Consumers are choosing joy and resilience in face of hardships

By our News Team | 2023

Wunderman says the rise of the ‘Joyconomy’ creates opportunities for brands who tap into people’s desire for inspiration and optimism.

Despite an array of worries facing consumers around the world, many are determined to show joy, resilience and innovation in the face of continued hardship. This is one of the important findings from the ‘The Future 100: 2023’ study published by global marketing communications agency Wunderman Thompson. 

The report offers a snapshot of the most compelling trends for marketers, business leaders and their agencies to keep on the radar for the year ahead. It notes that despite the ongoing wars, economic and environmental crises, people are choosing joy.

Consumer Trends

Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

Wunderman calls it the ‘Joyconomy’ and says the trend demonstrates the opportunities for brands who lean into consumers’ desire for inspiration and optimism.

Amy Harper, Senior Strategist at Wunderman Thompson South Africa, believes this is particularly true in her country. Despite a range of difficulties, consumer confidence is on the rise and people are starting the year with optimism and determination, searching for moments of joy in small and sometimes unexpected places.

“South Africans have faced significant stress and pressure in recent years, yet many remain optimistic about the future, which highlights their resilience,” she says. “Brands that tap into this consumer mindset by finding ways to uplift and support them, whilst also communicating in a compassionate and empathetic manner, will be able to stay ahead.”

In addition to the rise of the ‘Joyconomy’, highlights from the study include: 

Culture – Indigenous Innovation: Indigenous techniques are forming regenerative approaches to managing the environment. In South Africa, brands such as Robertsons (herbs and spices) are looking at ways to help consumers make informed food decisions by offering information about their eating choices.

Tech & Metaverse – Techcessibility: Companies are redesigning their digital environments for greater accessibility. In South Africa, Cadbury P.S. (chocolate) has focused its communication on helping to end cyberbullying in the digital and physical worlds.

Travel & Hospitality – Temperate Travel: Rising temperatures will prompt travellers to seek cooler destinations. Gen Zs and Millennials are looking for travel brands that genuinely embrace environmentally responsible practices.

Brands & Marketing – Amplifying Diverse Creators: Growing calls for authentic representation in advertising are driving a wave of brand collaborations with marginalised creative talents. There is also pressure on advertising agencies by clients to find ways of incorporating AI into marketing communications to meet marketing and business objectives.

Food & Drink – Cell-cultured Dishes: Luxury dining may be the first beneficiary as cell-cultured food moves from the lab to the grocery store. In South Africa, calls for clean label claims in plant-based foods are becoming louder due to concerns over ultra-processing.

Beauty – Resurrected Ingredients: Brands are bringing back extinct and forgotten sensory ingredients. ‘Clean Beauty’ used to be all the rage in South Africa; now, consumers are looking at ‘Slow Beauty’, where beauty products are made with natural ingredients with recycled or biodegradable packaging sourced from ethical suppliers.

Retail & Commerce – Crisis Retail: As the financial crisis bites, brands are stepping up to help their most vulnerable consumers. This year’s social media advertising will use trusted South African influencers, making a notable impact on the spending habits of local consumers who are on platforms, scrolling and looking for items to purchase.

Download the report from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence here.