04 Feb 2021

@ Home with Simon Moriarty, Mintel

@ Home with Simon Moriarty, Mintel

We caught up with Mintel's innovative and insightful director of consumer trends, Simon Moriarty, to get to know him a bit better as he prepares to share the latest consumer trends at Spring Fair @Home next week. 

What does the forecasting process look like and how do you determine the ways in which consumer behaviour will evolve?

As experts in what consumers want and why, Mintel is uniquely suited to predict the future of consumer behaviour and what that means for brands. Last year, we released our 2030 Global Consumer Trends, developed as a living, growing prediction model that will adapt with the unforeseen. The model supports the fluid acceleration or deceleration of the Trends according to the reality of individual markets, allowing us to not only be more adaptive and reactive to change but to continue to allow us and our clients to focus on the futures we (humanity) want to invent—or avoid.

Our new 2021 forecasts remain embedded within our system of Mintel’s 7 Trend Drivers. They also take into account the changes that have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic—the subtle yet profound shifts in consumer thinking and responses from brands—and attempt to encapsulate the better future that consumers, globally, aspire to, and towards which brands can build their own strategic visions.

Can you share a preview into some of the trends you will be talking about at Spring Fair @Home?

The three key trends are Digital Dilemmas, which is about the benefits and negatives around digitally connected lives, and the predicament that creates; Sustainable Spaces - all about shifts in attitudes towards sustainability and the spaces we live in; and Virtual Lives and consumer expectations when it comes to experiences.

Do you have a favourite trend or one that resonates with you the most?

I think our Sustainable Spaces Trend, and the broader theme of ‘surroundings’ is really important, because it’s not just about environmental issues, which will continue to dominate consumer behaviour and brand activity, but also more tangible changes to our physical spaces. The concept of the home has changed because of the pandemic, and this will have profound effects on multiple markets, but also lots of opportunity to reframe what we demand and expect from brands and organisations.

How have you seen consumer trends develop from those that you presented to us back in September at Autumn Fair @Home?

The biggest thing is of course the pandemic continuing – we’re seeing a renewed focus on the importance of community as people look for reassurance and support. Last year people were starting to think more about the ‘end in sight’, but now it’s more about digging in for the long haul and looking ahead longer-term, continuing to adopt new behaviours and spending more time thinking about our own individual needs and priorities.

How do you see retail changing in the “new normal”?

Retail was already shifting because of the huge impact of online shopping – but now we’ve seen big brands shutting down or downsizing, and online brands taking over high street retailers. This will have a huge impact on what the high street actually becomes – and I think the opportunity there is to think about it from an experiential place to visit, and to engage with brands in different ways – more interactive, more communal, more engaging. So perhaps brands won’t actually be using physical interactions with customers to sell products (they can do that online), but to foster and grow communities of loyal brand followers.

Finally, what has been your “lockdown mantra”? Do you have any words of positivity to share?

I think trying to see the positives is always a useful mantra – but not always easy. I think it can help to think about how a lot of the world hasn’t and won’t change for the worst. Of course there have been immediate impacts on individual lives, local communities, global markets – but we still have common human demands for connection, creating memories with one another, and having a greater awareness of what we want from our lives. All of those together can provide a positive, hopeful framework to think about – when this is all over, the positives that have shone through over the last year will remain top of mind for many of us.

Catch Simon at Spring Fair @Home on 9th February at 10am where he will be sharing Mintel's Global Consumer Trend Insights for 2021. Register here

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