The european consumer trends to watch out for in 2018

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Last week, a few members of our PR, advertising and media teams traveled to London to join Mintel‘s 6th annual ‘Big Conversation’ – a chance to take a look at the European consumer trends worth watching out for in 2018.

Hannah Mae, one of our Senior PR Account Managers, shares her experience here on the blog.

As an agency, we know how important audience insight is for creating effective campaigns that deliver results. Naturally, we jumped at the chance to meet some of Mintel‘s top analysts face-to-face, to hear more about the predictions they’re making for 2018 consumer habits.

The session was jam-packed, and took the format of an initial presentation from a senior analyst, and then a panel discussion with experts from a range of industries. Here are a few of the highlights and key takeaways from the day, covering four consumer trends to look out for next year:

Brands will respond to the effects of ocean plastic

  • By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, so Mintel predicts that many brands, especially from the beauty and travel sectors, will look to develop sustainable products in order to distinguish themselves from the competition.
  • As we’ve seen with the 5p plastic bag charge and micro-beads ban, legislation is the way to force change. We’ll be seeing increased pressure from brands, campaigners and in time, consumers.
  • A staggering 79% of consumers think people should be incentivised to recycle, so watch out for ‘reverse’ vending machines and the introduction of deposit-return schemes.
  • Progressive brands have already started to think about this (examples include the Adidas recycled trainers and the first shampoo bottle from head and shoulders made completely from beach plastic).

GDPR legislation will impact on information sharing

  • The new GDPR legislation, which comes into force in May 2018, will force businesses to seek consumer consent, disclose tracking and offer the right to be forgotten when it comes to data.
  • Younger consumers are becoming more savvy and realise that their personal information holds value. They are open to data exchanges in return for personalised offers.
  • The aggregation of sign-ins (for example connecting multiple bank accounts and utilities) as well as faster-filling application forms, will tempt consumers into allowing their data to be shared – the reward for doing so being increased convenience.

Brands will try to tackle health issues faced by modern teenagers

  • There’s growing awareness around the digital pressures facing young people today. Mintel found that a quarter of 7-15 year olds are concerned about their future after school, but the same number are also concerned about their appearance.
  • In the UK, the Royal Society for Public Health has identified Instagram as the most damaging social media platform, and reports it having an impact on sleep, body image, bullying and feelings of loneliness.
  • Brands are now recognising the role they can play in improving mental health, and young people will look to brands to support them in education, development, health and wellbeing.
  • Young people will be sure to call out brands with unrealistic beauty ideals and will be quick to support those embracing diversity – a perfect example is ASOS using models with stretch marks.

Consumers will demand more transparency from brands

  • Mintel found just 25% of those who’ve accessed newspapers online feel that the content is trustworthy.
  • In a world of fake news and unsubstantiated media, consumers are expecting brands to provide them with transparency, simplicity and evidence to back up their claims.
  • Social Media has provided a platform where consumers can ‘call-out’ brands and demand truth. Many consumers are now expecting brands to be proactive when it comes to telling customers how a product is made, where it comes from and exactly what’s in it.
  • In line with the calls for #ad and #spon to be used on paid-for social media posts, radical transparency is the buzz word for 2018.

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