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Global consumer trends – Part 1: Post-pandemic freedom calls

We explored the Euromonitor 2023 trend report and looked for more examples of three experiential trends that are directing consumers this year.


Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 07.02.2023

Euromonitor International (2023) delights us with an inspiring report of the top 10 global consumer trends at the beginning of each year. To come up with the top trends, they use expert analyses, conduct trade interviews and ideation workshops around the world to find out the latest consumer sentiment and emerging changes in consumer behaviour. Many of the trends have to do with post-pandemic emotions and motivations.

Here and Now: Live in the moment!

In the past few years, the world has been shaken with major international shocks. The pandemic and its lockdowns, as well as the war in Ukraine, have highly affected our lifestyles and consumption. According to the Euromonitor report, The Here and Now consumers are growing used to the fact that they never know what is happening next. Thus, they feel a strong urge to seize the moment and focus on the now. Consumers try to cope with the uncertainty by buying small treats regularly and getting instant gratification. Although the uncertain times call for financial responsibility, price is not the only factor when shopping.

Since “time, health and bliss” are precious assets for Here and Now consumers, who love to splurge on special occasions, Euromonitor suggests that businesses should target them with the right message at the right time. These consumers value everyday luxuries, like books, beauty and home décor, and are motivated by “sparking joy”. Payment methods like “buy now, pay later”, pop-up shops and limited time offers could appeal to these consumers. Loyalty programmes may be used to boost sales, as in the way Finnair Plus members earn award points by shopping with Finnair Plus partners and use them for flights or upgrades.

Revived Routines: Rediscover the world!

In the aftermath of the pandemic, and despite the uncertain times, consumers also desperately want to revive their routines. As the Euromonitor report states, they yearn for real-life experiences, in-person social gatherings and activities like exercise classes, cinema, concerts, nightlife and restaurants. They want to rediscover the world.

This could be seen at Matka Nordic Travel Fair, which had over 53,000 enthusiastic visitors in January 2023, after a hiatus of two pandemic years of no travel fairs (Messukeskus 2023). Tour operators are saying that the summer season has been selling well. People are out and about once again and the rush for out-of-home consumption is great news for many businesses.

International tourism resumed last year and is set to reach pre-pandemic levels by next year (OECD 2022; UNWTO 2023). Indeed, consumers are professing tendencies for revenge travel (Marcus 2022; Skift 2022), seeming to have forgotten all about flight shame (The Guardian 2020) and overtourism (Skift 2018), the two top concerns before COVID interfered.

The Revived Routines trend means also good times for experiential retail: food and beverage industries, tourism and hospitality, as well as fashion and beauty brands. Consumers want to go on adventures and enjoy themselves. Offers of fun, engaging products and services will help them feel normal again.

The Thrivers: Go for health and happiness!

The Euromonitor report concludes that The Thrivers may have enjoyed working from home too much. If employers want to persuade them back to the office, they need to offer quality conditions, making the return to the office worth it. The Thrivers want to achieve a healthy work-life balance and put personal needs first. “Stress-relief, well-being and relaxation” are top priorities on the list of preferred perks.

Although the urge to live in the moment, revive the routines and rediscover the world are strongly pushing consumers back to normal, the pandemic has put strains on people as well. Negative headlines make consumers feel drained and worn out. Information overload may lead to media fatigue and overwhelmed consumers want to restore their well-being.

Businesses can boost the physical and mental health of their customers, who go for products and services offering calm and comfort. Emotional marketing is a powerful tool in promoting consumer experiences and connecting with the audience. Building a community can make a real difference in consumer engagement. At the workplace, a healthy lifestyle can be encouraged, for example by offering free fruits and gym memberships.

As always, we are sharing the insights of the Euromonitor trend report with our students on several marketing courses and expect to see them get as excited as we are about these emerging changes in consumer behaviour. We hope that the trend report also functions as a source of inspiration for businesses who want to stay ahead of the competition and apply these trends in practice this year.

After these three experiential trends, affecting all the senses and emotions of the consumers, we will examine the thrifty side of the trend front in part 2: How consumers are also using logic and reason, making carefully considered choices to survive in the turbulent times.