Long-Term Consumer Trends

At Human Ventures, we spend a lot of time thinking about behavioral trends and how these will impact the consumer landscape. To continue this thought exercise, below are a couple areas that have been on my mind recently.

Health is becoming a part of everyday conversation

Healthcare
People are more openly talking about the various conditions they are dealing with. We saw the first wave of this take off in mental health, and I expect tech to address the growing consumer need around treatment, community, and knowledge sharing across all health conditions.

Food
Increasingly, consumer are becoming pickier about what they choose to put into their bodies. Food brands have long incorporated tough-to-pronounce preservatives and sweeteners into their products in order to optimize shelf-life. However, we’ve already seen brands leverage the ingredient label (RX Bar) and expect up-and-coming brands to take similar strategies. Even Bud Light is now putting nutritional labels on it s packaging! Moving forward, there will be a Food-as-a-Medicine movement that will present ways to naturally treat health conditions and promote long-term health.

Exercise
It’s been interesting to watch the perception of exercise change from something a small subset of people regularly do to a full-blown social, cult-like activity with the introduction of companies such as Soulcycle and at-home options like Peloton. As more people take exercise seriously, expect further innovations that streamline the incorporation of it in our daily lives. Examples include Peloton-for-X (ie. boxing, weightless workouts with virtual instructors) and fitness options for those who lack access (airport options for frequent travelers, organized pop-up classes for urban low-income individuals).

People are becoming more environmentally friendly

Mobility
There are more mobility alternatives to the combustible engine than ever before. Electric vehicles continue their march toward supplanting gas-powered automobiles, but alternative short distance alternatives are sprouting up thanks to the scooter craze that is spreading rapidly. Expect more electric-powered micro-mobility options to hit the market.

Retail
Many brands are aligning themselves with environmentally sound practices. An emerging example is using a closed-loop model where clothing brands will accept your used clothing and send you new products at a discount. By recycling used products, waste and environmental impact is minimized. Expect more brands to leverage a closed loop model as a differentiator.

Food
Various meat substitutes are on the market already and working their way into the mainstream. As technology improves and we are able to produce healthier and more environmentally sound products that rival traditional options in taste, consumers will begin to shift rapidly to these new products.

Trust is more important than ever

Social Media
Thanks in large part to the missteps of Facebook, the broad public is now aware of what can happen in this age of seamless sharing. Privacy is becoming increasingly valued and people are beginning to become aware of the social bubbles that form on these networks and how they affect the discourse of diverse viewpoints. It will be very tough to combat the network effects that the social media giants enjoy, but I believe there will be attempts by new networks with trust built in from the beginning.

News
Given that’s it’s easier than ever to reach social bubbles, many have leveraged it to masquerade opinions and lies as the truth, leading the general public to guess what is accurate and what’s not. Services will be created that seamlessly filter out fact from fiction so that people don’t have to wonder whether their judgment is being influenced by the biases self-interested organizations.

The Importance of Purpose

This one is a bit of a catch all, but consumers (especially younger generations) see the movements they are aligned with as a very important part of their identity. From record voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections to the students of Parkland, attention around social issues is increasing and I expect consumers to prefer brands who they feel are most closely aligned with their views and causes they support. A important competitive moat will be building a robust community that consumers can rally around and one that fosters new connections with like-minded individuals.

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