The health mega-trend is the most dynamic trend and is widely regarded as the most important in shaping marketing and product development strategies.
Datamonitor’ s recent report, 'New Developments in Global Consumer Trends', summarises the latest evidence and developments associated with the 10 mega-trends the analysts first identified in 2004.
Senior Consumer Market Analyst and author of the study, Daniel Bone, said, “Successful businesses and innovations are rooted in satisfying consumer needs.
This is significantly assisted by an intuitive understanding of trends, especially the consumer values and attitudes driving them.
Trend evolution reflects changes in consumer needs and behavior must therefore be reflected by evolving product portfolios.”
Health: Health concerns are gaining momentum and increasing in scope
When Datamonitor surveyed nearly 1,000 global industry executives from the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, health was identified as the most important of the 10 Datamonitor mega-trends shaping new product development (NPD) and marketing.
In all, 41 per cent of industry respondents felt that health was ‘very important’ and only 9 per cent felt that it was ‘unimportant’. Some findings from Datamonitor’s pan-European and US survey of over 5,000 consumers include:
More than half of European and US shoppers used nutritional information on packaging with greater regularity to make food & drink choices in 2006. UK consumers (60 per cent) were most likely to do so, compared to a low of 37 per cent in Germany. No wonder the debate over food labelling continues to escalate.
Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers took more steps to eat more healthily in 2006. Again, the UK (76 per cent) and Germany (58 per cent) represented the extremes in response.
Consuming fresh food and drinks is considered to be the most important route to a healthy diet. Concurrently, consumers are expressing a strong desire to limit processed food & drink intake.
Health and wellness concerns transcend diet and nutrition. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of European and US consumers feel that 'spending time on personal appearance is an important aspect of achieving a state of wellness/wellbeing', and 40 per cent of consumers reported spending more time on their personal appearance in 2006 compared with the previous year.
Income complexity: shoppers are increasingly mixing luxury and value simultaneously
Income is no longer a straightforward indicator of consumption behaviour with consumers shopping at both the premium and value ends of the market. While much is made and rightly so about the trend towards premiumisation.
Datamonitor points out value-driven shopping is also a highly important and prevailing trend.
Some 28 per cent of US consumers reported’trading up to higher priced grocery items in categories that they enjoy or consider important’, more often in 2006.
However, 42 per cent reported they had also ’chosen grocery products on the basis of value’ with greater regularity. Consumers obtain a genuine sense of fulfilment when they obtain a ‘good-deal’.
Private label products in particular appeal to consumers’ bargain hunting side. Datamonitor predicts private label penetration in food will exceed 30 per cent by 2011, up from 20 per cent in 2001. In the US, sales penetration will approach 25 per cent by 2011, again up from 20 per cent in 2001.
One characteristic associated with Income Complexity is that consumers’ financial circumstances are increasingly complex. Consumer debt continues to escalate to record levels as does the income gap between rich and poor.Bone said, “Income trends will continue to drive a value-premium dichotomy when it comes to buying habits.
“Consumers will look to make savings in categories they are less emotionally attached to so they can indulge their premium aspirations in other categories. Effectively tapping into shopper emotions will be a key battle ground for justifying price premiums.”Convenience: consumers increasingly feel that they need to fit in many competing demands on time
The convenience mega-trend reflects the increased time pressures, stresses and work-life balance problems that consumers increasingly experience.Time pressures are having a notable impact on the way consumers prepare and consume meals (or don’t consume as is often the case). European and US consumers, on average, prepare 19.3 meals per month involving the use of a microwave.
The average European missed 68 breakfasts in 2006, compared to an average of 59 missed breakfasts for an average American. Americans are even more likely to skip lunch (66 missed occasions in 2006).
Historically, the convenience and health trends have created a consumer problem: an inability to maintain healthy eating and drinking habits because convenient options too often lack nutritious benefits.
Overall, the need for convenient health is gaining momentum: nearly 6 in 10 (59 per cent) of European and US consumers overall sought more convenient AND healthy food and drinks in 2006.
There is evidence consumers are trying to claw back time and re-prioritize. More than a third (36 per cent) of American and Europeans made a conscious attempt to improve their work-life balance in 2006, with as many as 53 per cent of Spanish respondents indicating this.Bone said, “Around the world, consumers are looking to improve and simplify their lives with the foods they eat and the products used at home.
“Convenience is therefore a major force behind much product innovation and is resulting in strong growth in ‘on-the-go’ products such as bottled water as well as efficacy driven products which simplify routine tasks.”
He concluded, “These 10 mega-trends identified in Datamonitor’s research all have longevity and significance because they are rooted in core consumer needs.
"Successful products must be founded on at least one and ideally several of them if they are to stand a chance of success. The challenge will be maintaining a close eye on how the mega-trends evolve.”
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