Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, named five key trends that are set to impact global consumer markets in 2024.
The trends are centered around the increasing importance of human relationships, coping with the reality of climate change, and uncertainty about AI's impact.
Global Consumer Trend No. 1: Being Human
According to Mintel, in a world increasingly dominated by algorithms, we will need human skills and emotion to make the most of this technological revolution.
Simon Moriarty, director of Mintel Trends, EMEA, commented on how this trend will impact marketing and innovation in 2024 and beyond. “Today’s rapidly advancing AI-powered technologies seem to be on track to outpace human output,” he said. “While consumers and businesses learn to balance the use of this emerging technology, consumers will begin to appreciate what makes humans so unique.”
Moriarty explained that a new ‘human-as-premium’ label will emerge, giving greater influence to artisans who can take on the creative spirit that exists outside of an algorithm.“
As the collective memory of a pre-tech world grows more distant, nostalgia will appeal, even to younger generations that only know the conveniences of a digitized world,” Moriarty said. “From this will rise services that teach human skills like self-expression and focus on how to connect with fellow humans.”
Global Consumer Trend No. 2: More Than Money
Mintel noted that consumers will reassess what matters most to them, affecting not only what they want and need, but their perception of what constitutes value.
“As budget pressures force tighter trade-offs, consumers are becoming more realistic in their search for value as they strike a balance between quality received and cost incurred,” shared Moriarty. “The social and emotional value of a brand will grow in importance as consumers look more towards what a brand means to them personally, rather than what it stands for societally.”
Moriarty pointed out that game-changing brands, while respecting consumers’ prioritization of quality, will foster an emotional connection with them through personalized products that tap into their sense of exploration. “Ultimately, competitive brands will amplify and capitalize on their legacy, accomplishments and success stories to demonstrate their worth,” he said.
Global Consumer Trend No. 3: Relationship Renaissance
Regarding the “Relationship Renaissance” trend, Mintel said consumers who find comfort through screens at the cost of meaningful, real-life relationships, will seek new forms of intimacy for the sake of their physical and mental health.
“While consumers have more access to communication tools than ever before, the onslaught of social media, text chains and video calls has led to stress and burnout,” revealed Moriarty. “Interpersonal relationships are emerging as a facet of well-being that consumers are eager to explore. Brands helped develop the self-care industry by creating products that build a cocoon of comfort for users, but now they are being challenged to pull people out of the self-care cocoon. Brands will help consumers find points of connection, finding meaning in connection as they redesign solo routines – from morning coffee to evening skincare regimens – as something consumers don’t have to do alone. Leaning into the sensory appeal that comes with human connection will prove fruitful – a hug, a handshake and other forms of human touch will reinforce the power of connection as a route to improved health and quality of life.”
Global Consumer Trend No. 4: New Green Reality
Per Mintel, incorporating sustainability into the day-to-day is not enough; consumers and brands will be faced with the reality that survival within a new climate context has to be the priority.
Moriarty explained: “Consumers are increasingly recognizing that a passive approach to the climate crisis is not enough to tackle environmental challenges. Brands must shift away from traditional strategies that focus on zero-sum sustainability initiatives, towards continuous innovation and tangible solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible and necessary. By highlighting forward-thinking approaches, brands can reframe climate messaging from merely reducing their carbon footprint to actively regenerating and giving back to the world. Encouraging consumers to feel a sense of purpose and optimism, believing that their collective efforts can make a positive impact on the planet’s wellbeing, will foster loyalty.”
Global Consumer Trend No. 5: Positive Perspectives
For this global trend, Mintel said brands and consumers will work together in new ways to deal with uncertainty.
“Soaring prices and political instability will continue to fuel global uncertainty, while climate change concerns are at the forefront of consumers’ worries, AI is adding a new layer of uncertainty too,” said Moriarty. “Rather than resisting the impact of multiple sources of uncertainty, brands need to steer away from their sanitized portrayal of reality and adopt a more honest depiction, presenting genuine products and services, with actionable information, that helps consumers feel more grounded, reassured and able to deal with uncertainty. Brands can help consumers acknowledge they have a right to explore the complexities of their emotions, they can join, even lead, the conversations to normalize negative emotions.”
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