SUMMARY: Record numbers of people are quitting their jobs. Big cities are losing residents. Few are jumping at the idea of returning to the office full-time. Recent headlines continue to highlight large swathes of people collectively making some big life choices, which will affect the way we market to them.
As part of a longitudinal consumer study, Deloitte surveyed more than 20,000 people across 23 countries about how they feel their priorities have shifted over the past year.4 Priorities focused on areas that help get behind some of the current headlines we’re seeing today—exploring shifting sentiment around work, purpose, money, how and where we spend our time, and more.
Here are the findings:
People who measured high in seeking personal change were also more likely to cite a shift in other priorities, particularly around work/life balance areas.
Roughly one in four Americans feel they’re pursuing more purposeful goals rather than focusing on earning more. Nearly double that number (44%) cite finding more time to enjoy today rather than working harder to get ahead.
Over the next month, they intend to spend roughly 1.7 times more on recreation and entertainment, 1.6 times more on restaurants, and 1.2 times more on leisure travel than those prioritizing working harder.
Even with more people beginning to put the pandemic days behind them, 40% of Americans still feel they’re centering more of their daily lives around the home than one year ago.
Americans are working from home significantly more than in other countries.
Over the next four weeks, those spending more time at home plan to spend 1.2 times more on housing—including rent and mortgage, as well as on buckets like maintenance, renovations, and utilities—and 2.6 times less on restaurants—compared to those spending more time away from home.
When controlling for factors, such as age and income that typically influence digital behaviors, those spending more time at home plan to purchase a significantly larger share of their groceries, clothing, and electronics online.
Compared to 12 months ago, approximately one in four (29%) feel they are seeking more in-person interaction—almost equaling those who feel they’re replacing more in-person interaction with digital services (26%).Deloitte
On the back of a pandemic that created unprecedented financial challenges for many, the United States is virtually split down the middle regarding the number of people prioritizing saving for the future (28%) versus those prioritizing spending for today.
At the same time, more people feel they’re living more to enjoy today rather than working harder to get ahead—a sentiment with clear correlations to higher spending intentions in areas such as recreation and entertainment, leisure travel, and restaurants.
What does it mean?
Some CPG companies will try and complicate these findings, but basically, consumers realize that the quality of their lives is more important than pursuing jobs that require 15 hour days. It will be interesting to see how this affects luxury goods like expensive cars and furniture.
Marketers need to understand their audience’s values and ensure their brand aligns with those values. Will, for example, people give up on dinners that cost well over $100 in favor of carry out food that costs a lot less?
The other issue that’s playing out as I write this is inflation. It’s hard not to buy products that haven’t increased in price, so even though consumers have more money, it’s not going as far as before the pandemic.
Will we ever get back to the same behaviors that were present before the pandemic? I don’t think so. Finally, consumers realize that life can pass them by while they are sitting in their office or on Zoom calls. Marketers have to be prepared.