The Consumer Perspective

2030 may be only 10 years away, but from a consumer perspective it may as well be a thousand. In those 10 years, businesses are going to stop thinking about customers as consumers and start viewing them as citizens. Creating a dialogue between business and citizens involves looking for ways to collaborate while adopting a holistic approach to interaction.

Joe McDonnell
Head of Insight,
WGSN

WGSN is the world’s trend forecasting authority, decoding the future to define what’s next so that people can make smarter decisions, today.

Put simply, businesses need to recognise there’s more to people than just their purchase power. They also have beliefs, opinions and complex value systems – understanding them will be key to driving future success.


By the time 2030 comes around, we will see a cultural shift in established value systems around aging, the workplace, economic growth and our relationship with the environment. The West, in particular, is experiencing a population decline and is already beginning to see the impact of an aging workforce. In the US, older workers (over 65) are predicted to make up 25% of the labour force by 2026. In Europe, if older workers continue to participate at the rates currently predicted, they could make up as much as 38% by 2028.


The ‘100-year-life’ is shifting from a unique occurrence to something increasingly common and companies will have to adapt as people stay in the workforce longer. At WGSN, we’re tracking the shift from the need to address ageism, to ableism. Addressing ableism will be rooted in the diversity and inclusion movement, with the central focus being that we have to create a society which works for all. With a shrinking labour force, it’s going to be crucial for businesses to engage older people, while also balancing the fact that four generations will be in the workplace at the same time.


Our understanding of the concept of work is also changing and we’re seeing an emergence of the four-day work week. Studies in Japan and the UK have shown that, not only does this improve productivity, it also boosts happiness and reduces the number of sick days taken.


2019 also represented a sea change in the way we think about environmentalism and, as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced, our attitudes will be further entwined.


Embracing low carbon alternative futures will shift from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for all businesses. Recent studies have shown that adopting a four-day work week can reduce carbon emissions by 36.6%. This is also a driving force behind trends such as hyper-localism, a shift that will allow people to spend time and money in their local communities.


For businesses to future-proof themselves and ensure success in 2030, they’ve got to embrace inclusivity beyond just ticking a box. Technological advances are increasing our capabilities and improving productivity, but by the time 2030 comes around our attitudes towards these improvements will have changed.


We’re seeing the impact a growth-obsessed society is having on the environment, our families and communities – for businesses to truly succeed, attract the best talent and remain sustainable, it’s about finding a solution which works for all and viewing people as more than simply passive consumers.