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Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2019

6:13 min TWO:19Regions

Global market research company Euromonitor International has unveiled the top 10 global consumer trends to watch in 2019. With increased purchasing power, empowered consumers are pushing brands to embrace their values. Connected consumers are finding the joy in disconnecting. Older consumers want to feel and be treated as younger.  The supporting report provides an overview of the trends for 2019 and the implications for business.

The top 10 global consumer trends in 2019 are:

1. Age Agnostic - Boundaries of old age are shifting. As people live longer and take better care of themselves, older consumers feel and want to be treated as younger.

2. Back to Basics for Status - Shoppers are searching for authentic products and experiences, moving away from overt materialism to simplicity as well as from generic to higher quality products.

3. Conscious Consumer - What used to be the domain of ethically-positioned, niche producers is now being embraced by conventional companies through higher welfare products.

4. Digitally Together - As our digital capabilities and comfort usingnew technologies grows, so will the potential of what can be created or experienced together, but remotely.

5. Everyone’s an Expert - Whereas previously shoppers relied on a certain brand or information source, now companies must constantly innovate to entice more inquisitive shoppers.

6. Finding My JOMO - The Fear Of Missing Out has now given place to the Joy Of Missing Out. Consumers want to protect their mental wellbeing, disconnecting from technology and prioritizing what they truly want and enjoy doing.

7. I Can Look After Myself - As people become more self-sufficient, they take preventative measures against illness, unhappiness and discomfort without consulting a professional.

8. I Want a Plastic-free World - The push for a plastic-waste-free society has gained momentum, creating a virtuous circle where businesses gain by improving sustainability.

9. I Want it Now! - Consumers seek instant gratification and frictionless experiences that mesh with their lifestyles, allowing them to dedicate more time to their professional or social lives.

10. Loner Living - More people – especially older consumers – across the world break the stigma of living alone and embrace their independent lifestyles.

Spotlight on ‘I Want a Plastic-free World

Taking a closer look at the background to ‘I want a plastic-free world’, the push for a plastic-free society continues to gain momentum, and in 2019, consumer desire for a plastic-free world will grow, as the ‘Blue Planet Effect’ shines a light on the plastic-based waste products that end up polluting the natural world. Awareness is encouraging people to take action, through awareness campaigns and grass-roots conservation projects.

Ubiquitous Plastic Packaging, Low Recycling Rates and a Throw-away Culture

Euromonitor International estimates that 63% of global packaging across the food, beverage, beauty, home care and pet food industries is currently made from plastic. Plastic has become the preferred material for a range of reasons including its versatility and durability and has significantly contributed to reduction in food waste globally. 

But the rate at which this vast quantity of plastic packaging is recovered, recycled and re-used once its purpose has been served, is far from optimal and this is at the heart of the trend. There is a widespread lack of consumer understanding about what can and can’t be recycled, partly due to little standardisation in pack labelling across countries and even individual localities. Further, recycling rates vary hugely by region and country as awareness, incentives and capacity to treat plastic waste differ widely. 

SourceMuch of the Western world’s plastic waste has been shipped to China for treatment and re-purposing, but the Chinese government’s decision to end this trade in 2018 will lead many Western nations to rethink their recycling policies. In Europe, Germany has high recyclability rates, with deposit return schemes for plastic bottles and efficient municipal recycling programmes contributing to a reduction in plastic waste. However, many countries do not have the infrastructure, resources or indeed the political will to put a similar system in place. To compound the waste issue, we live in a throw-away society where on-the-go food and beverage productare becoming increasingly common as people try to manage their busy lives and seek convenient solutions. 

Consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly and recyclable products

Nevertheless, now consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to issues of plastic waste and this is impacting their shopping habits. The proportion of those willing to pay more for packaged food and fresh food which is environmentally conscious or eco-friendly has risen over the past two years. Similarly, the proportion of those who feel that recyclable packaging is an influential feature in beverage products has also grown. 

Response to I Want a  Plastic-Free World 

Globally, action is being taken with the goal of achieving a plastic-free world. As well as individual and group initiatives from grass-roots projects to NGO drives, brands are also realising the pivotal role that they play and are galvanising.

Expert view: Aiming instead for a plastic waste-free world?

Rosemarie Downey,  Global Head of Packaging Research, Euromonitor International

Plastic has never been such a talking point of consumer concern and set to be an even bigger consumer focus in 2019. The durability of plastic packaging, noted among its strengths, is being scrutinised because of plastic’s polluting presence, post-consumer use, as waste in the global environment. Notable NGO and legislative initiatives targeting plastic have pushed plastic high up the public agenda. Some retailers are making plastic-free commitments whilst brands and packagers are pledging to go further on re-use, recycled and recyclable packaging. 

It is important not to overlook plastic’s valuable contributions. It’s used in medicine, construction and transportation. There are also inherent protective and resource-efficient benefits afforded by plastic in preventing food waste. Rather than a wholesale ‘plasticfree’ target, perhaps a ‘plastic waste-free’ or an overall waste-free world should be the goal. There is a need to adopt a circular economy approach and harness the current spotlight on plastic as a positive means to progress development. Brands designing out surplus ensuring plastic recovery, recyclability and re-use, is a start. 

Optimised waste management infrastructures and a greater consumer understanding of plastic handling postuse is also necessary.


The desire for a plastic-free world is largely consumer-led and will gain further momentum in 2019 and beyond. As the conversation moves on, understanding of plastics’ various uses in modern society will increase, and the emphasis will be placed on responsible use, including recovery, recycling and re-use. Increased consumer understanding will also help to police so-called ‘greenwashing’, helping to expose false eco-friendly claims. While plastic alternatives, such as sea-weed water pods instead of plastic water bottles, will continue to be developed, ways of repurposing plastics will also be focused on, and the wave of corporate pledges on recycling/ recyclability are a positive step. 

Already we are seeing increasing momentum behind the circular economy, often at a grass-roots level, with plastic packaging waste being collected and repurposed continuously, and this is likely to continue in 2019. In the Netherlands, a cycle highway made from recycled plastic was recently unveiled, while in India, start-ups such as Banyan Nation exemplify how partnerships between small private enterprise, government authorities and multinational corporations can lead to valuable solutions. 

Consumers will increasingly use their wallets to protest about irresponsible use of plastic, which could in turn create a virtuous circle where industry, from food and beverages to beauty and personal care manufacturers and beyond, stand to gain by improving sustainability.

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