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Defining the consumer of 2022 in South Africa

Defining the consumer of 2022 in South Africa

2021 was the year of collective readjustment. Accepting the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 world, people tried to reclaim their lives. For some, this meant dramatic changes on a personal or professional level, whilst others made small tweaks along the way. People sought a balance between the long term and short term, and it is this duality – the balancing of purpose and pleasure – that we now seek to fulfil to achieve happiness. In 2022, we will all strive to rebound and rebalance.

Whilst this mission – or goal – is universal, human behaviour will differ around the world, impacted by cultural norms and societal pressures. To understand these differences, our fieldwork blends qualitative exploration through the Illume Network, our global leading-edge consumer group, with a quantification amongst everyday consumers in 17 markets. The result is a global map of each of the 10 trends identified in this year’s Consumer Trends Report: Rebound + Rebalance, as well as a ‘score’ per trend, which denotes positive attitude and/or behaviour towards it.

In South Africa, we conducted the quantification with 1,000 consumers, so let’s see which trends brands should be tapping into in this market.

Woman yoga mat

Considered Rituals

92% of South Africans want to better understand their bodies and minds to inspire positive rituals

Considered Rituals is a trend that originated from the tension between a slowing self-optimization culture and a rising social expectation to succeed. Consumers still strive to meet goals, but increasingly want to set habits that mirror their own internal rhythms, cycles, and mood.

This is an expanding trend in South Africa, with a trend score of 92% amongst the total population. Clearly the need for wellness rituals is a key concern amongst South Africans; this is backed by data from Alexander Forbes Health Management Solutions, which shows that 60% of companies in South Africa experienced an increase in disability claims for mental and behavioural medical conditions, as a result of the pandemic. The way we look at health in South Africa needs to change.

Brands can support self-improvement journeys to inspire Considered Rituals, by helping consumers better understand themselves and what their bodies and minds need. One brand already tapping into this trend is Discovery. The increased time spent at home often leaves people feeling isolated or overwhelmed. To counter this, Discovery launched a mental well-being channel with a proposition that simply says: ‘stay home, stay mindful, stay rewarded’. While Discovery is famous for innovating and rewarding healthy behaviour, this heightened focus on and inclusion of mental health in its definition is relatively new. The channel provides access to mental-health assessments, yoga and meditation videos, and reward-based mindfulness activities.

Despite its high trend score, relatively few brands are tapping into Considered Rituals in South Africa, which means it is a big open opportunity for those who want to play in this space.

Inclusive Connectivity

81% of South Africans want to feel a strong sense of belonging even while physically apart

Inclusive Connectivity is born from the desire to ensure that, while we may be apart physically, distance should not impact anyone’s experience. As our ways of connecting diversify, both in the workplace and socially, these should accommodate the needs of all and leave no-one behind.

In South Africa, this trend sits between nascent and emerging, with a trend score of 81% amongst the total population and 84% amongst NextGen consumers. When it comes to digital inclusiveness, South Africa historically always had a big digital divide between those with access to the latest information and communication technology and those without. Fortunately, this has, and continues to change at a rapid pace. In 2008, internet penetration was 8%. Today, internet access in South Africa is well over 60%, with some sources claiming it’s already up to 70%. So much has changed for the better over the last 14 years, but the job is not finished yet. Thankfully, some local brands are focussing on this agenda.

Vodacom e-school

While connecting online has accelerated for everyone during the pandemic, most South African learners remain dependant on in-person education. Two initiatives by surprising sources have been launched. Network operator Vodacom and investment bank Investec have attempted to make schooling more digitized and inclusive. Vodacom’s free e-school for grades R to 12 registered an increase from 40,000 students to over 150,000 during the lockdowns. Vodacom subsidises the data to access the platform and offers 11 official languages, making it truly inclusive. Investec also extended its free Promaths programme to underprivileged children in the last two years, and, like Vodacom, it pays for the data through an agreement with the network operators. Both are much-needed initiatives that arose from the call for more inclusive connectivity in education.

As a nascent/ emerging trend, consumers still need help converting their positive attitude towards Inclusive Connectivity into positive behaviour. Brands can help them by creating collaborative virtual spaces, (video) streaming, or initiatives for people to feel a strong sense of belonging in the moment, even while physically apart.

Inspired by these trends but not sure what to do next?
Check out our blogpost on three ways to take trends forward for actionable next steps.

We’d love to showcase what Culture + Trends can do for your brand. So get in touch to request your showcase!

2022 Consumer Trends Report

2022 Consumer Trends report

As experts in people-centric future thinking, we identified 10 consumer trends for 2022, and we validated these with 15,000 consumers in 17 markets around the globe. This report shows the emerging trends that are shaping the 2022 consumer.

Request your download

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