How Brands are Responding to Consumer Sentiment


NRF | March 25, 2021


Making noise, WGSN's “Future Consumer 2023” report has been highly relatable. Emotional plurality — occupying multiple emotional states simultaneously due to an ever-changing and increasingly complicated world — was one of the more relevant feelings.


In addition to highlighting consumer sentiments expected to have global impact into 2023, the report included strategies for engaging future consumer profiles. Those profiles include: Predictors (wanting stability thanks to economic uncertainty, emotional fatigue and a warped sense of time); New Romantics (fueled by a deep need to reconnect with their emotions); Impossibles (an activist cohort that looks to be built up); and Conductors (thrill-seeking and drawn to high-sensorial moments).


Strategies include refillable in-store tech, subscriptions and pre-order/made-to order retail for the Predictors. Mood-altering enhancements, rituals and emotional hygiene for the New Romantics. Transcultural products, appreciation of essential workers and direct-to-consumer marketplaces with opportunities to invest in businesses for the Impossibles. And gamified retail, virtual gifts and new “third-space realms” where consumers will communicate, play, shop, learn and work for the Conductors.


“The forecast is designed for these strategies to be at mass in 2023, but we can already see early stages of investment depending on the region,”

Andrea Bell

Director of Insight, WGSN


One prediction in particular has continued to grow — although laughable in 2019, the rise of the metaverse and virtual worlds. “WGSN had been tracking ‘third spaces’ for a time and predicted pre-pandemic, younger generations including Gen Z would gravitate and shop in branded and/or experiential worlds,” Bell says. “Cut to 2021, and numerous brands are testing the waters. “Shopify reported that interactions with AR content and microsites resulted in a 94 percent higher conversion,” she says.


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