The latest edition of Mintel’s Big Conversation event was held in our Chicago office, featuring a discussion of 2015 US Consumer Trends. Led by myself and a few of Mintel’s most revered analysts and industry
thought leaders –  Lynn Dornblaser, Sarah Jindal and Andrew Davidson – the discussion centered on the following four trends: Get Smart, My Wallet My Way, Fight For Your Rights, and Gender Agenda. Here’s what we learned, why consumers are buying into it and what’s next.

Get Smart

The world of synced devices, including wearable technology and smart home appliances, will become mainstream in 2015 as trusted retailers and manufacturers satisfy consumer appetites for collecting data and controlling devices. 40% of US consumers would like to buy technology products that easily connect to products they already have. 59% of US consumers expressed interest in using an app or website to control their home. While 5% of Canadian consumers already use a wearable device that tracks heart rate, blood pressure, and movement, 37% would be interested in using such a device.

However, the IoT (Internet of Things) trend brings with it a number of consumer concerns, number one being security. Consumers become wary of placing data on Wi-Fi networks, clouds and other servers. There’s also conversation regarding regulations about digital device etiquette.

My Wallet My Way

Consumers’ expectations for on-demand convenience are blurring the lines between digital and brick-and-mortar retail, not only driving immediacy in shopping, but also expanding it into any consumer interactions with businesses. 22% of US adults only buy products online that they are already familiar with. UK consumers expressed desire to reserve purchases online and collect in convenient locations: 25% would like to collect in-store, 15% a hub such as a shopping center and only 7% via drive through. 32% of US facial skincare users are interested in products that can be purchased on the go, such as through a vending machine or kiosk. And 20% of Americans say they’d engage with financial services companies on social media for account assistance.

Beauty on-demand glamsquad services, try-before-you-buy subscription services, and media driven expert tutorials will revolutionize the beauty and personal care industry, redefining convenience for consumers willing to pay a little more for the luxury.

Fight for Your Rights

Growing awareness of customer rights and corporate misbehavior will see consumers demand more fairness and justice from companies in 2015 and beyond, with consumer input becoming almost vital. 18% of US 19-36 year olds go out of their way to buy from companies/brands that support LGBT issues. 82% of US diners say a restaurant that treats its customers fairly influences their choice and 63% choose a restaurant that actively supports humane treatment of animals. 25% of Canadians think that most banks or credit unions do not really care about their customers.

In 2015, companies will increasingly be forced to apologize, admit their mistakes and show a human face. Ignoring the will (however fickle) of the people could foster a growth in boycotts. Consumers will exercise their rights at the cash register, only purchasing brands that align with their ideals on marriage equality, minimum wages and even political party affiliations in a movement many are calling ‘buydeology’.

Gender Agenda

People are questioning traditional notions of gender, rejecting the restraints of stereotypes, and embracing the freedom to be themselves and do what they want. Globally, conversations about female empowerment, modern manhood and gender expression are getting louder. People are dispelling the constraints of gender expectations and empowering each other to express their genuine selves. 42% of Canadian men are unwilling to sacrifice time with their family in order to have a better career. US women aged 18-34 who are sports fans are more likely than male sports fans of the same age to buy tickets to live sporting events and branded merchandise relating to their favorite sports.

Web chatter and advertising will continue to challenge typical norms of fatherhood and what it means to “be a girl” in 2015. Brands are blurring lines across beauty and personal care and food and drink as more men become interested in fragrance, hair care and gravitate towards low/no/reduced food trends. More and more brands will target gender neutral products to promote gender equality across industries.

Want to Know More about Big Conversation?

Mintel Big Conversation is a panel discussion open to clients and partners and led by Mintel Trend Consultants. Attendees have the unique opportunity to hear from panelists comprised of some of Mintel’s top category experts about trends across industries including technology, food and drink, beauty and personal care and finance. Events are announced regularly on Mintel.com and the Mintel Twitter handle, @mintelnews. Stay tuned for the next event in the US and UK coming this spring!

For more information on the US Consumer Trends 2015 as discussed during our latest Big Conversation, download your free copy here!

Consumer Research

Consumer research is about people. What they see, what they do, what they buy. What they eat, what they drink. What they think, what they choose and aspire to.

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