2023 is set to be a year of rebellion. In our Trending 2023 report, we do a deep dive into why consumers are rebelling against four areas of life: perfection, authority, surveillance and restraint. Below, we shine a light on one of the key trends shaping the future consumer landscape and how to capitalise on it.
Unlock more new trends for 2023 by downloading our free Trending 2023 Report Preview.
In 2023, we will see a rebellion against restraint.
Consumers are under constant pressure to be vigilant when it comes to saving money for the future, protecting their health and avoiding climate catastrophe. And while restraint and risk aversion will remain behavioural drivers in 2023, we’ll also see a powerful counterforce growing, one that favours here-and-now indulgence, YOLO hedonism and maximalist excess. In response to a culture of relentless self-optimisation – not to mention a feeling of powerlessness in the face of an uncertain future – consumers are taking back control by living life on their own terms. Instead of doing what they should do, they’re doing what they want, no matter the consequences. How can brands engage and build trust with these wary customers?
To reflect the rebellion against restraint, we have launched a new consumer trend for 2023:
A carefree attitude of wanting to live for the moment
What is Now or Never?
Confronted by a daunting, unpredictable future, consumers are embracing the present. The world is seemingly in a permanent state of crisis, with economic, environmental and health crises coming thick and fast in recent years. While consumers are aware that, facing an uncertain future, the sensible thing to do may be to hunker down and embrace restraint across many areas of life, there is an impatient desire to make the most of the here and now – and to satisfy a persistent need for present-day pleasures and escapism, as well as instant gratification.
Brands are facilitating in-the-moment indulgence and pleasure-seeking. For example, buy now, pay later (BNPL) offerings across retail and travel are enabling people to “live now, pay later”, while food and beverage brands are increasingly rejecting the usual restrained health- and sustainability-focused positioning in favour of riotous colour and playful messaging. The objective is to make pleasure, spontaneous indulgence and momentary hedonism permissible.
Weariness about the future is also prompting some consumers to take comfort in the past. Hence we see the rising appeal of nostalgia and “fauxstalgia” – yearning for a time in the past that one hasn’t actually experienced oneself – which partly explains the appeal of all things Y2K on TikTok. The Now or Never attitude is about reclaiming happiness through whatever means possible, before it’s too late.
How to activate Now or Never:
- Craft messages that celebrate here-and-now pleasure and spontaneity. Good things may well come to those who wait, but there is also joy to be found in instant gratification and in-the-moment pleasure. Celebrate these experiences and connect consumers with regular and spontaneous moments of escapism and treats as part of everyday routines. Position these as beneficial to overall wellbeing as well as a welcome source of mood-lifting light relief – a powerful corrective to gloomy, uncertain times. And, with acute financial uncertainty and hardship the reality for many, highlight how hedonistic pleasure can be an affordable and accessible luxury too.
- Remove barriers to instant gratification. Encourage people to live and spend in the moment – for example by offering buy now, pay later services – but take care to avoid accusations of encouraging people to make unwise decisions they can ill afford.
- Transform resignation into optimism. A pessimistic outlook can add to a heightened need to prioritise the here-and-now over the yet-to-come. While satisfying a need for spontaneous, present-day pleasures, brands can also challenge any prevailing sense of pessimism with more positive positioning and messaging that highlights their purpose of building a better future for all.
Now or Never is one of four new trends launched in our Trending 2023 report. Download a preview version now for a sneak peek at more trends.