Top Consumer Trends: Trust, Control, ... Playfulness?

zany consumer trends

Oh, it's so nice to be right. When market researcher Mintel released its list of leading consumer prognostication late last year, it knew that financial worries would drag consumers' emotions down for much of the year, and put the spotlight on trading down and switching brands.

But now that its data from the first six months of the year is available, the company has taken another look at its forecast, and says that while people "still feel pessimistic," there's plenty of evidence that they are lightening their mood as often as possible. Here's where Mintel's five leading trends stand:

  • Trust Consumers still aren't putting much stock in big business -- in the U.S., 66% have less trust in financial services companies, and 60% worry about the safety of the food they eat.
  • Control People are continuing -- and in some cases, intensifying -- their efforts to save money and cut costs. A Mintel survey of affluent adults in the U.S. shows that two in five say they intend to permanently spend less and decrease their reliance on credit, so they have more control over their financial destiny.
  • Playfulness People are looking to up the fun factor in their lives -- three in five people in the U.S. traveled domestically in the past year, although more are choosing to visit friends or family, hunting down bargains, or choosing cheaper transportation. New product launches also support this impulse, Mintel says -- and include the marshmallow-sized Cheetos Giant Cheese Flavored Snack Balls, Urban Decay's Pocket Rocket lip gloss, and even Crazy Bubbles for Dogs.
  • Simplicity More than two-thirds of Americans tell Mintel they have been simplifying their lives over the past six months, while nearly nine in 10 think there is "too much emphasis on material things in our society." Manufacturers are introducing products that address this, with clear functions, clean ingredient labels and simple packaging.
  • Trading down, up and over Americans are continuing to cut back, with eight in 10 Americans cooking at home more now, while 52% say they spend less at restaurants. But there are also a few signs of trading up -- fine chocolate or gourmet takeout, for example.



1 comment about "Top Consumer Trends: Trust, Control, ... Playfulness? ".
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  1. Paul Conner from Emotive Analytics, September 8, 2009 at 8:41 a.m.

    I agree with recent trend toward playfulness. For evidence of this with Samsung and Sony, visit
    and access the first article about Emotional Profiles of these two brands. Notice the differences in implicit playfulness.

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