The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2023

Emotional spending, authentic automation, digital cleansing, gamification and more are on the docket this year.

January 17, 2023

LONDON—Global consumer trends for 2023 include responsible but emotional spending, the role of digitization in purchasing processes, female equality demands and a disruptive Gen Z, according to Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2023 report.

According to Euromonitor, annual inflation is 5.8% globally, and it is expecting a growth of total retail sales by 6.5%. Consumers are expecting to spend $54 trillion dollars this year, and consumers have $64 trillion in disposable income across the globe.

“The past few years have been anything but ordinary, and 2023 will be no exception,” said Alison Angus, head of innovation practice at Euromonitor International. “Companies should expect quite divergent behavior as consumers cope with ongoing challenges while getting back in their stride.”

The 10 key trends that Euromonitor outlines in its Global Consumer Trends 2023 report include:

Authentic automation. “Digital is a dominant force, but tech can’t match human nuances. While machines make convenience and speed possible, the power of emotional connections shouldn’t be underestimated,” writes Euromonitor.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers were comfortable talking to a human to address customer service questions, compared to 19% talking to an automated bot on a company’s website in 2022. Humans and machines need to be in sync to deliver meaningful solutions, according to Euromonitor. Emotional connections are not to be underestimated, and tech benefits should outweigh the need for personal interactions to create a seamless experience.

Budgeteers. The cost-of-living crisis is undermining purchasing power for consumers, says Euromonitor, and saving money is top of mind. In 2022, 75% of consumers did not plan to increase overall spending, while 21% said they would increase their purchase of private label/store brands, and 31% would increase their visits to discount stores.

“Businesses need to implement or develop solutions that help Budgeteers save while also evaluating overhead expenses,” writes Euromonitor, adding that payment plans like buy now, pay later can help Budgeteers, as well as rewards program or expanding existing perks.

“Trading down means private label products and discounters will steal market share of certain categories. But alternative payment methods, affordable assortments and strong partnerships can expand your customer base to maintain competitive positioning,” writes Euromonitor.

Control the scroll. People are still wed to their devices, but screen time is more selective, moving from mindless to mindful. Fifty-seven percent of consumers deleted apps on their smartphones in 2022, according to Euromonitor; however, a majority of consumers aren’t planning to decrease screen time but are becoming choosier about how that time is spent. They’re taking stock of apps or subscriptions and opting out of platforms that don’t prove valuable.

“Brands shouldn’t be a distraction. Instead, notifications need to be regulated, intentional and relevant. App or platform functionalities should add value and help consumers control the scroll. If your digital assets don’t match up, you risk losing potential conversions,” writes Euromonitor.

Eco economic. Consumption behaviors are less about acquisition and more about reduction. Fifty-five percent of consumers reduced their food waste in 2022, the top activity to positively impact the environment. Forty-three percent reduced their energy consumption.

“…the cost of living is creating a new sustainable behavior. Goods, energy and housing prices are causing people to cut back. Consumers will continue switching to energy-saving products, eating at home, reducing appliance use and limiting travel,” writes Euromonitor.

Game on. Gaming has become an entertainment leader and has transcended the generational divide. This once-niche segment is now a mass-market opportunity for businesses to convert players into payers, says Euromonitor.

Companies are using sponsorships, advertisements, in-game purchases and product innovations, and AR/VR tech investments show no sign of stopping. Gaming experiences are only getting more sophisticated, says Euromonitor.

“Brands need to consider holistic gaming culture and how to tailor their offerings to these consumers. You should determine how this entertainment sector fits into your strategic plan,” writes Euromonitor.

Here and now. “Sparking joy” is now a purchase motivator for consumers. They’re not abandoning financial responsibility, but they are taking a short-term buying approach with discretionary items, so retailers that offer flexible solutions can expand consumers’ purchasing power, including options such as buy now, pay later, which reached $156 billion in lending value last year.

Loyalty programs are another way to relieve cost pressures on consumers. Sixty-three percent of consumers surveyed by Euromonitor said that they participate in loyalty programs to receive discounts and offers. Forty-two percent join to earn free products, 40% participate for member-only benefits, while 35% join for the access to exclusive rewards.

“Your marketing strategy needs to target consumers at the right time with the right message. Track trends in shopping and browsing activities so you can tailor promotions and communication in real time. Meeting consumers in the moment keeps your brand top of mind,” writes Euromonitor.

Revived routines: Consumers are eager to rediscover the world despite uncertainties ahead, with 39% of consumers surveyed by Euromonitor saying more of their everyday activities will be in person over the next five years.

At-home consumption dominated sales during the pandemic, but on-the-go purchases and out-of-home experiences are making a comeback. Fifty-six percent of global consumer foodservice sales will come from eat-in orders in 2023.

“Experiential retail and foodservice could reinvigorate brand engagements, adventure and enthusiasm,” writes Euromonitor.

She rises. Consumers refuse to remain silent on gender inequality. Fair representation, equity and inclusivity are at the forefront of women’s purchase decisions.

“Your female audience wants to feel heard and be respected. Communication should be tailored, compassionate and relatable. Advocating for equal opportunities should be a corporate pledge—not an advertising ploy,” writes Euromonitor.

The thrivers. Fatigue is setting in as consumers navigate a chaotic world with exhaustion at an all-time high, and they are putting personal needs above all else. Fifty-three percent of consumers had a strict boundary between work or school and personal life in 2022.

Consumers are also seeking products that promote stress-relief, well-being and relaxation. Adult-use cannabis saw $25 billion in global retail sales last year, while CBD products generate $12 billion in sales.

Young and disrupted. Gen Z stands up for their beliefs and put themselves out there, and these consumers are immune to traditional advertising. Thirty percent of Gen Z consumers make purchase decisions based on brands' social and political beliefs, while 24% boycott brands that don’t share their social or political beliefs.

Authenticity and social impact make a difference, according to Euromonitor. “Your brand story is what will sell. But actions speak louder than words. Empty promises or staying silent on social causes can wreak havoc on reputation. Trust is created when companies live up to their commitments,” writes Euromonitor.