The 2017 consumer is harder to characterize, not least because identity is multidimensional and in flux, with shoppers more likely to have a hand in defining themselves and their needs.
Consumers want safety in a perceived volatile world, particularly for their nearest and dearest, and look to tech tools as aids in this quest. They want to shop faster and to secure the swiftest convenience. They want authenticity in what they buy and expect elements of personalization in mass produced as well as upscale items.
Consumers who are 'beyond average' in terms of size or dietary needs, for instance, are pushing to see their needs better met. The global cultural reverence for wellness has many consumers regarding it as a status symbol, particularly as the significance of material things as indicators of achievement has paled.
Consumer requirements even extend to the post-purchase experience; to their relationship with brands once the transaction has happened.
Younger 'consumers in training' have a voice that goes beyond 'pester power' (the ability of children to pressurize their parents into buying them things). This gives them a more active role in what is purchased, often turning them into functioning in-house shopping consultants.
Consumers aged over 50, the most vocal and youngest of whom are part of a generation known for their outspoken views, the baby boomers, are themselves living a changed ageing narrative with articulate 'ambassadors' and organizational advocates with greater faith in their abilities and purpose.
Which consumer trends will reign around the world in 2017?
AGEING: A CHANGING NARRATIVE
CONSUMERS IN TRAINING
GET REAL: THE ALLURE OF AUTHENTICITY
IDENTITY IN FLUX
PRIVACY AND SECURITY
WELLNESS AS STATUS SYMBOL
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Photos: (L) Skin Inc.'s personalized skin care features personalized hangtags; (R) The author, Daphne Kasriel-Alexander.