Five Consumer Trends Influencing Business Strategies in 2021

In 2020, most industries struggled amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic) resulting in a global economic recession and significant changes in consumer behaviour, many of which are becoming more entrenched in 2021. Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles survey of professionals around the globe highlights five consumer-driven trends having the most influence on corporate strategies and objectives, especially recovery and growth, which are the most important objectives for nearly two-thirds of company professionals across industries.

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles survey, fielded November 2020 N=3541

Connected Consumers with New Ways of Working

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of new ways of working for many industries. It is likely that even after the COVID-19 crisis is brought under control, working from home and demands for flexible ways of working will remain a permanent change for many (68%), resulting in new daily habits and routines and a broader shift to digital living.

The shift to more remote working, online shopping and digitalisation of many traditional in person activities such as exercise classes, learning and hobbies, is providing companies with opportunities to reach and engage with more consumers across different platforms. This rising importance of digitalisation in consumer lives is driving them to invest more in technology. More than half of industry professionals expect consumers to spend more on new technology in the next 12 months and 28% consider technology advancements as one of the most important factors in their strategy planning in order to make a successful recovery and future-proof the business.

New Shopper Journey and Spending Habits

Whether struggling financially amid job losses and reduced income or still earning and financially stable, consumers are expected to take a more frugal approach to spending in the next 12 months with a move to more value-based purchasing and conscious saving. While low prices and private label will be important as budgets are stretched, consumers will also invest in quality, value add products and services, buying less, but buying better.  Although they will continue to shop online following the rapid shift to e-commerce in 2020, many consumers are keen to return to stores as well. However, continued uncertainty around infection means safety remains a key concern and retailers will need to continue to innovate and invest in health, hygiene, and safety features in physical stores to entice people back.

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles survey, fielded November 2020 N=3063

Focus on Healthy Living

COVID-19 has accelerated adoption of healthier lifestyles even further. The emphasis and importance placed on physical and mental health has accelerated even further as a result of fear about infection and repeated lockdowns and restrictions causing many consumers to suffer from increased stress, isolation and anxiety. 48% of industry professionals expect consumers to spend more on medical-related costs in the next 12 months. Consumers increased focus on their health and physical wellbeing clearly needs to be a key strategic consideration for companies across industries, offering an important opportunity to evolve product/service development and marketing strategies with their customers’ health and wellness in mind.

A More Personalised Consumer-centric Strategy is Needed

Around half of industry professionals think that consumers have increased expectations for personalised experiences. As shopping and communication become more firmly embedded in digital platforms, customers expect brands to be engaging on a more personal level with tailored services, products and narratives based on their individual preferences. Companies and brands across industries need to invest in a more tailored customer-centric strategy and emotion-driven engagement in order to resonate with these consumers.

Aligning product development, marketing and sales strategies with consumer behaviour that has significantly shifted in this COVID-era has become more important than ever for businesses to stay relevant, recover and drive future growth.

For further insights on our Voice of the Industry series watch our free video: Using Survey Data to Measure the Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses and Consumers