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Uncompromised values: What this SA consumer trend means for brands

South Africans' deep appreciation of money, time, and relationships has resulted in the creation of a whole new set of value systems and priorities. The trend, coined 'Uncompromised Values', was identified in a new report titled Consumer Trends Report 2022: Rebound + Rebalance, launched this week by consumer insight agency InSites Consulting.
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Data from the report finds that 9 in 10 consumers in South Africa have a positive affiliation (based on attitude and/or behaviour) with this trend, and it is even more prevalent amongst next-gen consumers.

It is common that trends score significantly higher with next-gen consumers. Joeri Van den Bergh, next-gen expert at InSites Consulting and London Business School certified alumnus of the Sustainability Leadership and Corporate Responsibility executive course, explains: “In this inter-Covid time, we found that young generations are eager to re-start their lives by looking for new ways to stimulate their senses, connecting more inclusively and just having spontaneous moments of fun and escapism.”

The new consumer report identifies 10 consumer trends that will define the attitude and behaviour of consumers around the world in the year ahead. South Africa is way ahead of the global average score for the ‘Uncompromised Values’ trend. Whilst the trend is considered nascent in some European markets, it is classified as ‘expanding’ in South Africa.

Henk Pretorius, managing partner at InSites Consulting, said: “With such a high trend score, it is clear that this trend is really manifesting in South African society. Brands should look to help consumers make their monthly spend work harder, or offer products and services that recognise the need for radical flexibility.”

Key insights

The Consumer Trends Report 2022: Rebound + Rebalance report summarises data from a two-part proprietary study conducted with over 15,000 consumers in 17 markets in November 2021. Key highlights from the report include:

• The self-optimisation culture is slowing down but cultural expectations to succeed still exist – South African consumers want brands to help them overcome this tension and support self-improvement journeys, with over 9 in 10 showing a desire to create positive yet realistic rituals.

• Age no longer defines the path we’re expected to take in life – Almost 9 in 10 next-gen (millennials and Gen Z) consumers in South Africa want to rip up the life-stage rule book.

• Things that society has always presented to us as ‘normal’ are being questioned – 8 in 10 consumers in South Africa are tuning into products and services that represent reality.

Complex relationship with time

Lily Charnock, culture and trends director at InSites Consulting, described the context for the report: “The Covid-19 pandemic gifted many people with spare time yet failed to deliver the happiness expected from this. Global upheaval and changing work-life routines have intensified our complex relationship with time, leading to a collective review of how we spend it.

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty, people have prioritised small moments of joy and living for today. Yet, as we enter a new year unsure of what’s to come, we search for stability by setting long-term goals. It is this duality – balancing pleasure against purpose – that we all seek to fulfill to achieve happiness in 2022. The trends identified in this report are driven by a collective desire to satisfy this tension.”

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