Gabrielle Lieberman
Gabrielle leads the insights and strategy for the Consumer Trends and Social Media Research teams in the Americas. She loves digging into the data, gaining a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, and using insights to guide brands on making better business decisions.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a profound impact on the global economy and consumer markets. As a result, many of the predictions set forth in Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trends have been accelerated. Here, we examine the big shifts in behavior that have taken place thus far, the changes we expect will persist, and share our predictions for how this will impact the future consumer.

Wellbeing

Seeking physical and mental wellness.

Our predictions

  • Conscious movement and mindful exercise will become as important as physical fitness.
  • Increased focus on air quality and air filtration systems in the home.
  • A re-imagining of what a “clean and safe” home looks like.
  • Technology will create room to embrace fitness in smaller spaces.

What’s shifted

Globally, we are experiencing a collective grief unlike anything before, and while much of what is felt today is temporary, there will be lasting impacts on individual wellbeing. As a result, our attitudes toward mental health are changing, with people more open to talking about their struggles, and Mintel predicts that support for mental health conditions will become an essential part of the healthcare system.

COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of having a healthy immune system, which also includes strong mental health. Products that offer immunity benefits will surge as people look for ways to protect themselves from a second wave or as a way to support their immune system for ongoing protection. Consumers are turning to stress-relieving, calming, and comforting products amid COVID-19 fears, and Mintel predicts a continued focus on ingredients and products that help consumers relax and cope with stress and anxiety.

What’s next

Wellbeing takes on new meaning: Holistic health is no longer just about the whole human, or even the whole human community, but the whole human biosphere.

Wellbeing + technology: Connection through social media has been a lifeline for consumers both physically and mentally, and that reliance won’t fade away once in-person engagement resumes. While consumers are more open to tech monitoring, there’s still much to be done to ease consumer privacy concerns.

Mental health a priority: Consumers are showcasing a raw and personal side of their identity, and as life returns to normal, mental health priorities will be top of mind.

Experiences

Seeking and discovering stimulation.

Our predictions

  • Experiences will go from being exclusive to inclusive as technology enables anyone to view a live concert from their phones.
  • Education will become a social experience, especially as consumers embrace and learn new skills in the kitchen.
  • eSports will be adopted among mainstream consumers.
  • Being bored will take on new meaning as consumers seek to find ways to appreciate and accept what it means to have nothing to do.
  • Collective experiences will take on new meaning.

What’s shifted

With people all across the world living in lockdown, they have been forced to appreciate this new state of slowness. Heading into 2020, convenience and 24/7 on-demand services reigned supreme. We predicted in 2030 a greater importance placed on ‘shutting down’ for pleasure and an emphasis on the benefits of the ‘nothing experience.’ COVID-19 has only accelerated those predictions to be realities of today and we’ve seen a notable shift from extroversion to introversion. While there’s value in the experience of shutting down, the drive for experiences remains and Mintel predicts that consumers will seek new ways to find fulfillment, placing an even greater emphasis on experiences over things, and the value of the human connection.

As physical and social distancing become the norm, the demand for brands to provide support through collective experiences will grow. Further ahead, whether at home or not, consumers will be driven to try out new, exciting experiences and will seek out the brands that bring them an opportunity to try them. As a result, we will see a whole host of brands (even those outside the leisure industry) take advantage of the benefits of both online and offline channels to complement each other, which can offer consumers more options and richer experiences.

What’s next

Shared experiences: The unofficial slogan of the crisis, “we’re in this together,” exemplifies the shared experience and common goal. Brands are responding with messages of “we’re here to help” as well as details of how they are supporting employees and customers, which will have an enduring impact on consumer expectations of companies going forward.

Gaming a unifying force: Gaming is having a significant moment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Changing perceptions toward gaming as a constructive form of entertainment have helped legitimize gaming, and we will continue to see greater mainstream adoption of gaming in the future.

Finding comfort: With consumers increasingly looking for comfort and reassurance, brands have an opportunity to be a source of comfort. There’s also a need to provide a bit of fun and playfulness in an effort to help people move beyond the effects of the pandemic and the looming economic impacts to follow.

Identity

Understanding and expressing oneself and place in society.

Our predictions

  • Social media, once a source of isolation, will become a vital resource for consumers who need support and connection, breaking down walls for who consumers can identify with.
  • Local and regional messages will help consumers find their identities within the broader global collective.
  • Elements of identity once hidden from public display will be more openly shared.
  • Concerns around loneliness as a global epidemic increase at alarming rates.

What’s shifted

In times when social distancing has become the norm, brands need to be mindful that social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean isolation. Social support networks are increasingly important during times of forced isolation, especially among the most vulnerable. Brands have a social responsibility to help fight back against the increasingly problematic loneliness epidemic.

Mintel predicts that consumers will emerge from social distancing having been forced to look at themselves and their priorities in a new way to determine what’s worth returning to once things get back to “normal.” We anticipate that consumers will be even more empowered to stand up for the brands and causes that most align with their values. This is evidenced by early indications in APAC that pillars of Community, Heritage, and Localism on the rise as people find comfort in their collective identity.

What’s next

Power of shared connections: Social connections bring complex values to consumers’ lives, from giving people a sense of belonging to a sense of identity. The importance of human connection will be stronger than ever, and we will continue to see a strengthening of community.

Empowered you: As the lines between our personal and private lives continue to blur, people will be more willing and open to having more personal conversations around identity. We’ve offered more intimate glimpses into each other’s lives, offering insights into what will be the foundation for more meaningful connections long-term.

Social distancing ≠ social isolation: Social distancing measures have shifted focus from the individual to the collective, kicking off a renewed communal spirit that will persist long after the lockdown measures are lifted. Community will forever have new meaning, offering a unique opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways.

Rights

Feeling respected, protected, and supported.

Our predictions

  • Public demand for action will peak as more global social movements develop.
  • Corporate ethics will no longer be a “nice to have,” but a “must-have” that will serve as the guiding strategy for brand engagement internally and externally.
  • Activism will take on a new meaning, shifting from the individual to the collective.
  • Corporations will step up to provide resources typically reserved for the public sector. The lines between the private and public sectors will increasingly become blurred following this pandemic.

What’s shifted

Just as we’ve seen people find new ways to stay connected during times of social distancing, there has also been a movement toward the shared experience of collective activism as people seek transformative social change. Mintel predicts that we will continue to see technology used to further enhance the effectiveness of and success in pushing for social change. This will be seen in providing access to information, funds, and support networks for consumers less well represented due to location, such as rural communities, or due to economic reasons.

Contact tracing apps have come into focus as a potential solution to help fight off COVID-19 and return to a more open society, but there’s still much to overcome in the way of privacy and the practical implementation.

Internet access as a basic human right has come into focus as consumers across the world were suddenly faced with the transition of their work, school and personal lives online, seemingly overnight. Mintel further predicts that consumers will demand greater action by consumers toward the companies they support to ensure movement toward universal online access.

What’s next

Close the digital divide: Consumers are mobilizing to shine a light on the inequalities in internet access made apparent during the pandemic, pushing corporations and federal regulators to treat internet connectivity as a public utility.

Public demand for action: Public demand for action will peak as more global social movements develop. This shift in consumers’ expectations will drive brands to make ethical matters and goals part of their core philosophy and practices, leading to a rise of new ethically minded business models.

Evolution of data privacy conversations: Data privacy will evolve in light of contact tracing on smartphones, bringing the data privacy conversation to the forefront in a new way.