This is how average consumer will look like in 2030

In 15 years the world can go through a huge development, this is proved by the changes since year 2000. However more interesting is what the future will bring if the progress is so dynamic. McKinsey tried to find this out, and in its new analysis made an attempt to formulate how the world’s consumers will be in 2030.

What might change in the next 15 years? In its new research McKinsey studied this very important question considering the segment of the consumer products.

In order to understand this time-span, we should look what changed in the last 15 years. For example, in 2000 30% of the population lived in extreme poverty, at the present “only” 15% lives in such depressing situation. At that time 12% of the population had mobile phones, today already 60% has. But let’s not forget also about the 1.5 billion Facebook users today, in 2000 this social media hasn’t even started its journey to conquer the world.

These and similar changes influenced how consumers live, think and do shopping today. Looking at the signs, these changes haven’t stopped at all; but more, they are expected to change much faster.

Which trends count the most?

After a substantial research, McKinsey identified and analyzed several trends which might deeply affect the industry of consumer goods. These trends are divided in 5 groups:

  • change of the consumers
  • development of geopolitical procedures
  • new trends in personal consumption
  • technological development
  • structural industrial changes

The table below contains the trends, divided into the five mentioned groups:

Considering certain trends almost each analyst thinks the same: it is almost certain, that middle-class spending on consumption will grow by three times until 2030. Experts also agree that 75% of the population will possess a mobile phone.

However there are certain tendencies, about which is uncertain in which direction is going to move on the middle and long run. Some of them might have a booming development, but it can also happen to shut down in a few years. According to McKinsey an example for this is 3D printing for the consumption market. Although the price of 3D printers is below 1000 dollars, experts are not sure if after the fall of hysteria, these printers will be really part of consumers’ every day.

We shouldn’t forget that each trend will have different impact on the industry of consumption goods. In order to present these, they illustrated them on a graph on which firm managers can see which trends might have the biggest impact on their operation. (On the horizontal axis is illustrated the extent of the forecast possibility; on the vertical axis the potential impact on the consumption segment).

On the figure’s right upper part are illustrated those trends with high impact and probability, which have a good chance to define the industry of consumption goods by 2030. We can understand the followings:

  • Due to the increasing urban population (an annual increase of 65 million is expected) the majority of the consumers will live in cities.
  • The average consumer will be older, than at the moment. The increase in the number of the older part of the population will exceed the growth rate of younger people.
  • By 2030 from the 5 billion people living on the planet, 75% will have a mobile phone and internet access as well.
  • The developing world’s middle-class will be bigger and they will have a better living, than their parents.
  • On the business part the consolidation will go further on, corporations will have a greater use of digitization, of big data and of analysis.

Certain trends do not have an impact of the same degree on different markets and product categories. The developed robotics will have a high progress in Asia, but will have to catch up in Africa and South-America. According to McKinsey, corporations will have to count with these factors as well, if they want to define which trends will affect them; and if they want to adapt more easily to the future challenges.

Original date of Hungarian publication: January 8, 2016