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Global consumer trends – Part 2: Thrifty and frugal tendencies on the rise

In this text, we explore two more Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2023 and give examples of how businesses could exploit them.


Annika Konttinen

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

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 08.02.2023

In our previous blog post, we introduced three consumer trends from the brand new Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2023 report. Here, we explore two more trends and give examples of how businesses could exploit them. The two trends focus on the thrifty side of consumption – that is, spending money more carefully and wisely.

The Budgeteers: Checking and comparing prices

Inflation and high prices have affected consumer price sensitivity and shopping behaviour (Forbes 2022). The right price / quality ratio is a decisive factor when choosing the contents of the shopping basket. According to the Euromonitor consumer trends report, The Budgeteers are consumers who check and compare product prices, pay particular attention to the quality of products and look for promotions while trying to keep the total amount of the shopping basket reasonably low. They also prepare for the unknown future by saving.

Consumers cutting household budgets and switching to cheaper alternatives may be bad news for brand loyalty (Shelley 2022). Businesses are struggling to offer more affordable alternatives as high production and transportation costs along with shrinking profits call for using resources economically. In times of inflation, consumers are looking for bargains. Reward programmes can be used to boost brand loyalty among customers by offering discounts, free items or points that can be used for future shopping.

According to the Euromonitor report, the price-conscious psyches of The Budgeteers are tuned to looking for flexible alternatives and payment plans (buy now, pay later). The perks of online shopping are well known, and it might be a good idea to consider selling products directly to consumers instead of using middlemen.

Product bundles (buy two, get one free) are also one option to help in offering more value to customers and while appreciation for pre-owned accessories and clothing is growing, resale trade may appear an appealing addition to regular business. For example, the Finnish brand Marimekko offers an online marketplace, Marimekko Pre-loved, for second-hand and vintage items, where it is possible to buy and sell design items (Marimekko 2023).

Eco Economic: Saving money and the planet

The Euromonitor report states that cost effectiveness is the core of consumption among the Eco Economic consumers as well. The beautiful idea behind being eco economic is that decreasing consumption increases sustainability. Avoiding food waste has become a priority in many households. Reducing consumption and limiting buying new products may help in saving both money and the planet. Eco-savvy consumers support a circular economy that relies on renting, repairing, reusing and recycling instead of buying new stuff and throwing existing materials into waste.

While shopping, ecological and economic individuals look for and switch to energy efficient durable goods. More consumers are happy to receive secondhand gifts (Amazon 2022). No need to buy and own, either, when you can rent and reduce. Joining car sharing programmes has become a thing in many neighbourhoods (Eurocities 2023). When people were working from home, they noticed that cars stood idle on the driveways or in the garages. They might just as well earn some extra income by sharing the car with others. This trend is part of the post-COVID mentality of living more responsibly. It might actually be possible to save the planet while saving (or even earning) money!

For businesses, the top challenge is again cost effectiveness. Being innovative and responsive to consumer needs requires careful planning, discipline, prioritisation and adoption of circular business models. As conscious consumers drive change towards green commerce, rental, recycling and repairing services will become more widespread. Pop-up shops selling pre-owned items and products as a service may help businesses embrace circularity on the side of their conventional business, using new platforms and technologies. Finland has a lot to offer on this front with its ambitious goal of becoming a circular nation by 2035.

Sustainability will continue to reshape consumer behavior and it is going to play a bigger role in doing business in 2023, but it does not have to break the bank. Sustainable actions can be as simple as embracing second-hand materials or letting employees work from home.