How consumers will view space and time in 2021

Euromonitor's global consumer trends survey suggests brands will need to adapt to changed lifestyles this year.
Outdoor yoga

Euromonitor International’s 2020 global consumer trends report predicted “frictionless mobility” would be on trend last year, as consumers looked for easier and quicker ways to navigate congested cities. That, as we now know, did not play out as planned, thanks to a pandemic that has reshaped nearly every facet of human life.

But some of the market research firm’s predictions proved nevertheless more prescient, such as greater consumer attention on the comforts of home and personal space, as well as a rise in new tech making it easier for them to stay (and work from) home.

Below, we take a look at some of the most significant trends Euromonitor finds are emerging globally. As with previous reports, the findings of its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 report are based on insights that have been collected by its analysts and discussed internally. A final list of short-term trends are compiled and ranked based on feedback from its 15 offices.

Playing with Time 

The percentage of consumers who identify “time for myself” as a priority grew last year to 51%, a modest increase from 48% the year before and a continuation of a strong upward trend since 2016, when it was just over 20%.

As a result of working from home, many more people have flexibility baked into their daily routines. But many have struggled to balance work, family and life obligations, finds Euromonitor. As a result, a 24-hour service culture has emerged, with always-available virtual services, from on-demand workouts and entertainment, helping to empower consumers. For example, Apple’s Fitness+ subscription service allows members to complete workouts from home with recognized fitness instructors.

The need for flexibility will also have an impact on businesses’ physical operations, as seen with companies like Starbucks expanding curbside pickup services to allow for faster payment using handheld devices.

“Consumers are now both able and forced to be more creative with their time in order to get everything done,” Euromonitor notes. “Businesses should provide solutions that address the consumer desire to maximize time, offering increased flexibility, especially with products and services that can be accessed from or near the home.”

Outdoor Oasis

Early in the pandemic, a report by Toronto agency Blackjet suggested remote destinations with clean air and open spaces could reach luxury status as people began to avoid crowded cities and hotels. A year into the crisis, Euromonitor’s research suggests that remains the case today.

To support their mental and physical wellbeing, city dwellers are searching for an “outdoor oasis,” as many continue wanting to connect with others in safe spaces that offer a change of scenery. According to the report, 64% of professionals believe they will be able to continue working from home when the pandemic dust settles – and that has major implications for how and where people choose to spend their free time, as well as how businesses should respond.

For example, Eurominotor highlights Vilnius City Opera, which moved performances outside, making opera “more accessible to the general public and addressing health safety measures.” Similarly, Toronto’s Lmnts studio, which built 50 individual geodesic domes to help members practise hot yoga outside safely.

“Businesses incorporated advanced health measures and moved events outside, allowing consumers to reconnect out of the home more safely,” the research firm writes. “Companies should pivot their product development strategy to encompass the tranquillity of rural living in urban environments to better satisfy city-scapers.”