The consumer profile of tomorrow may look very similar to today when it comes to themes around sustainability, tech, and wellness.
As buyers and brands had store assortments for the current consumer on the brain last week at the Outdoor Retailer Summer show, researchers from WGSN and Fashion Snoops sought to offer insights that look ahead.
“To really understand the future consumer so we understand this next generation of commerce and consumption, we must understand the consumer sentiments,” WGSN Insight Head of Client Engagement and Creative Strategist Quentin Humphrey said during a talk at OR.
Humphrey outlined four major consumer profiles likely to emerge in the future, according to WGSN’s “Future Consumer” study.
“These feelings, these ideas, are really driving how the consumers of 2025 will be responding,” he said.
“The New Nihilists” is one profile outlined by WGSN, rooted in how people are impacted by inflation, climate change, and the political landscape today.
“This cohort is really looking for ways to reinvent themselves,” Humphrey said of how brands might attempt to make themselves relevant to that segment.
“The Reductionists” is a second consumer profile Humphrey presented, which describes a group that favors experiences in real life, supports local businesses, and is willing to spend on conveniences, including on-demand delivery.
Humphrey said in the case of the “shop local” movement, the trend offers small businesses a window to scale and expand their footprints.
“Beyond that, for bigger brands, it’s up to them to figure out how are you partnering with these local communities? How are you re-imagining your business?” he said.
The other two profiles rounding out Humphrey’s talk include “The Time Keepers,” a group that values work-life balance and wellness, and “The Pioneers.” The latter group encompasses many of those who had moved away from urban settings during the pandemic in favor of green spaces, while also being adopters of digital experiences, such as the metaverse.
“They’re looking for new places and spaces to really be involved in,” Humphrey said. “And this is also bringing to life what we’re calling the Great Migration. In New York City… during the pandemic, so many people left the city. They wanted space. They wanted to cut the grass. They wanted to go for a hike. They left the city, and they haven’t really come back. This isn’t just in New York. It’s happening in Tokyo. It’s happening across Europe. It’s happening in Mexico City.”
Future of Active
Some of the trends outlined overlapped. However, key themes emerged, including an emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing, and technology’s role in what consumers wear.
In the case of sustainability and low impact, in particular, Fashion Snoops Materials Director Nia Silva called it a big topic impacting the future of materials.
“It’s also responsible for so much of the change we’re continuing to see across design industries,” she said. “A new threshold for sustainable materials engineering is broadening to target the need for transparency, traceability, and lowered carbon emissions as a collective.”
What’s happening in digital and technology may help when it comes to traceability, which Fashion Snoops Active Strategist Valentina Lorek pointed out in mentioning Web3, or the next generation of the internet based on blockchain.
“…the metaverse will redefine how brands build loyalty,” Lorek said. “So, with consumers craving for brands to take a more personalized approach, loyalty programs become one of the most important parameters for outdoor organizations to provide as a platform for consumer voices to influence product and build community. Web3 allows brands to build interactive communities for consumers to participate in brand design, exclusive events, and product launches.”
Kari Hamanaka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.