What does the consumer of the future look like? 2024 ushers in a new year of realignment
Main image: Credit to WGSN
Part 1 Consumer sentiments
After years of rapid industry, technological and social acceleration, 2024 ushers in an era of realignment. WGSN presents the new key consumer sentiments and profiles, and what must be done to win minds and market share.
The future of consumers
Future Consumer 2024 is part of a series of unparalleled business strategy reports that empower people with the knowledge to anticipate and deliver engagement strategies and products for tomorrow’s consumers.
WGSN’s consumer sentiments are selected through their proprietary methodology. Some of these sentiments may emerge earlier in certain regions, but all of them are expected to be present in masse in 2024.
This refers to the social and emotional paralysis induced by stress and disorientation at the magnitude and velocity of the changes we are experiencing. In 2024 we will see a circular existence, where lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurred.
Meta-economies will arise from it, but rapid technological change that affects daily life always induces a sense of anxiety, hence the name, future shock.
Time compression (a cognitive effect where time passes more quickly than one thinks) is starting to emerge among users of metaverses and virtual realities. It can be useful, but ongoing compression can lead to dissociation with reality, anxiety, addictive behaviours and future shock.
An overload of stimulus driven by constant connectivity and the sensory revolution, which has been caused by the pandemic. Isolation, changing work patterns and social habits have shifted how people use their senses to navigate the world. Touch is absent and other sensory elements such as noise and artificial light seem harder to deal with after lockdown.
This rapid change is driving overstimulation. People have become more connected with the rise in digitalisation and social media usage. As overstimulation grows, so does sensory overload when the brain gets more input than it can process.
This mindset offers a realistic framing of life and involves the search for meaning amid the inevitable tragedies of human existence. A study has confirmed that people can grow positively due to difficult times. It’s not the traumatic event that leads to growth, but how the event is processed. Emotional plurality and compassion fatigue are rising issues and many more people will continue to suffer from some form of mental disorder, especially depression and anxiety. People are seeking self-care and to learn to cope with this fast-changing world.
This is a mixture of fear and wonder, which brings people together and inspires them. This has been a tool for human survival and is necessary for future growth and to build back better. It helps the self shrink and the world expand. It allows people to refocus and be more effective. Daily awe experiences can reduce depression. This can be spending time in nature or listening to new music. Awe-inducing events may be one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth. In 2024 it will be important to try to incorporate regular awe moments into the everyday.
Each of the Consumer Profiles will be unpacked in Part 2, to follow in the next issue.