Looking ahead to 2015, Mintel released a 32-page free report on UK consumer trends. Senior Trend Consultant Richard Cope discusses the four key shifts in British consumer behaviour identified by the research company for 2015 – and what this will mean for both consumers and brands in the year ahead. The full report can be downloaded on Mintel‘s website.
- Get Smart
The world of synced devices, home appliances and wearable technology will start to mainstream, as trusted retailers and manufacturers move in to the market and convert consumer appetite into action. “Smart devices – from watches to ceiling fans – appeal to consumers because they save time and money, promise convenience, control, knowledge and self-analysis. What’s changing is that this is no longer the domain of start-ups offering home hub hardware – the major players are now embracing the trend and raising consumer confidence in it. Apple and Google are introducing ecosystems to compete for leadership in the wearables and connected home market and retailers are also pushing synced devices. It’s important to consider that smart devices needn’t be about health or home economics – they can be about aesthetics and ambience as well.”
- [email protected] Street
The on-demand, instant gratification culture of the digital world is spreading to the high street. “We inhabit a digital era of instant gratification, where we can browse and buy at speed and where – online at least – the shops never close. Consumers are clamouring for the same levels of convenience in the high street and the good news is that we’re about to see a flurry of fast and flexible solutions to bridge the gap between online and physical shopping,” he says.
“Better connectivity is allowing us to browse and buy whilst on board planes and buses, nurturing our need to buy on impulse. Rather than wait for delivery, a series of initiatives will allow us to access – or try out – our purchases within the hour or on our way home. Click-and-collect services are about to become far more sophisticated and prevalent with the roll out of Amazon’s collection lockers and Doddle’s parcel collection points. Click-and-collect services are also being extended to remove the major obstacles facing online retailing – namely not being at home to receive non-food items and in fashion, not being able to try things on. We can expect leading clothing brands to embrace this opportunity with pop up pods to allow consumers to try on or return goods,” Richard concludes.
- Fight for Your Rights
Growing awareness of customer rights and corporate misbehaviour will see consumers demand more fairness and justice from companies and companies consult consumers more. “We are seeing examples of empowerment in the form of the UK’s new Consumer Rights Bill which will enforce pre-contractual information, a default maximum delivery time of 30 days, and consumers’ right to reject goods.”
- Toxic Avengers
International events – some catastrophic, some inspirational – are putting emissions and toxicity back on the agenda, but it’s the threat of pollution to human, rather than environmental, health that’s driving technological innovation and a spate of clean, protective product launches in the CPG space. “In 2015, pollution will become a key media focus with raised levels of consumer consciousness in these issues in the UK. A growing awareness of the link between urban pollution and cancer and premature deaths – following the World Health Organisation’s revelation that pollution is the world’s biggest environmental health risk – will provoke a reaction. Consumers are learning about the problems of PM 2.5 – that’s ‘fine particulate matter’ – an air contaminant associated with asthma, heart attacks and other health problems and solutions in the form of apps and devices. The cosmetics industry in particular has been awakening consumers to the immediate, visible, personal effects of pollution.”
Furthermore, consumers realise that how they live affects their skin, with 83% of UK adults feeling lifestyle has a big impact on skin and 22% of women looking to cleansers to protect their skin from the environment or pollution. Older consumers are a particular target: some 28% of UK women who use facial skincare products use a moisturiser to counter the effects of pollution or the environment on the skin, but the figure rises to 42% of women aged 65 and over.”
“We’ll see more technological solutions in the form of self-cleaning surfaces, using permanent treatments to enable flooring, worktops and windows to repel dirt and grime. We’ll also see more wearable devices – and clothes – that variously measure, guard against and combat dangerous levels of air pollution and in advertising we’ll see more initiatives like billboards that fight pollution and home, office and even shop frontages made from materials that absorb carbon, reflect heat or absorb light to emit it at night time. In the home, retail and office space we’ll also continue to see a major uptake of LED lighting systems.”