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By: Alison Angus

    Consumer lifestyles are continually changing.  The constantly evolving demographic mix, global cultural shifts and rapid advancements in technology impact consumer’s habits and values, which along with both existing and emerging trends influence consumer lifestyles. By gaining a thorough knowledge of consumer preferences, as well as tracking changing habits and values, businesses can capitalise on emerging opportunities.

    Trends traditionally influenced by brands and taste makers are increasingly being shaped by consumers themselves as new generations evolve. The demographic mix is now decidedly complex. The older generation is increasing as consumers live longer and at the other end of the scale, younger consumers are growing up earlier. The latter’s influence on consumer lifestyles and spending is evident at a very young age.

    Companies and organisations can use lifestyles insights to identify and profile consumer segments and develop targeted products and marketing strategies. Clients can keep in touch with the most prominent trends and how they may impact their business as well as how these are likely to change in the future. Consumer survey data provides clients with a cross country view of consumer preferences, allowing them to understand potential for a new product or how consumers prefer to shop across different geographies.

    This article highlights some of the key lifestyles changes and common ways businesses use this information in their strategy.

    Children influence parents’ purchasing behaviour

    Today’s modern lifestyles and parenting styles are resulting in a more bilateral relationship between parents and their children. Young people are more involved in the family and household purchasing decisions, not in the traditional form of “pester power,” but actively included by parents. Young consumers are brand-aware at an ever earlier age which is unsurprising given their early introduction to digital life. They are consumers in training. However, while it is important for brands to consider this demographic in their marketing, they do need to tread cautiously. Awareness-raising campaigns from NGOs, consumer advocacy and parenting groups are critical of brands trying to build loyalty in kids at too young an age and spotlight targeting children. Brands linking their products to health, sustainability and other positive social and user benefits are best-placed to overcome objections to marketing to immature consumers.

    Consumers seek more unique travel experiences

    Consumers from all generations are focusing more on experiences in many areas of their lives, including travel. This is particularly the case amongst millennials and younger generations, consumers in their 20s and early 30s that are entering and progressing in the workplace, with improving disposable income. This desire for authentic and unique experiences that can be shared with friends and family and showcased on social media is changing the travel landscape.

    Companies, such as Airbnb, that are heavily playing the “authenticity card” have performed well and many other companies are following trend. Large hotel brands have also invested in new sub brands with new offerings to appeal to travellers looking for immersive and bespoke experiences, particularly targeting the young modern minded travellers.

    A brand-loyal generation

    Gen Xers are slow to trust, however, they are capable of tremendous loyalty, which is also replicated when it comes to brands. Euromonitor International’s 2016 Global Consumer Trends Survey found that 54% of this group selected only buying brands they fully trust as a priority when shopping, the highest percentage among all cohorts. This is understood to be influenced by Gen Xers being time-starved, active professionals who are often the decision-makers for both parents and children and therefore have little time to research purchases. According to the survey, 29% of Gen Xers said they shop more frequently at stores or websites where they have a loyalty card or membership which makes them strong candidates for targeted offers, by phone or email. Earning the trust of this generation by appealing to their preferences of value, truth, transparency and quality will help business make the most of opportunities to grow.

    Conclusion

    Keeping ahead of shifts in consumer lifestyles and understanding future preferences and buying behaviours is important to business strategy, particularly given today’s complex demographic landscape. Consumer lifestyles helps companies decode consumers and build knowledge on consumption habits, from eating, drinking and shopping to the use of technology and shifting habits and values across different generations, cultures and geographies. Not being aware of the key consumer trends and segmentation can easily leave companies vulnerable. Lifestyles insights provide the tools to succeed and develop tailored market positioning and path to market strategies. To learn more about how lifestyles insight can impact your business strategy, download our report now.

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