Staying on top of consumer trends in 2023

Editor’s note: Alison Angus is the head of lifestyles at Euromonitor International and Gina Westbrook is the director of consumer trends at Euromonitor International. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “What Are the Top 10 Consumer Trends in 2023? 

It goes without saying: consumers = complex. Our behaviors are multifaceted – and sometimes even contradictory. Our intentions and actions don’t always align and our preferences are rarely permanent. Anticipating your customers’ needs and delivering innovative solutions that tackle their pain points are not easy tasks. But our report can help guide your marketing campaigns and business plans.

This article will cover the top 10 consumer trends in 2023. Get the report to expand on these insights with strategic recommendations and case studies (registration required). 

Authentic automation is on the rise

Technology is everywhere. It’s embedded into our lives – often without us even realizing it. From your lights at home to store checkouts, automation is all around us. But robots haven’t mastered human nuances just yet. We still want that personal touch and human connection. Humans and machines need to work in sync. Your customers could feel disconnected from your brand if you rely too much on tech.

Budgeteers: How people are budgeting their money

This trend speaks for itself. We’re trying to stretch our cash and get the most for our money in this volatile economy. Saving is top of mind. People must decide between paying more for everyday essentials, trading down to lower-cost products or skipping purchases entirely.

These shoppers opt for affordable, flexible options like buy-now-pay-later services and resale or incentives like rewards perks (for example, paying with points or exclusive discounts).

Limiting social media usage

How many times have you caught yourself mindlessly browsing online? Whether it’s TikTok, Netflix or your favorite online retailer, we’ve all been there, and probably more times than we’d like to admit!

Now, we’re taking our screen time more seriously and being selective with the platforms we use. But this shouldn’t be mistaken for a digital detox; we aren’t unplugging. Rather, making the most of our time online. If you’ve deleted, unsubscribed or opted out of some apps as of late – or are keeping a closer eye on how much time you devote to digital activities – then you’re a prime example of this trend.

Eco Economic: Limiting our consumption

Eco Economic and Budgeteers are closely related. The difference: Eco Economic speaks to how a cost-conscious mindset could benefit the environment. Let’s break it down.

Certain consumers aren’t spending, buying or travelling as much as they once were. Plus, the cost-of-living crisis also caused us to look for ways to conserve energy and keep utility fees low. These cutbacks help limit consumption, which means less waste, but also draw people towards greener alternatives like energy-efficient products, renting or secondhand shopping. Decreased consumption is increasing sustainability by proxy.

The popularization of gaming culture 

Gaming hits the mainstream. From mobile games to esports, everyone is getting in on the action. Amateur, casual, hardcore and professional players span all ages. These highly engaged consumers are captivated when immersed in a virtual game. More brands are creating playable ads or products that are geared towards gaming culture but this is just the tipping point. Gaming as a form of entertainment and revenue stream will only gain traction from here.

Here and now

Remember our comment about consumer behavior being contradictory at times? Well, if budgeting money is about saving, here and now is about (smart) splurging.

Let’s be honest, the past few years – and counting – have felt like a perpetual crisis. We’ve dealt with a pandemic, the highest inflation in decades, economic downturn – the list goes on. We were forced to make substantial sacrifices along the way. This year, we’re giving ourselves permission to live a little. Think: affordable luxuries and indulgences. Even though we’re wary with our wallets, we’ll still take the plunge and treat ourselves. After all, we deserve it.

Returning to our routines

Three words: out and about. We want to get on with our lives – no matter what uncertainties may be ahead. We’re continuing to make up for time spent in pandemic lockdowns. So, we’re trying to get back on track and attain a sense of normality. Keep in mind that everyone is going to have their own perception of “normal.” Regardless, consumers are looking for fun and want to rediscover the world.

Fighting for women’s empowerment

Women are warriors and we refuse to be silenced any longer. The fight for women’s rights is louder and stronger. The overturn of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. and the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, amongst other injustices, sparked outrage worldwide. Consumers are standing up in solidarity for female equality. People aren’t backing down until there’s positive change. Bottom line: women’s empowerment cannot be ignored.

The thrivers: Finding a realistic balance

It’s no secret: we’re overwhelmed and exhausted. We want to go about our days without draining our energy in the process. So, enough really is enough. We’re hitting pause, taking a step back and letting go of anything outside our control. We’re not overexerting (hello, quiet quitting). Instead, we’re finding balance (and boundaries), so we can do and be our best.

Young and disrupted: Gen Z continues to trend

The pandemic shaped Gen Z’s most formative years. These digital natives are on the cusp of financial freedom and their unconventional upbringing will transform business as usual. Millennials were the first content creators, but Gen Z will up the ante. Social media serves as a stage to present themselves, a search engine for discovery and a lucrative career path.