In last week’s column, we talked about WGSN’s “Future Consumer 2023” study and the trends that the study revealed. The same study also identified four distinct consumer groups that deserve our attention, each with different desires, motivations, fears and expectations of the brands in their lives.

The first of the four consumer groups is the predictors. Above all else, these consumers want stability, security, comfort and normality. They are looking for a nice, steady experience without a lot of peaks and valleys.

They want to be put at ease and want their lives to be simple and appreciate products and services that help them keep everything on an even keel. Interestingly, they’ve embraced a recessionary mindset, even if their personal finances have not been affected. To make a considered purchase, it needs to feel easy, affordable and incredibly convenient. 

Anything unexpected or that causes a ripple in their world is unwelcome. They want minimal interference or disruption in their lives. They also don’t appreciate an overabundance of marketing messages.

And this group – craving certainty and security but low on attention – is a great match for auto-refill and subscription services, which provide security and eliminate choice fatigue, while at the same time offering brands a source of data and a commitment to future purchases.

The next group has been labeled the new Romantics. They are people rethinking their whole work/life balance and making big changes to their lives. We are all seeing these people in the workplace, leaving good jobs to go back to school or stay home with the kids. Determined that their life after the pandemic will be different from how it was before or during the crisis, they’re moving out of cities, ditching their commute, and honoring new priorities built around the importance of family and service.

Their focus is on health, sustainability and equity. These are people who are taking control back and choosing to change their sliver of the world.

Conductors, the third group, are multidimensional, multitalented and always multitasking. Like everyone, the pandemic was hard for them, but these people were able to channel their energy in multiple directions and pursue new opportunities.

They’re now looking to capitalize on what they’ve learned, seeking out new experiences and driving the passion economy, in which people can make a living by doing what they love.

Their workday will remain flexible, with a focus on their output rather than time at their desk.

Finally, the impossibles are the fourth emerging consumer group WGSN has identified. These people are angry at what they see as a lack of governmental and institutional assistance in 2020. They are committed to using technology and their community of like-minded people to create a future in which anything is possible.

They expect businesses to stand for something, are tech-savvy and socially driven, and want to challenge the status quo. They feel the onus is on them to build back better, and it’s in their power to do better for communities around them.

The study also predicted that the next two years will require all businesses to think about a quartet of underlying factors that will reshape the customer landscape, no matter which of these consumer groups they’re dealing with:

  • Predictability – making people’s lives easier and helping them feel safe and secure.
  • Diversification – prioritizing what’s important to people and developing products and services that meet those new needs.
  • Shopper entertainment – using new platforms and experiences to make commerce more exciting. 
  • The metaverse – a collective shared space that will change the way people live and work in the future.

This new era is one of opportunity for us as business owners and leaders. We can help shape not only the future of our businesses, but of our communities.