Blurred lines on gender feature of 2016 trends

Euromonitor International has released the top trends for 2016 and "Agnostic Shoppers" top the list. Photo / Chris Gorman
Euromonitor International has released the top trends for 2016 and "Agnostic Shoppers" top the list. Photo / Chris Gorman

This year, consumers are going to be filling their trolleys with green food and gender-neutral toys, and using their smartphone to find the nearest op-shop.

Well, that's according to the latest report on the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends.

Euromonitor International has released the top trends for 2016 and "Agnostic Shoppers" top the list. With smartphones at the ready, these shoppers can compare prices at the swipe of a finger and are less bothered about labels and recognised products. They are more savvy, thrifty and more likely to buy pre-loved items.

"Agnostic consumers flit between shops and products in search for value and novelty, presenting a challenge for brands who want to connect with them or inspire their loyalty," says Euromonitor International's consumer trends editor, Daphne Kasriel-Alexander.

The other trends detailed in the report include:

• Gender blurring - The growing acceptance of a blurred line between genders is also going to become more evident in consumerism.

Consumers will buy toys that are less gender specific and retailers will reconsider the way toys are marketed and displayed. High-profile transgender individuals such as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair have helped with the acceptance of a more fluid gender.

• Buying time - From buying ready-made meals and wearing activewear so they are always "workout ready", consumers are all about buying time this year. With busy lifestyles, the importance of rest will be highlighted, with more products available to enhance good sleep.

• Challenging ageing - Old age as we know it will undergo change, with older people living busier and more satisfying lives. Post-middle-age consumers are more energetic, work more, are technology savvy and enjoy better physical health.

• Change makers - A conflict-ridden world has prompted individual consumers to want to enrich lives and preserve the Earth's natural resources. Younger consumers are seen as being at the helm of a crusade to embrace social causes.

• Greener food - 2016 will be the year of eating green. Consumers will be more aware of food waste and are more likely to shop local and in season. Consumers will consider cheaper food past its best-before date and shop in retail chains selling it.

• Mental wellbeing - Consumers will put more emphasis on mental and emotional wellbeing. The pursuit of mindfulness can be seen in apps, colouring-in books and on the bestsellers list - watch out for a backlash, though.

• Over-connected consumers - Half the world's population has internet access and 2016 is forecast to see more consumers looking at the negatives of digital life. Consumers will become more critical of teenagers' addictive texting, children on handheld devices into the night and the use of social media and technology in our lives.

• Shopping for control - Alongside smart devices, consumers will buy a broader range of products that make them feel safer, such as organic food, financial services, sun protection, security agents and air purifiers.

• Spending singles - This year will see the rise of the PANKs and PUNKS (Professional Aunt/Uncle No Kids) who enjoy spending on the other kids in their lives. There will also be more emphasis on solo travel.

- NZ Herald

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