retail and consumerism

November 2nd, 2022


As we see cultures evolving, with brands & service providers pivoting to meet shopper demands, we, in turn, see the impact, shaping the world of retail and consumerism in response.

Societal Ripples & Behavioural Shifts

Craving community.


For many, the current times that have mandated the absence of contact, paired with the polarisation of the political spectrum, have driven a desire for a renewed sense of connection. In a study conducted in Australia, the World  Economic Forum researched how lockdowns have affected people’s social networks. In summary, their findings showed that; ‘some [people’s] networks shrank because of a lack of opportunity to catch up… unfortunately for many, friendship networks remained smaller months after lockdown’.

In response to increasing levels of social withdrawal and disconnection from physical friendship groups, the importance of social media sky-rocketed with massive increases in active users across the major social media networks, online gaming and video conferencing. However, ‘…this could not overcome an overall increase in loneliness or adequately substitute for physical interaction. It can be said for many that the craving to reconnect in new ways has arisen as a result of restrictions that paused or dismantled existing communities. The findings of the study showed that increased loneliness could be attributed to “touch hunger”, lost physical connection and a dissatisfaction with video conferencing.

A new desire to reconnect in spite of the issues we face as a race is aptly described by the author of the book ‘Impact Networks’, David Ehrlichman, who said, ‘Given the increasing complexity of our society and the issues we face, our ability to form, grow and work through networks has never been more essential’. This statement is justified by the data gathered by the Edelman Trust Barometer that recently found that 69% of people trusted people in their local community, rather than CEOs.

A philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Uniting together, putting values of empathy
and the good of the community above individualism. The favouring of alliances that are decentralising and redistributing power more equitably.

shaping the world of retail and consumerism
shaping the world of retail and consumerism

“Given the increasing complexity of our society and the issues we face, our ability to form, grow and work through networks has never been more essential.”

– David Ehrlichman, author, Impact Networks

shaping the world of retail and consumerism

Conscious deceleration


In rebuttal to the macro-trends of digital transformation and Neo-collectivism, many are seeking sanctuary from the fast-paced, connected lives we lead. Burn-out is one of the main drivers pushing people to seek out deceleration in the form of self-care and disconnection from the churn of content and social media.

A recent Gallup study of almost 7,500 full-time employees in the US found that nearly a quarter (23%) very often or always feel burned out at work, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. This has been mirrored by the WHO classifying burnout as an occupational phenomenon on par with stress and depression.

We are seeing similar realisations appearing within social media realms, with the big networks providing built-in tools to help people take breaks from their platforms to support mental health. Digital transformation has also driven an overreliance on screens to communicate with shoppers, leading to a world where screens are everywhere, and disruption has hit peak effectiveness, turning content into visual noise that goes ignored and shoppers with fatigue.

Conscious decelerators seek refuge from the ‘ratrace’ of work commitments, overtime, digital fatigue and situations that are not conducive to their mental health. They are committed to a slower, more sustainable pace of life, shopping brands that share their more mindful lifestyles.

Although they do not completely reject technology, they do use it more mindfully to ensure it restores their sense of well-being. The demographic seeking a slower pace view aspects of their life, such as fitness, as more than just exercise, with mental agility and health held in such regard as physical prowess. This desire for a holistic approach is a rebalancing of connection rather than complete disconnection, with efficiency and less consumption, ergo less impact at its heart.

Sustainability plays a large part in defining the mindset of conscious decelerators, with the demographic preferring brands that take a whole system approach to wellness, the way business is conducted and brand values, even if they are imperfect, but showing a willingness to evolve and to be better.

Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress. Burn-out is included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.

Retail Futures 2030

What’s next?

In our latest insight report, “Retail Futures 2030“, we predict the future of what may come to pass – born out of the breadcrumbs and changing consumer behaviours (like the above). We reveal a total of  16 RETAIL FUTURES that our Trends and Insight team has predicted will begin to transpire before the decade is out! Download the Report