Some of the major trends shaping the global economy may continue to falter during the COVID-19 pandemic, as uncertainty and insecurity continue. Other megatrends, as Euromonitor International calls them, may accelerate on their upward course as the pandemic drastically reorder consumers’ buying habits and priorities. For a third category of megatrends, consumer and industry sentiments remain ambiguous and difficult to predict. Euromonitor analysts discussed consumer trend shifts during a webinar, “Innovating During Coronavirus: A Guide to Recovery and Business Growth.”
Euromonitor pools their reports to create a list of megatrends, Stella Vatcheva, Euromonitor head of innovation, said during the webinar. Megatrends are key drivers for consumer trends in the future, and therefore for innovation as well, across different product portfolios. However, as the world went into lockdown, consumers formed new habits and developed new values as new behaviors emerged.
Megatrends reduced by pandemic
- Buying time with convenience
Prior to the pandemic product launches were centered more around premiumization, convenience as a means of buying time and personalization, she said. The pandemic and economic downturn influenced consumers to temporarily curb their spending on products that typically address such needs.
Uncertain megatrends during the pandemic
- Experience more
- Ethical living
Two megatrends face conflicting forces during the pandemic. Products with attributes that address these megatrends typically carry a more premium price tag, Vatcheva said, while consumers currently have shifted spending towards value and necessity.
“It's interesting because on the company's side, it does seem that these are long term commitments for organization,” she said. “Most recently, for example, Amazon announced their US$2 billion climate pledge fund commitment just last week.”
Companies and consumers currently must center investment on business continuity, she said, but Euromonitor believes that there will be a return to a focus on the megatrends of ethical living and focusing on experience over acquisition.
Five megatrends amplified by COVID-19 pandemic
- Shopping reinvented
- Changing family dynamics
- New ways of working
- Healthy living
- Connected Consumers
The pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce, she said. Online purchasing and product research are parts of how shopping has been reinvented. Family dynamics have changed as parents and children now spend more time with each other, which brings the challenges of homeschooling and constant parenting responsibilities. People also now work from home more frequently. Consumers’ focus on healthy living has grown to include a strong focus on immunity. Even across populations that were previously more resistant to it, the pandemic has forced a high adoption rate for telecommunications technologies, leading to more connected consumers.
All of those megatrend shifts are forcing businesses to pivot their offerings to find gaps or emerging needs, and to reassess their core, she said.
“However, this does not have to be a business restart,” Vatcheva said. “It just needs to be a rethink.”