What matters to Aussies in 2023? Brand and consumers trends

28 February 2023 Consultancy.com.au 5 min. read
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Brands would be sensible to anticipate that the Australian zeitgeist will remain fixed in 2023 on social health and interconnected wellbeing, as a result of the pandemic. But new global consumer research from Insites Consulting suggests otherwise. Amy Fridlund, Research Director at the research and intelligence consultancy, explains why.

The 2023 edition of Insites Consulting’s ‘What Matters 2023’ report identified 12 major trends for 2023, with ‘Adaptable Essentials’ (a trend that is about mindful spending and being prepared) and ‘Life Rewilded’ (a trend that is about a renewed appreciation for the natural environment and a desire to bring it into daily life more) ranking first and second globally.

On both trends, Australia however over indexes compared to the rest of the world, meaning that we can expect the impact on businesses nationally to be more prominent as a result.

What matters to Aussies in 2023? Brand and consumers trends

The comprehensive research highlights 2023 as a moment of cultural and environmental transition. The report explores a collective desire to reimagine, reinvent and transform the world around us. It also shows what makes Aussies tick and where we stand out from the rest of the world amongst the 12 global trends.

For this study, InSites Consulting first consulted with a global network of cultural experts, investigating how global and market forces are shaping and impacting the audiences and categories of the future. Researchers then developed a future-focused framework of understanding built from psychological models of human meaning.

Insites Consulting then conferred with leading-edge consumers worldwide to contextualise and develop an understanding of the emerging lived experience of these themes. Finally, these trends were quantified via survey of 15,000+ people worldwide, including 1000 Australians to better understand what will matter most people in 2023 and which trends are niche, nascent, emerging or expanding.

Translate to brand action

While Australian hearts and hands may be unpretentiously utilitarian and down-to-earth in 2023, this is not to suggest that meeting these needs for practical solutions and things that bring us closer to nature is reserved only for businesses that provide food and recreation.

On the contrary, the research suggests that opportunity exists across many sectors and that leveraging these trends is about creatively adapting product and service offerings to meet people where they are motivated.

Adaptable Essentials

For example, while the Food & Drink sector and Healthcare industry are expected to play a pronounced role in the ‘Adaptable Essentials’ trend – a trend that is about mindful spending and being prepared – Financial Services play the biggest role in this trend over indexing in Australia, according to the data.

That is because this is an established trend in Australia and is expanding with deeper roots into society. We see it manifest in the Finance Industry’s buy-now-pay-later offers, earned-wage access for those struggling pay cheque to pay cheque, and in increased loan accessibility in unsecured loans for those with few assets.

The prominence of this trend indicates that it will continue for the foreseeable future and that it is driving Australian thinking and behaviour in ways which businesses across sectors need to pay attention and adapt.

The data suggests that even Household Product businesses and Media & Entertainment businesses need to be providing consumers with solutions that can help them adapt to the economic pressures of life today. Currently this looks like less expensive concentrated soap and detergent sachets for refillable bottles that are cheaper to ship with constrained supply chains. But what will you offer to tomorrow’s customers who expect more?

Life Rewilded

Many of these same household products have also been designed to meet the needs of ‘Life Rewilded’, the number two trend in Australia. Local sustainable cleaning brands, such as Koh and Zero Co. were founded with this idea at the core.

With its ”Bring more nature into your daily life” narrative, Aussie natural cleaning product brand Koala Eco, is quite literal in its effort to embrace nature. Yet the data indicates that Australian Home Improvement, Furniture and Gardening industries, alongside Travel & Tourism, are and will be most strongly influenced by this expanding trend, which sees people looking to become more aligned and in sync with nature physically, socially and spiritually.

Going beyond the economic and environmental focus of sustainability, this trend is about acknowledging that we are part of a greater whole in deeper, more meaningful ways. While ecotourism has existed in Australia for decades, we now see operators such as Qantas committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and eliminating single-use plastics, which rolls off the tongue easily enough. But Qantas is hardly the takeaway café around the corner getting rid of some plastic cutlery.

The weights and balances considerations of even a non-plastic spork is something that requires teams of engineers and industrial designers to solve. And carbon emissions reduction targets can’t be easy to achieve when you operate one of the most remote airline fleets in the world.

While the trends in the ‘What Matters’ report might at first glance seem lofty-minded, their implications, once well-understood, are decidedly practical and can be translated into tactical initiatives for any business.