Consumers’ Concerns for the Future Limit Hope

Political events, challenges such as climate change and a rapidly changing global market landscape leave many people wondering what the next five years will bring. To gain insight into how consumers are envisioning their future, Euromonitor International asked over 40,000 respondents across the world about their future outlook. While responses varied by country and age group, the survey results found that just over half (55%) of all respondents believe they will be happier in the next five years and fewer (53%) believe that they will be better off financially.

Climate Change

Approximately 42% of all respondents indicated that they believe climate change will impact their lives more in the next five years, with little variation between age groups.

Respondents from East Asia were the most likely to believe that climate change will have a direct impact on them moving forward, with over half of all respondents in Singapore and Hong Kong indicating they think climate change will have a greater impact on their lives in the future.

Consumers in China, the Philippines and Vietnam also reported higher-than-average rates of concern about the impact of climate change. This reflects concerns about pollution and increased instances of natural disasters, both of which are key issues in the region.

Interestingly, only 23% of Japanese respondents thought that climate change would impact them more in the next five years. Even fewer (15%) Japanese respondents believed that it would affect them less during this time period. This suggests that respondents are already experiencing high levels of anxiety around climate change that they expect to remain consistent moving forward. This is logical given the extreme weather Japan has experienced this year, including the strongest typhoon in 25 years.

The second-lowest percentage of respondents were Russian respondents, only 27% of whom thought climate change would have more of an effect on them in the next five years. Russia is one of twelve signatories to the Paris Agreement that have yet to ratify the accord, suggesting that climate change may not be a top concern for Russians presently.

Consumer Happiness

Emerging markets lead the way in optimistic outlooks for the future. 74% of Colombian respondents, 74% of South African respondents, 70% of Brazilian respondents, and 67% of Indian respondents believe that they will be happier in the next five years than they are now. Nigerian respondents were the most optimistic, with over 82% of respondents predicting greater happiness in the next five years.

Japanese respondents were by far the least optimistic, with only 21% of respondents anticipating greater happiness in the future. Young (ages 15-29) Japanese respondents were the most optimistic, with almost 33% predicting they will be happier in future years, but on average, only 12% of Japanese respondents over 45 agreed. These insights seem to relate directly to perceptions of future financial wellness.

Consumer Finances

The most optimistic countries also tended to be those whose respondents believed their financial wellbeing would improve in the next five years. Nigerian consumers were the most positive, with almost 81% predicting that they will be better off financially by 2024. Japanese respondents were by far the least optimistic, with only 16% of people believing they will be financially better off.

Other pessimistic results came primarily from Europe: respondents from France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands all had lower-than-average proportions of respondents who believe their financial future is brightening.