14 global consumer behaviour trends for 2021 and beyond

05 February 2021 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped the way many consumers seek and attain happiness, and this is turn is driving new behaviour and expectations towards brands. Based on research among 15,000+ consumers in 16 countries, global consumer intelligence firm InSites Consulting has identified 14 consumer trends that define ‘new consumer’. 

Kelly McKnight, Head of Culture & Trends at InSites Consulting, and Joeri Van den Berghh, a Future-Consumer Expert at the intelligence consulting firm, share an outline of the 14 consumer behaviour trends across three dimensions – mind, body and soul – and what this means for brands globally:

Life coach (Mind)

Consumers are turning to personal projects, rituals and routines that offer a sense of control and stability in a changeable world. There is a role for brands that coach rather than preach by offering tools to support individual goals and promote positive behaviour change. Brands that easily fit into everyday rituals will form part of consumers’ long -term routines.

14 global consumer behaviour trends for 2021 and beyond

DIY everything (Mind)

The desire for individuality and shift towards sustainable living is driving the uptake of do-it-yourself formats. This creates opportunities for brands to offer platforms and solutions that inspire consumers to creatively express themselves on their own terms through maker collaborations, DIY recipes, self-serve apps and cross-category competitions that tap into DIY entrepreneurship. 

Attentive experiences (Mind)

Consumers are craving slow moments that allow them to reach ‘flow’ and escape from their everyday lives. Both online and offline, brands can offer immersive experiences that connect with consumers in new ways, allowing for full engagement in the present moment.

Wild and weird (Mind)

Consumers are consciously creating time for spontaneous, silly moments to fight the relentless cycle of negativity in the world. Brands that inject playfulness and fun into consumers’ lives by embracing digitally-driven satire, social media challenges and celebrating the weird and wonderful in their campaigns will be valued. It’s about daring to be different! 

Re-imagined interactions (Mind)

From the rapid rise in home working to the adoption of online appointments, the way people interact is changing moving forward. For future relevance, brands should show how they are uniquely positioned to become part of consumers’ new working and social lifestyles, with tools and spaces designed to keep people connected.

Sentimental optimism (Mind)

In times of crisis, consumers typically look back to happier times for comfort and social connectedness. Today there is a fresh take on nostalgia, with consumers blending decades that focus on youth culture. To tap into this, brands should transport consumers to carefree times with coming-of-age content featuring well-loved popular culture references. 

Nurturing nature (Body)

Consumers are experiencing a new immediacy with nature, realizing its importance for better physical and mental wellbeing. This creates a brand opportunity to help consumers bring nature into the home as well as restore natural spaces. Brands should focus on unadulterated ingredients, alternative materials, and services that support enjoyment of the great outdoors in ways that make a positive impact on people and planet health.

Fight for immunity (Body)

Consumers are now familiar with a range of biological terminology driving deeper engagement and fascination with personal biology. Looking ahead, brands should focus on immunity – boosting ingredients and formats that help build resistance and make tailored recommendations based on specific health needs. 

Designing for resilience (Body)

Resilient environments are more important than ever to make consumers feel protected against outside forces, and to build resilient mindsets against future worries. Brands can help consumers feel safe and secure with new innovations, designs and systems that address future -focused needs, including mental health, hygiene and urban pollution. 

At-home pleasure (Body)

Consumers are spending more time at home, but still crave highly pleasurable and sensorial experiences. This creates opportunities for brands that bring rewarding and luxurious moments into the home, from perfectly crafted cocktails to high-end furniture. Being at home is no longer a pleasure compromise, it offers a familiar environment to explore new ways to feel great. 

Rebuilding trust (Body)

In an age of widespread misinformation and fake news, consumers are leaning on brands to deliver solutions that instill trust and restore a sense of security. Innovations in safe ingredients and tamper-proof packaging will thrive, as hygiene and safety become core needs, while tackling misinformation in the form of trusted accreditations, verifications and expert opinions will become a true marker of trust. 

Disentangling taboos (Soul)

Consumers are seeking knowledge and understanding of topics deemed uncomfortable taboos, such as poverty, disability and menopause. Brands can play an important role by identifying, educating and uplifting social stigmas. Real-life storytelling and visually raw campaigns will help actively challenge societal norms and the status quo. 

Unapologetic activism (Soul)

Consumers have been exposed to visible systemic injustices, causing a spark to act and drive social reform. This is creating opportunities for brands that can positively impact a cause and call out deep-rooted discrimination in society. Authentically calling out relevant issues specific to local markets is key for success.

Neighbourly networks (Soul)

Accelerated by Covid-19, consumers are recognising the value of community ties to their social lifestyles, while new platforms are enabling local networks to tackle growing concerns about education gaps, loneliness and sustainability. Brands can navigate this space with partnerships or upskilling schemes that actively support specific communities and small businesses.