We live in culturally volatile times, and it’s become increasingly important for brands to be able to spot cultural trends and leverage them. Being on the wrong side of culture is a sure-fire way of losing relevance with consumers and stakeholders. Additionally, in rapidly changing times it’s become even harder to foresee which way the wind is blowing and what forces in the future can impact a brand and its fortunes.
It is, thus, crucial for brands to keep a tab on the emerging shifts in consumer behavior and attitudes that they can leverage to connect with them, in truly a meaningful way.
At Havas Group, the Prosumer study is our unique tool to predict what tomorrow will look like. Prosumers are defined as consumers who are leading influencers and market drivers, constituting 15-20% of all consumers. What Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers will likely be doing 6 to 18 months from now. In turn, The Prosumer Study is built by collecting and analyzing prosumer attitudes and behaviors from 30+ markets and over 15,000+ respondents of all ages, genders & ethnicities.
In 2015, the study predicted the rise of nationalism in the USA, a trend that foresaw the appeal of the Trump slogan “Make America great again” and helped catapult him into the white house.
Here are some more recent examples of trends that have become mainstream and gained traction.
- Meteoric adoption of anti-aging technology amongst GenZ and millennials: As per The Future of Aging prosumer report released in Q1’20, 49% of Prosumers were open to editing their DNA to delay aging their cells and 40% were willing to use artificial intelligence to stimulate their neurons. Surely enough, by the end of the year, India’s smartest minds started working on a next-generation probiotic bacterium (Lactobacillus Plantarum JBC5) that provides hope for longevity and healthy ageing. The search for ways to reverse aging has also been championed at a college level by a team at IIT-Guwahati who are creating agri-based anti-aging technology.
- Sports becoming a university for life: As per ‘The Sports Forward’ prosumer report released in Q2’20, almost all respondents agree that sports are the best way for children to learn teamwork, self-confidence, and perseverance. Inevitably in the second half of 2020 reports of how India is planning for sports to be part of the education curriculum and not just an extra-curricular activity came to the surface. Then in middle 2021, with the interest in a sports-led curriculum at an all-time high, the Delhi government capitalized by building a Sports university. Following the trend, Assam Rifles Public Schools became the first Khelo India Sports School from the North-East.
- Beyond awareness of re-use, repair & resell into action towards building a circular economy: Released in Q4’20 The Prosumer Report titled ReACT, confirmed that 73% of the Prosumers felt that brands should repair more and 66% were willing to face the challenges of hyper-consumption by repairing rather than re-purchasing. Towards the end of 2021, the popularization of thrift stores symbolized this shift in the mindset of Indian consumers towards sustainability. Even brands such as Levi’s echo the sound of a more sustainable future by asking consumers to purchase less and repair more by altering their old jeans to newer styles.
- The rising prominence of social e-commerce: Released in Q1’21 when the world was debating which habits to take forward from the pandemic era, The Future Of Ecommerce report foretold the prosumer’s desire for more community-led shopping experiences online. 84% of Prosumers felt that e-commerce experiences were better than in-store experiences with 68% feeling that it was necessary to bring the community experience to online shopping and 83% also believed that it is important for e-commerce to be sustainably responsible . The proof in the pudding was when Trell, a Social E-Commerce platform, was rated one of the top startups in India for 2021. And as consumers started looking for sustainability in every purchase decision, brands such as Amazon, Swiggy & Zomato are eliminating single-use plastic and looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint by switching to EV fleets.
- Stratospheric rise in the popularity of wearable devices: released during Q2’21, while still reeling from the pandemic’s long-term effects, the Health & Hygiene in the Post-Covid Era report predicted how prosumers would allow more access to their health information through wearables. The bells rang true, with emerging technology in 2022 doing just that, changing the way consumers access their health information through wearables. Wearables such as Ultrahuman track your blood glucose in real-time and maximize your diet and exercise. While in Bangalore a start-up called InbioZ is making wearables that track skin hydration and bone density. As wearable technology gets more advanced it leads the way to save many more lives. In fact, it already has, in 2022 an Apple watch user’s life was saved due to detecting a 99.9% artery blockage in Haryana.
- The Astronomical Rise of Social Payments: The Tech Forward prosumer report released in Q3’21 confirmed that 65% of Prosumers have no problem using services invented by SM apps to send and receive money. Almost immediately WhatsApp leveraged this favorable attitude towards money transfers on social media, by making payment services available on their mobile app for all users. Even Twitter has collaborated with Paytm to make payment tips accessible for all its users above the age of 18, ratifying the need and widespread acceptance of social payments.
- Upsurge in Activism Over Politics To Fight For The Planet: The Generation Covidprosumer report released in Q4’21 established that 59% of prosumers in India are personally engaged in some form of activism for the planet. Towards the end of 2021, there was an enormous rise in young environmental activists fighting for environmental issues they feel political institutions can’t solve. Nearly 20 environmental groups and civic activists from Pune approached the state environment department, urging it to scrap the Mula Mutha riverfront project. Chetan Singh Solanki, a professor at IIT-Bombay has taken it upon himself to ensure that we understand our impact on the planet and how to minimize it.
As the world re-opens post-pandemic and consumers re-evaluate their attitudes and priorities, the prosumer study becomes invaluable in its ability to foresee the future and help brands stay ahead of the curve and build meaningful ideas.
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