The looming uncertainty over the global economy  has turned consumers into more value-conscious, mobile, experience-hungry, social sharing, green enthusiasts. Add a touch of convenience for a rapidly growing urban population worldwide, and this paints a picture of the new global consumer. As we near closer to a new year, Euromonitor reviewed the key consumer and industry trends that defined 2011, and offers the following prospects for 2012:

  • Economic woes will see more consumers looking up to ‘new’ non-monetary forms of status like altruism, connectivity, eco-credentials and acquired skills
  • 2012 will push consumers into a deal ecosystem in which the chase, the control, the perceived savvy, and novel tech-led thrift-alerts – not just the saving – make up a good deal
  • Although many consumers can’t afford to buy green, they expect brands to be trailblazers and to clean up their act! Brands like Patagonia are taking back used products for rewards, and recycling will shine
  • Less will be more in 2012. Companies will be helping their customers to consume less of their products
  • In 2012, opportunities to cater to millions of low-income urban consumers will be the biggest ever
  • Crowdsourced problem-solving will trigger innovation – especially if participation is made simpler
  • Consumer respect will be beamed at brands showing their human side; both in terms of transparency and caring initiatives
  • Consumer vigilantes will have a sustained high profile – protesting in the physical and online worlds
  • While the digital and physical worlds are converging via a mobile 24/7 net access, consumers want seamless access to positives of the digital world: convenience, control, choice etc. in the real world
  • The ‘consumerization’ of health means that customers are now looking for health as a feature, product, experience or service
  • Emphasis will be on conscious consumption in 2012 as consumers continue their search for a more meaningful life
  • Where people shop for packaged food is, and will be, just as important as what they buy
  • Collaborative consumption, renting goods instead of buying them, will be big in 2012
  • Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, will plague advanced economies in 2012. More than half of people aged 15-24 are without work in Spain
  • Best case scenario will see retailing be worth US$13.2 trillion by the end of 2012. However, macro-economic issues will remain a concern
  • Cross-border sales through internet stores are likely to put bricks-and-mortar retailers in all countries under pressure in the short term
  • Grocery retailers set to enjoy faster growth than their non-grocery peers. Taking a greater share of their competitors’ sales will likely aid grocery retailers during the year
  • Underlining the growing divide globally in terms of spending power, jewellers is expected to be the fastest growing channel in 2012, boosted by emerging markets, while warehouse clubs will be second
  • Retailers are going to have to be increasingly aware of m-commerce in 2012
  • Asia Pacific to overtake Western Europe as the biggest regional packaged food market in 2016
  • With more mouths to feed, retail volume will continue to outpace retail value sales
  • A growing prevalence of convenience and snacking  will make eating on-the-go the new “normal”

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