Top 10 global consumer trends for 2015By Amy Hopkins
It can be a tricky business to guess which trends will be big among consumers in the year ahead. So we take a look at Euromonitor’s predictions, and see how they could impact the spirits sector.
In her Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2015 report, Daphne Kasriel-Alexander, consumer trends consultant for market research company Euromonitor, identifies what shoppers will be seeking in the coming 12 months.
As an integral aspect of the global retail market, many of these trends will impact the spirits industry – whether in the travel retail environment or “ethical consumption” sector.
Kasriel-Alexander predicts that in general: “Consumption in 2015 is increasingly being driven by the heart: consumers are making choices defined by their positive impact on the world and community through cause-linked buying, the thriving ‘sharing economy’ or the ‘can-do’ attitude that Millennials have in common.”
Other consumer trends set to spill into the spirits industry include a focus on “digital health”, convenience buying and the rise of “omnichannel” shopping.
Click through the following pages to see Kasriel-Alexander’s Top 10 global consumer trends, and how they relate to spirits.
To view Euromonitor’s report in full, click here.
A good tip for spirits retailers to take on board in the coming year – cater to post-recessionary consumers who are willing to pay more for products which simplify their hectic lives, such as through a well-developed smartphone app.
Euromonitor also predicts a surge in growth of convenience shops as more consumers opt to buy less and more often in so-called “top up shopping”.
“In many countries, the convenience store is thriving. Small shops in petrol stations, pharmacy chains and discount shops, barely developed until recently, are more in demand in the capital cities of countries such as Panama and Guatemala,” states Kasriel-Alexander.
In Britain, a new breed of consumer, dubbed “inshopniacs”, have also been born from the country’s 24-hour shopping culture.
Consumption as route to progress
A number of spirits groups have already demonstrated so-called “brand activism” in recent months, and it seems many more will be poised to exploit their corporate responsibility choices.
“Brands seem keener to align themselves with changing the world for the better, picking up on consumer interest in a more caring consumption style and an understanding that counterculture is better organised and has new needs,” said Kasriel-Alexander.
Bacardi frequently extolls of the virtues of having sustainable business practices, recently partnering with Ryder to promote sustainable supply chain solutions. The group’s Bombay Sapphire Laverstock Mill Distillery has also won various environmental accolades.
Meanwhile the predicted rise of single estate spirits, and the continuing growth of the craft sector, shows that consumers are interested in brands that support local communities.
Influencers: more like us
Celebrity endorsements is an old marketing tactic in the world of spirits, but according to Kasriel-Alexander, fellow consumers are also set to play a more dominant role in steering preferences and buying choices.
Advertising laws permitting, brands may be turning more towards video bloggers – “Vloggers” – and other bloggers to give their products more exposure among millennials who frequently seek lifestyle inspiration.
“An interesting, related development sees social media marketers identifying ‘influencers’ with a dynamic social media presence,” said Kasriel-Alexander.
“These young personalities, who have become beauty and fashion ambassadors, can be harnessed to promote brands, chat in front of a camera with ease, and are free of the reluctance of A-listers to link their names to a commercial activity.”
Let’s share: the rise and rise of lightweight living
Identifying so-called “collaborative consumption”, Kasriel-Alexander claims consumers are moving away from individualistic, capitalist ideals to adopt a more interactive process to buying.
For spirits, a number of initiatives have already demonstrated this trend over the past year. Brands including Glenmorangie and Jim Beam have launched campaigns where consumers can collaboratively engage with the brand. The Scotch brand launched what it claimed was the “world’s first” crowd-managed whisky last year, Glenmorangie Taghta, while Jim Beam fans were asked to co-create a single barrel bottle label.
Distilleries seeking funds through crowd-sourcing is also a prevalent trend which has started to appear in the spirits industry, and is one that is set to develop further in 2015.
Malls and shopping centres in community mode
Shopping centres have been largely reported as a declining category, but Kasriel-Alexander reports that such establishments are “stepping up their reinvention as stylish community hubs reminiscent of town squares of the past”.
Supermarkets are also attempting to emulate this “community-led” concept seen in malls and shopping centres. For example, Tesco Watford Extra hair salons, baby gyms and yoga are featured alongside a large community room for local people.
This reinvention inevitably extends to the beer wine and spirits sections of such shops. Tesco Watford Extra was one of the chain’s three UK stores that launched a new BWS layout, featuring a more open area including a variety of displays for seasonal specialities, a dedicated cocktail zone, and an interactive, communal area where customers can learn about malt whisky.
Consumers of legal drinking age in the Millennials category – young people born roughly between 1980 and the mid-2000s – are frequently the target customer-base for multinational drinks firms.
However, such consumers are no-longer predominantly viewed as status-seekers, they are, according to Kasriel-Alexander, “risk-averse and socially-conscious”.
“Many are indifferent to prestige brands and lavish ads, preferring to buy online or shop in high street chains for items like organically-farmed cotton clothing with the odd high-end buy,” she added.
As such, spirits brands are predicted to increasingly turn away from the “bling” marketing tactic previously used to attract younger drinkers, who are now seeking “responsible and impactful” programmes.
Particularly relevant to online spirits retailers, Kasriel-Alexander notes that consumers are increasingly protective of their privacy, and brands will “offer privacy as a selling point”.
“Consumers may be unsure about developments like location-specific advertising or targeted advertising linked to their previous online searches,” she said.
However, Kasriel-Alexander adds that customers don’t always mind being tracked online, and appreciate seemingly personalised recommendations.
Shopping the world
Kasriel-Alexander predicts that more globetrotting consumers will make shopping tourism a major part of their trip by “choosing a base near key shopping areas”.
Of course, as travellers make shopping a central part of their holiday, the bountiful possibilities for growth in travel retail – a much-coveted sector for luxury spirits – continues.
For online retailers, an increasing number of their client base is expected to hail from abroad, as consumers seek not only the best bargain, but also products that are seen as unique.
Virtual to real and back
“Brands that have interacted and bonded with their customers online via contests and offers are expected to see larger sales,” believes Kasriel-Alexander.
As such, spirits brands with a good consumer engagement record online, along with convenient and “omnichannel” retailing strategies, are likely to thrive in the year ahead. “Omnichannel” refers to the blurring of “real” and “virtual” shopping experiences, such as Tesco’s whisky education app.
Wired and well: connected health
The health craze is continuing to grip consumers across all sectors, and spirits is no exception as demand soars for gluten-free expressions, low-calorie cocktails, and organic ingredients.
However, Kasriel-Alexander notes that consumers will now “monitor their wellbeing digitally”, presenting further opportunities in the realm of online innovation.
“This blend of exercise and technology also mirrors broader lifestyle trends,” she said. “Consumers everywhere are connected most of the time, thanks to smartphones, so it feels natural to them to blend fitness elements into their mobile cocoons.”
As such, drinks-related health apps are sure to increase in the year ahead. An app which indicates to drinkers when they are too drunk has already been developed, while other calorie counting, health-consious technologies are sure to ensue.