Pandemic accelerates long-term consumer behaviour change, but brands risk being left behind, according to dentsu research

Published on:
  • New report examines the long-term consumer trends out to 2030 and the impact of the pandemic
  • Tech-enabled health and well-being set to be the main goal of all consumers out to 2030
  • Environmental concerns have increased during the pandemic, catalysing a new wave of consumer activism 
  • COVID-19 has fuelled appetite for eSports and virtual gaming as consumers worry about mass gatherings
  • Many brands will be challenged by the growing power of online retailers

4 March 2021: Today sees the launch of dentsu’s 2030 consumer vision report - ‘The Age of Inclusive Intelligence’ - which charts the long-term consumer trends that will shape the next decade. The research shows how the pandemic has accelerated many of the long-term trends facing brands, drawing on in-depth interviews with world-renowned futurists, academics, authors, and experts, together with multiple proprietary consumer surveys.

Health and well-being are a key theme throughout the report, with many consumers reporting a desire to utilise technology to stay healthy in the future. More than half of US consumers report they would insert a microchip in their brain to extend their life expectancy. Furthermore, as policymakers assess the psychological fallout from the pandemic, one third of consumers say that by 2030 they would undergo non-essential surgery to improve their mental health.

On climate change, 77% of UK consumers say that COVID-19 has made them more aware of the harm caused to the environment by global travel. Longer term, this is fuelling greater consumer activism with purchasing decisions increasingly based on social issues. Two-thirds of UK consumers say that by 2030 they will not buy goods that they know have a negative impact on the environment.

Similarly, with more people staying at home during lockdown, the growing popularity of eSports and online gaming has accelerated. As global awareness of eSports is expected to reach two billion by 2021, the way we look at sport in general will continue to evolve with ‘real-world’ sports and activities being forced to innovate to keep up.

As online retailers grow in size and scope—fuelled by the growth in eCommerce during the pandemic—many brands will find themselves struggling for visibility. The research finds that nearly half (46%) of Chinese consumers would already be happy to use just one single company for all their lifestyle needs.

Each of the trends highlighted in the report carries specific implications for brands. But across almost all of them sits the concept of ‘inclusive intelligence’— the ability to incorporate new views, values, and behaviours into their value proposition against a backdrop of widening inequality and ethical complexity.

Angela Tangas, dentsu ANZ Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“Over the last year, our global business community has been disrupted and transformed in new and different ways. The growth of eCommerce is a casing example.

“Fundamentally, the expectations consumers now have of brands has changed, and this study further reinforces the need for businesses to be ready, agile, and adaptive to the changing landscape.

“Customer engagement and loyalty are increasingly linked to how brands respond to the macro environment – from driving meaningful impact in society, to how they responsibly use data. The brands that get these elements right will not only maintain connection and enhance their human-brand experiences but have the potential to create early competitive advantage for tomorrow.

“As agency partners, it’s more important than ever to proactively support clients in shaping the best possible experiences and brand connection. Insights like these highlight the ways in which clients can stay a step ahead so they can strike the right balance between sustainable growth and meaningful impact,” said Tangas.

Key themes covered by the report include:

  • Universal activism: People will shop based on values and causes. Identity, climate, and data will be the key battlegrounds for brands.
  • Synthetic Society: Artificial products will enhance what’s natural, but risk creating inequality of access. 
  • Bigger Bolder Brands: Select services will be the lifestyle partners of choice, posing an existential threat to many brands.
  • The Human Dividend: Society will celebrate what it is to be human, recognising the limits of technology.  

The full dentsu 2030 consumer vision report is available to download here.


For more information contact:

Lucy Povlsen
Head of Communications
+61 411 251 933

About dentsu Australia

Part of dentsu, dentsu Australia is made up of leadership brands - Carat,

dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, BWM dentsu, MKTG and Merkle, all of which are supported by its specialist divisions. Dentsu Australia helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, customer experience management (CXM), and creative, dentsu operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 45,000 dedicated specialists.