Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey show that extensive product information sharing, transparency and promotion of values are now considered vital as businesses seek to strengthen bonds with consumers and spur growth.
Even though consumers continue to rely on traditional sources such as labelling, reviews and personal recommendations to obtain essential product information, they are increasingly turning to social media influencers and other online sources for information. Successful brands such as H&M, Sony Corporation and Hasbro, for example, are making sure they are seen and heard by consumers and taking proactive steps to be more transparent.
Bringing back the good times
Pandemic-weary consumers have resurfaced and are eager to live in the moment. Re-establishing social lives and releasing pent-up demand for a wide range of out-of-home experiences and activities have been top priorities for many. In fact, according to Euromonitor’s Lifestyles Survey 2022, 50% of consumers prefer to enjoy life without worrying about the future, while 32% indicate finding time to spend on their favourite activities is now one of the most important things to do.
As a growing number of global consumers demand a hybrid offering of in-person and virtual experiences, bBusinesses that provide out-of-the-box virtual experiences, such as allowing customers to ‘try before they buy’, and superimposing images into real-life situations to inform their buying decisions, will achieve greater success.