What’s shaping consumer behaviour in 2019?

From embracing new challenges to rethinking plastic, a Mintel report lays out its predictions for the year ahead.

In a new global consumer trends report, market research firm Mintel says privacy, individuality, wellness, convenience and connectivity are just some of the big themes shaping the consumer landscape in 2019.

Over the next year, Mintel expects these forces will see consumers begin to “treat their bodies like ecosystems,” as a result of increased focus on wellness. Moreover, consumers will begin to put themselves more on display, in an effort to nurture their digital personas, creating an environment in which everyone is scrutinized (and making employee social media training all the more important). At the same time, the increased connectivity will lead to consumers feeling more socially isolated.

Here are some of the other trends shaping the year ahead.

“Challenge accepted”

Overall, consumers are feeling more keen to take on new challenges, enabling them to discover new passions and interests, whether it’s protesting, volunteering or being more environmentally conscious. What’s more, they’re looking to inspire others as they do so.

“Social media inspiration is blurring the line between reality and #lifegoals,” the report’s authors write, “but at the end of the day, it’s exposing consumers to adventures that previously felt out of reach, for better or worse, so companies and brands should proceed with caution.”

In Canada, 32% of consumers who have attended a live event say they have learned about them from social media.

Overall, Mintel says brands are encouraging consumers to “step outside of their comfort zone,” while helping them see everyday activities in new light.

“Rethink Plastic”

As environmental concerns come to the fore, consumers are rethinking their use of plastics. But they often don’t know where to start. In response to concerns over recycling and wasteful packaging, brands need to reconsider how to help consumers meet those everyday challenges.

Mintel reports that while focusing on innovative packaging solutions that are convenient for customers is critical, so too is looking at other initiatives that can help consumers reduce their eco footprint, such as “reverse vending machines” and bring-your-mug programs.

Here in Canada, companies are increasing their sustainability efforts in a bid to help protect the environment. Maple Leaf-owned Greenfield Natural Meat, which launched a campaign promising to “go meatless” on Mondays, and A&W, which became the first company to end its use of plastic straws, are just two examples from the last year.

“Rethinking adulthood”

According to Mintel’s research, 46% of millennials (aged 23-40) in Canada feel “very confident” when it comes to interacting with tech; however, the number who feel comfortable doing so face-to-face with people they don’t know is decisively lower, at 25%.

This is part of a trend Mintel identifies as “rethinking adulthood.” As millennials prioritize experiences over material things, consumers’ perception of what constitutes adult life has changed considerably, and brands would be wise to focus on efforts that help make life more memorable for them.

Part of the answer may lie in tech, Mintel suggests, as more consumers have started using tech-driven solutions to manage the aspects of their lives that people typically associate with adulthood.