Mintel has predicted nine key consumer trends for the year ahead in light of the aftershocks of the economic crisis.
It says that consumers are now living for the long term, and that their attitudes are inspired by a changed value set.
According to Alexandra Smith, global trends analyst at Mintel: “The effects of the global economic crisis have had long-reaching implications, and it is not just consumer behaviour in the short term which was affected.
“Indeed, these consumer trends for 2011 are a legacy created by economics, but now gathering their own momentum and are set to influence the global consumer mindset for a long time to come.”
One of the trends set to continue is the move towards grow-your-own. Mintel says that one in five UK consumers grow their own fruit and vegetables and that the waiting list for allotments has grown 20% this year. It predicts that working farm holidays and garden leisure may benefit, while rising food and commodity prices may see a boost for seed sales as the trend develops.
At the same time, says Mintel, our attitude toward weight is polarising, pitting the rise of the super-healthy against the appeal of indulgence. In the UK, almost a quarter of women wear size 18 and over, a third of men wear XL clothes or bigger and more than 30% of children are overweight.
Therefore, 2011 may see more products catering to an obese market: from portion control and more information on packaging to low-cost healthy fare and products to firm skin.
With online experiences developing rapidly, Mintel forecasts that in 2011 brands may need to get more creative to lure consumers into stores, offering more than just retail and be a venue, not just a shop. Advice, demonstrations, exclusivity and environment may be key aspects to engage consumers with real life, not virtual, shopping experiences.
Other trends picked up by Mintel include a tendency for consumers to act defensively and prepare for the worst when it comes to their finances, and for more people planning to work after retirement age – providing an untapped market for advertisers.
In 2011 we may see more lifelong learning in the workplace, corporate sponsored degrees and companies investing in employees through education and training rather than salary or benefits.
And, says Mintel, brands will be re-evaluating the way in which they market to women, with 2011 seeing a counter trend to the “metrosexuality” of men in a masculinisation of women.
Mintel also predicts that QR codes and app technology have the potential to reinvigorate relationships with brands and retailers. And, finally, it says that while 2011 may see certain jobs permanently displaced by technology, that may lead to increased importance for hyper-personal goods and services.