When (and how) consumers will leave their homes in 2020

Demand for convenience and control will lead to multifunctional homes and frictionless mobility, finds a global trends report.

Convenience and personal control will stand out as two major themes dominating global consumer trends in 2020, according to findings from market research firm Euromonitor International.

Conducted annually, the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2020 report is the company’s most recent attempt to identify the most significant trends emerging globally. Its findings are based on insights that have been collected by Euromonitor analysts and discussed internally. A final list of short-term trends are compiled and ranked based on feedback from its 15 offices.

This year, it predicts the acceleration of several trends that have been in the making for years. AI, for example, is expected to become more ubiquitous as consumers begin to accept that robots are better suited for some tasks traditionally performed by humans. New circular business models will emerge in response to growing environmental awareness, and consumer mental and physical wellbeing will become ever-more important. A desire for greater convenience and control is also expected to drive behaviour around when – and how – people leave their homes.

Multifunctional homes

Consumers are drawn to the comforts of home and personal space during uncertain political and economic times, Euromonitor notes.

“While this tendency is nothing new, for the first time, consumers don’t want to leave their homes, but also don’t have to. Thanks to high-speed internet access and innovative goods and services, global consumers are able to exercise, shop, work and play, all from the comfort of their Multifunctional Homes. The impact on government, distribution and industries is profound and far-reaching.”

Euromonitor data shows the percentage of global households with access to broadband internet has doubled since 2010, enabling more people to work from home, thanks to the ubiquity of online meetings, chat and other collaborative tools. In turn, this shift in work culture is impacting consumer purchase behaviours around clothing (more athleisure wear, at the expense of suits and formalwear, for example) transit, gym memberships and food service (home delivery’s share of global foodservice sales have doubled since 2010).

Embodying this trend are companies like Heal, which allows Americans to book an in-home doctor’s appointment using a mobile app, and receive care typically only provided in a healthcare facility. U.S.-based Mirror provides full-length interactive displays with a camera and speakers, creating a “portal to an interactive fitness studio filled with instructors and fellow classmates.” And Columbia’s Rappi, which started out as a grocery and food delivery app, has evolved to offer mobile money transfers, errands and package delivery services as well. It even delivers cash to customers’ doors in neighbourhoods where they may be reluctant to visit an ATM at night.

Flexible and personalized transportation

When consumers are leaving the house, they’re increasingly looking for easier, faster and more convenient ways to travel, as cities become more congested.

“Frictionless Mobility is now the expectation as consumers use navigation apps to plan their journey and want real-time updates on the best way to get from A to B, whether it is by train, taxi, electric bike, scooter, helicopter or a combination of them all,” Euromonitor notes. “Consumers want their transportation across cities to be modular and personalised to their individual needs in 2020 as they embrace a crowded world that is no longer seen as car-first.”

The world’s population is growing more urban, and this year, there will be 33 “megacities” with 10 million inhabitants or more, adding pressure to public infrastructure. Meanwhile, as of last year, the percentage of North American households with access to a car had fallen by roughly 5% since 2016, following a trend observed in every region of the world except for Europe.

In response to these changes, U.K. navigation app Citymapper has launched the Citymapper Pass, providing unlimited travel in certain zones of London’s fare system and unlimited bus rides citywide – a more affordable alternative to the Transport of London system. And Volocopter, an “urban air mobility company,” is expected to launch a licensed on-demand air taxi service come 2022. It has already conducted test flights in Dubai, Helsinki, Singapore and other cities. Uber, meanwhile, has been working on an on-demand air aviation service called Uber Elevate since at least 2016 and is aiming to launch the program come 2023.