business news in context, analysis with attitude

Market research company Euromonitor International is out with its prediction of top consumer trends for 2017, concluding that authenticity and healthy living are right at the top of the list.

The report says that "authenticity is a standout consumer value in 2017, heralded by everyone from changemakers and celebrities to supermarkets and chefs. In the conscious debate about what actually counts as authentic, companies make efforts to ensure authenticity is part of this reach for the real. Examples vary from Airbnb’s Guidebooks feature, which lets owners share local information, to food apps helping consumers know more about what they’re buying, and tour operators who promote their unplugged vacations to help consumers get away from 'synthetic' digital life."

At the same time, "Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness sessions, 'athleisure' clothing, food with health-giving properties and upscale health and wellness holidays.

“The consumer interest in staying well sees them combining wellbeing activities with cathartic physical activity. This is reflected in a thriving menu of more esoteric, boutique fitness workout choices in urban hubs and spas,” continues Kasriel-Alexander. “Furthermore consumers are aware that eating habits directly influence quality of life. This is fueling unprecedented demand for healthier eating options with fitness-promoting attributes sought in supplements, beauty products and even pet food by consumers willing to pay for them.”

Euromonitor International’s Consumer Trends Editor, Daphne Kasriel-Alexander puts it this way: "The consumer interest in staying well sees them combining wellbeing activities with cathartic physical activity. This is reflected in a thriving menu of more esoteric, boutique fitness workout choices in urban hubs and spas. Furthermore consumers are aware that eating habits directly influence quality of life. This is fueling unprecedented demand for healthier eating options with fitness-promoting attributes sought in supplements, beauty products and even pet food by consumers willing to pay for them.”
KC's View:
I don't mean to sound cynical here...

I have a few thoughts. First, it seems to me that I've been reading about authenticity and health being top of mind for consumers for a long time. So while I'm not arguing with the conclusion, I'm not sure I'm buying the idea that this is any sort of shift.

Second, it has generally been my experience that a lot more people and businesses talk about being authentic than actually are. They embrace being authentic as being a strategy only because it sounds good. If a highly paid consultant could make the case that inauthenticity would work, they'd claim that quality instead. (I even hate it when people talk about embracing their "authentic selves." It just sounds so, well, phony ... like it comes from a self-help book or a Tony Robbins lecture.) If you have to think about how to define or embrace authenticity, you're probably not.

Finally, it sounds to me like some of the healthy options cited in the report are of the stripe that only be afforded by really wealthy folks. It also sounds like the trends being described are the kinds that require the wearing of spandex, especially in January/February gym sessions that fade away along with new year resolutions. Which also sounds sort of inauthentic.

But maybe I'm just cynical...