From Gen Z and beyond, explore emerging markets and micro shifts in youth consumer behaviour
The voices of marginalised groups will grow louder as young creatives begin to develop materials that reflect their lived experience.
Demographics across the world are changing, and by 2030, the world’s population will increase by more than 1bn to reach 8.6bn (source: United Nations).
In developing markets such as Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, a new wave of consumers with increased purchasing power will emerge. This will be driven by the regions’ large youth populations – with consumers aged 15–24 comprising 19% and 17%, of their populations, respectively, in 2017 – and increasing access to technology.
A new dynamic is emerging from this global shift of power when it comes to the world’s youth population. As a generation that has grown up knowing nothing other than one borderless world, who are connected to communities through technology, it is inevitable that collectivism and a unique sense of national pride will be the defining features of this demographic.
There will be a move from individual empowerment to collective strength. This is a mindset that stands for sharing, learning and pooling resources, and will be driven by young consumers’ need to evaluate their purpose in a world of digital relationships.
Collectives that encourage competition, respect and collaboration offer a solution to the crisis of identity felt by consumers. Physical gatherings, in particular, are bringing together online communities that might otherwise never meet, and forging close relationships that are not possible in the online world.
This is particularly evident in the rise of non-binary safe spaces created by collectives including UNITI, Gal-dem, BBZ, Sirens and Batty Mama, which are frustrated by the lack of representation of women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ issues in mainstream culture.
‘All of our BBZ crew knew each other online, but nobody connected in real life,’ says Tia Simon-Campbell, co- founder of BBZ. ‘We are a community that is there to support you completely.’
Industry Innovator: Azeema magazine
Big idea: Creating a modern platform for women of colour from North Africa and the Middle East.
Why it matters in 2018: The conversation about inclusion is being driven by a generation that is used to living in a globalised world. The limits of globalisation will be tested in 2018 from a political point of view, so it will become more important for grassroots representation movements to have a larger platform.
As the American Dream continues to fade and Western countries are no longer regarded as progressive utopias, many young expatriates from emerging markets such as China and Africa will leave the West and return home. There, they will re-interpret their cultural heritage and drive positive definitions of national identity.
‘Us Millennials are like sponges,’ explains Cang Nguyen, a 24-year-old shop owner who founded a contemporary fashion boutique in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam after studying at Parsons School of Design in New York. ‘We go abroad, absorb what we see, then return home to create something original.’
Thanks to the globalising effect of the internet, in 2018 more young creatives from these emerging markets will have a platform to demonstrate a twist on their national identity. ‘The internet is a great leveller,’ explains Samuel Mensah, founder of Ghanaian fashion brand Kisua. ‘The speed with which you can access markets and generate awareness about your brand is unprecedented.’
Russian youth are increasingly frustrated by poor social mobility efforts, the state of business and science, the rise of mass consumerism and measures taken by the government to silence protestors, according to the Russian research NGO Levada Center.
‘Young Russians in large and medium-sized cities tend to have more liberal views than their parents, and believe more in their ability to trigger change,’ says Denis Volkov, sociologist at Levada Center. In the next year, youth culture in Russia will be driven by demands for change and self-improvement by growing creative collectives and an underground scene that is thriving.
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