Trends for 2018 – Shopper Mindset

By Charlotte Hurd, on 18th January 2018

How will people shop this year, and what will they expect from retailers?

The shopper landscape is set for another year of fast paced and frequent change – as retailers with large store estates continue to be challenged and spending continues to shift online.

Consumer behaviour also continues to evolve, challenging retailers at every turn with no-one-size-fits-all formula. Tech-savvy, value conscious, brand fickle modern shoppers demand stimulating retail environments, personalised interactions and FOMO inducing activations to keep them happy.

Going into 2018, consumers are showing a renewed interest in shopping as we continue to undergo a fundamental shift from brand-led, to consumer led-retail.

Sea Change 

Over the course of 2018, consumers will move from buying more to buying better and plastic is now at the forefront of the agenda. Following the changes set out by the government for a ‘cleaner greener Britain’ brands will need to go one-step further and show their sustainability practices to the world.

Ocean plastic, fast-fashion and ingredient bans all suggest that activism is geared toward conservation of the environment. Brands should look to offer education with clean, safe and sustainable products. Food and beauty brands in particular should seek to highlight and safeguard the purity and future supply of their ingredients.

Current campaigns from brands like Greenpeace, Adidas and Coca Cola have made consumers more aware of recycling and the effects of ocean plastic. More pioneering brands are innovating with soluble packaging which will do more to stigmatise plastic cups and cling film.

Sharing is Caring

Hacks and data legislation has formed a new breed of consumers who will hold on tight to their data and demand something valuable in return before sharing it. From now, brands will need to offer economic or personally compelling initiatives for consumers to continue sharing their information with them.

There is a growing sense of surveillance amongst consumers, they have tolerated a sense of intrusion at the price of convenience but are beginning to question whether the end justifies the means.

This will become especially important with the introduction of new regulations later this year. In May, 2018 the implementation of GDPR  will enable consumers to have more control over their data. These reforms have been designed to reflect the current climate and bring laws across Europe up to speed for the internet-connected age.

This change in legislation could promote a catalyst of change and a fundamental shift in the digital economy, giving power to the individual.

Looking ahead, newly empowered consumers will benefit as brands solicit them. Whilst discounting for data will become more mainstream, more creative data sharing initiatives will help consumers to save time and better monitor spending.

Age of Anxiety  

Teenagers are increasingly defined by anxieties around image, health and work and they look to brands and alleviate pressure. Emerging pressures around online buying, body image and academic stress are contributing greatly to an overall growth in the feeling of anxiety.

Brands are beginning to recognise the role that they have in improving mental health by highlighting greater diversity.

Growing levels of attention around the negative impact of social media are also having an impact. The Gen Z generation will seek to take back greater control by being more mindful. This young consumer is not afraid to call out brands who promote unrealistic beauty ideals and are quick to support those who embrace diversity.


The year ahead poses many different opportunities for brands and consumers alike, but understanding the changing face of retail will be crucial for any brand hoping not to be left behind.

The key ideas of sustainability, experience and data sharing will continue to permeate 2018 and brands will need to become more attuned to making use of innovations which positively benefit the consumer.

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