Consumer values are changing in real-time

SUMMARY: Record numbers of people who 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 big life choices, which will affect how 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 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%).


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 to complicate these findings, but consumers realize that the quality of their lives is more important than pursuing jobs requiring 15-hour days. It will be interesting to see how this affects luxury goods like expensive cars and furniture.

Marketers must understand their audience’s values and ensure their brand aligns with them. Will, for example, people give up on dinners that cost well over $100 in favor of carrying 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 return to the same behaviors present before the pandemic? I don’t think so. Finally, consumers realize that life can pass them by while sitting in their office or on Zoom calls. Marketers have to be prepared.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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