Euromonitor’s global trends report, revisited

Since the research was released in January, some trends have accelerated and others have stalled.
Retail, shopping, consumers

Every year, Euromonitor International lays out the top ten consumer-driven trends expected to have the most significant impact on businesses around the world.

Since releasing its findings for 2020 in January, the market research firm has set out to understand the short- and long-term effects COVID-19 will have on those previously noted global trends. Nearly all of the top ten trends have been impacted in some way, notes Euromonitor’s Alison Angus, head of lifestyles, in a webinar published this week.

“We’re all experiencing dramatic upheaval and disruption. Life, as we knew it, has certainly changed, at least for now,” she says. “Consumers are fearful, they’re anxious. Many have been forced into quarantine, isolation and lockdown, and for many, that’s led them to take stock and reevaluate their life priorities, their habits and behaviours, some of which, for sure, will have lasting effects.”

Multifunctional homes

The pandemic has accelerated the rise of multifunctional homes, already one of the more pronounced trends expected for this year.

Pre-pandemic, the firm observed people were turning their homes into multifunctional spaces. Cocooning was already on the rise, as high-speed internet and technological advances made it easier for consumers to work, shop, play and exercise from home.

“Then we had the bang moment,” says Angus.

Work, school and educational forums, such as fitness and cooking classes, have moved online, practically overnight. “We’re partying at home, we’re partying alone and online,” she says. “Social media has actually become our social life. Instead of using these platforms to promote ourselves, like we used to, we’re using them to stay connected with others.”

In short, the pandemic has largely accelerated a movement whose impact was already fairly dramatic and far-reaching. “And it’s here to stay,” Angus notes. “It may not be in such an extreme form as we’re living right now, but for sure, as consumers resurface, they will have changed some of their at-home habits.”

For example, Zoom, the remote conferencing services company, has surged in popularity since the pandemic began. It’s success is not only the result of more people working from home, either. The platform has also captured a social audience, notes Euromonitor, with many people now choosing it to host virtual game nights, get-togethers, happy hours and parties.

Going forward, it will be even more important for businesses to facilitate consumers’ need and desire to do more from their homes.

Flexible and personalized transportation

Meanwhile, the coronavirus has “all but stalled” the trend towards more flexible and personalized transportation – at least for now.

Before the pandemic, consumers wanted transport options that enabled them to move around cities freely and easily and apps to help plan the best routes. They were also increasingly looking to purchase tickets on those platforms and “do all of this in the same place,” according to Euromonitor. “It’s all about getting from one place to the next in the easiest, most seamless and convenient and ideally personalized way.”

Now, transport needs have been limited by work-from-home policies, and those who do travel want to avoid crowded subways and streetcars. Many have returned to using their cars or to walking and cycling, and governments are encouraging them to do so. In Germany, some cities are creating pop-up cycle lanes that enable people to maintain social distancing.

In the future, Euromonitor predicts “frictionless mobility” will remain an important trend, as consumers look for more seamless, personalized and sustainable transportation solutions. But for the next little while, even as consumers begin to resurface, they will return to their old habits with caution, and many will continue working from home.

“For companies, there’s this need to invest to remove or at least limit these health threats to reassure consumers and get their business back,” says Angus.

One brand that has succeeded is US-based e-scooter platform Wheels. As fears of contamination mounted, many companies in the transport sharing market suffered, notes Euromonitor. To assuage these concerns, Wheels worked with NanoSeptic, a company that manufactures self-cleaning surface products, to create a self-cleaning skin to keep its bike handles sanitized and clean. It has also adjusted its rental pricing, providing extra incentive to regular users.

Photo credit: Krisztina Papp via Unsplash