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Will current marketing practices Still be relevant in 2030?

As marketers it is essential for you to stay abreast of the current trends in order to assist your clients to remain relevant and current. However, every once in a while it is important to look a bit further down the road to see what is going to be coming and what is going to influence consumer behaviour in the longer term. Euromonitor International is a research organisation which looks closely at all aspects of business to determine what the future is likely to hold. In this synopsis of a Euromonitor white paper on ‘The future consumer – households in 2030’ we look at the factors that will influence consumers in the coming decade or so.

The white paper looks at the nucleus of modern society, the household which it considers to be a small group of persons who share the same living accommodation. They need not be related, but pool their income – in part or whole – to purchase goods and services. Perhaps the biggest single factor of modern living is the growing trend towards single-person households. This is the largest growing type of household and will continue to grow at an increasing rate.

Factors contributing to this are numerous and include an ageing population. Whilst the elderly do not necessarily choose to live alone. As the average life expectancy increases the number of elderly people also increases. We have now reached the position where a full quarter of the world’s population is in the over 50 age group. The fact that so many of them are single is generally due to the break down of the extended family unit through divorce, death and children moving away.

On the other end of the scale, younger people are focusing on self-development with their priorities on academic and career pursuits rather than on families. More women are opting for careers and educational opportunities rather than on the traditional activities of relationships and children. An extension of this is the fact that the world has become smaller through easy and cheap global travel. Added to this is the easy accessibility to technology and entertainment which means that people have greater freedom of choice of how they spend their free time.

This growing trend to single-person households is directly linked to the trend of increased urbanisation. Urban areas offer features which are attractive to the younger sectors of the population. In addition, they are more desirable from the point of view of the state in that it is easier and more cost-effective to provide services and amenities in the densely populated urban areas than in rural or suburban areas. It is estimated that by 2030 as many as 5 billion people will be living in 1,7 billion urban households globally. It is also easier to measure the contribution made by a city to a country’s national wealth.

One of the side-effects of increased urbanisation is the popularity of apartments. This provides a solution for housing large numbers of people in limited urban spaces and they offer easy access to utilities and services – including digital. On the plus side this this will create a burgeoning market for mortgages and property rental. One the downside, one of the results is the problem of over-crowding which carries with it the potential for disease.

Another trend which will have far-reaching implications is the expansion of internet access resulting in digitalisation of households. By 2030 the majority of households will have access to high-speed digital services including online video, gaming, gambling, social media, e-education and e-health. This will result in a phenomenon known as ‘cocooning’ in which the inhabitant is not required to leave their house. E-commerce will allow for delivery of all necessary products and services directly to the door. In addition, a growing volume of e-commerce will be conducted from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets or via smart TVs rather than from PCs.

While a higher level of education will result in more single-person households, expanding digitalisation will result in the pursuit of higher levels of education. Throughout the period of 2016 to 2030, the number of household heads with higher education globally will increase by around 100 million which will consequentially enable more knowledgeable consumption of online products.

What this means for marketing organisations is that it will be necessary to effect a shift in the type and method of message transmission to a potential audience. It will also mean that audiences are more discerning which will require more fact-based marketing, rather than merely appealing to emotions. The challenges and opportunities will be fairly evenly balanced but both will require equal dedication.

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