Consumer behaviour has changed

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21 November 2022

Eva Steensig, consumer expert, Steensig Partners

Consumer behaviour has changed in many ways:

As a direct result of Corona, we've taken everything that added value on board and left everything that did not behind. What we've taken with us includes a higher degree of working from home, online shopping, click & collect and home deliveries, whilst the bar for our expectations of (digital) service has been raised for all time. We expect to be able to wait in a digital queue and do something else meanwhile, to be informed of waiting times, receive real-time responses and service, to be able to follow our case/transaction. WHAT can make consumers visit physical shops, when the shopping experience, reception, returns, selection, stock levels and even online service can beat them hands down?

In addition, there are some more general changes that will affect our consumption over the next couple of years:

The absolutely imperfect person: There is a powerful movement towards insisting on the whole person with all its imperfections. That means increased interest in living and being yourself, regardless of age, gender, body, ethnicity or anything else. This is also leading to a showdown with the performance culture that has shaped society for years. The SoMe platform BeReal and the many underwear, beauty and clothing manufacturers that portray their products with women of all sizes, shapes, ages and types. This will spread to other lifestyle industries, which will feel the need to portray ordinary people in their everyday lives.

One of the consequences is that companies are increasingly creating solutions and products for very specific situations, body shapes, target groups or needs. Take the OTO Hugging Chair, for example, which is designed to soothe people with autism when they experience a sensory overload. Or how about a deodorant for people with no arms, pink taxis with female drivers or period pants, to name but a few?

Mainly mainstream: Out of the focus on being unique, diverse and different, a new and incredibly interesting voice is emerging: Absolutely ordinary people also want to be allowed to join in. A growing interest in the ordinary, in being like others and not getting involved in the quest for uniqueness. The consequences of this in terms of consumers include a renewed interest in ordinary homes and living, and in looking ordinary. Just think about outdoor wear, a natural ‘no make-up look’ and sneakers from Lidl. There is growing indifference in hype and the latest products, and a shift towards ordinary products. Another consequence will be a declining interest in über-premium products and potentially growing interest in the medium/mainstream level of products, hand-in-hand with discounted products. This is simply being further reinforced by inflation and price rises.