Consumer perception of products and experiences has been reinvented over the past 12 months due to the global pandemic, redefining global consumption and priorities. Our eagerly awaited annual Future Consumer 2023 white paper is part of a series of business strategy reports underlining what you need to action right now to anticipate and deliver the products people will want.
So you can get a taste of what we cover in the white paper, available to subscribers on wgsn.com, we’ll take you through the consumer sentiments highlighted and what each one means for brands in the next two years.
The pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and varied regional reopenings have warped people’s sense of time. Add in the sudden shift to a remote workforce in multiple time zones and the concept of time seemed non-existent. Academics named the lack of time perception the “quarantine paradox”. Whether people were stress-baking, gardening or hosting virtual cocktail parties, a vast majority of people spent time reflecting on the good old days. This memory-to-time reflection is part of a wider behavioural trait psychologists term the “reminiscence bump”.
Emotional plurality was a defining feature of 2020, as we occupied multiple emotional states simultaneously in an ever-changing world. The realities of racial injustice, political polarisation, institutional reforms, workers’ rights and the climate crisis came into sharper view. As a result, desensitisation has emerged as a defence mechanism against emotional overload and led to greater apprehension about the future, which has been dubbed “FOFO” (fear of finding out).
In 2020, we learned that people need hope. Neuroscientists have been investing in the science of hope and found that when people feel hopeful, the brain releases neurochemicals which mimic the effects of morphine. The brain can overcome hurdles and move to a place of recovery. Whereas optimism embodies a belief in better days, hope acknowledges our personal responsibility in making them happen.
It’s anticipated that by 2023, coronavirus vaccines will be deployed in most countries and the pandemic will likely be under control, but that won’t mean a rapid return to pre-pandemic normality. People will want to dip their toes back into a life beyond their front door – whether it be shopping or drinks with friends – but companies shouldn’t expect them to dive back in. Cautious motivation will be a key sentiment for both social experiences and self-improvement.
Exploring customer sentiments, the Future Consumer 2023 white paper sets out four consumer profiles that will shape the world around us and the detailed engagement strategies for each, helping businesses and brands to create opportunities for growth – despite disruption and uncertainty – and align their teams to deliver on that vision.
If you’re a WGSN subscriber, you can read the whole white paper today. Not a WGSN subscriber? Download the Future Consumer 2023 teaser here. Stay tuned, as we’ll be revealing the four consumer profiles changing the landscape of the next two years in the coming weeks.