Adaptive Entrepreneurs: A Top Consumer Trend for 2018

Consumers are increasingly seeking flexibility in their lifestyles, and are prepared to take risks. Millennials especially have an entrepreneurial nature, shifting away from the “traditional” 9-to-5 career towards one that affords more freedom.

Euromonitor International’s 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey shows that nearly 50% of respondents across all generations aspire to be self-employed, showing a growing trend towards this adaptive entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Rejection of traditional working patterns

Adaptive Entrepreneurs point to several factors in their rejection of traditional jobs and companies. For instance, wages are stagnant, increasing by 1% or less in many Western European economies, such as the US, Germany, the UK and Japan, between 2011 and 2016. Youth employment has also reached an all-time high in many countries.

The shift in priorities of Adaptive Entrepreneurs is directly linked to a change in values. In 2018, these consumers will be attracted towards alternatives that allow more flexible, adaptable and personalised experiences, and not just potential financial gain. They want a lifestyle they can build themselves, and align with their personal interests and passions. We also see a marked delay in larger life goals, such as owning a home or having children.

The role of the internet for Adaptive Entrepreneurs

Macroeconomic factors and lifestyle shifts are pushing Adaptive Entrepreneurs to rethink and look for alternative ways to work and earn a living. The biggest driver has been the proliferation of the internet as a flexible platform to sell, communicate, review and network without borders or boundaries.

While start-ups hold substantial risk, the upsides are attractive to Adaptive Entrepreneurs, who are disillusioned with the traditional economic model. Their online lifestyles mean they are knowledgeable and savvy, well-connected and technically confident. The tech industry, grown to be dominated globally by Apple, Google and Amazon, is the guiding star of the Adaptive Entrepreneur.

Adaptable consumers, adaptable brands

Risk-seeking entrepreneurs will not be attracted to the same brands or marketing techniques that dominated in the past. They will favour products enhancing their adaptable work and personal lives.

One example of a service catering to entrepreneurial consumers is Remote Year—a company providing access to work and travel; an enabler for breaking out of traditional 9-to-5 office jobs and travelling the world. Participants must already have a flexible job arrangement, such as their own business. The growth in the popularity of Remote Year and others, such as Hacker’s Paradise and We Roam, throughout 2017, is creating “digital nomads”—independent entrepreneurs looking for flexibility.

Co-working spaces are growing globally at a staggering rate. A 2017 study published by real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle noted that the co-working industry in India is expected to receive USD400 million of investment by 2018, and to grow 40–50% from 2017–2018. Innov8 is an Indian company, founded in 2015, which saw major expansion in 2017. It opened new spaces in both Mumbai and Bangalore providing free internet, refreshments, nap rooms and shared social spaces.

Innov8 and other co-working companies, such as WeWork, are responding to the increasing demand for more flexible, adaptable and fun working environments. Traditional businesses leveraging historical prestige will find their marketing push towards this disruptive generation fall flat in 2018. Adaptive Entrepreneurs are not brand-defined—they want to take risks and remain distinctly independent.

To learn more, download our Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018 white paper.