On Wednesday evening, June 23, students from the FIT Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management (CFMM) master’s degree program presented their capstone project —The Future of Consumerism — a two-part study spanning 16 countries that examines how COVID-19 triggered shifts in consumer mindsets and identifies its ensuing impact on brands and retailers in a post-pandemic world.

The 2021 cohort completed an in-depth analysis consisting of primary and secondary research; field work; original consumer research inclusive of more than 1,600 respondents; and interviews with 28 market experts across five continents. Recognized internationally as a think tank of innovation, the two-year graduate business program educates emerging executives from the beauty industry through advanced coursework and global field studies that focus on identifying marketing best practices across all consumer industries. To view the webinar, click here. The students will present their findings at Cosmoprof North America on August 30 in Las Vegas.

Part One of The Future of Consumerism study, titled The Future of Global Consumption, addresses the shift from shareholder-led capitalism to consumer-led capitalism. Part Two, The Chameleon Consumer, examines the evolving values of U.S. consumers and their emotional relationship to purchasing. Sample highlights from the research are included below.

“Each year 700 industry attendees come to FIT to review the findings of these emerging leaders on issues challenging the consumer products sector,” Stephan Kanlian said, founder and professor of the Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management graduate program. “This year’s research explores the permanent shifts in consumer values, thinking, and purchase behavior caused by the global pandemic, easily the greatest disruption in corporate strategy and individual behavior patterns we are likely to see in our lifetimes.”

Findings from Part One include:

    • Consumers track all aspects of their lives and are looking to make better choices for their futures. Therefore, brands need to put the consumer’s core values at the center of their business and strategy.
    • 66% of global consumers align themselves with brands that mirror their values. (FIT Lifestyle Survey, 2021)
    • 88% of global consumers want brands to help them make a difference. (Forbes, 2019)
    • 71% of global consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide traceability. (IBM Institute of Business Value, 2020)

Findings from Part Two include:

  • Deliver newness that’s intentional when it comes to communication, innovation, and buying channels.
    • 62% of U.S. consumers say brands need less assortment and higher quality. (FIT CFMM Consumer Values and Behaviors Survey, 2021)
  • Predict the shift by understanding what a consumer values the most at a particular moment (flexibility, quality, wellness, time and convenience, price, or community)
    • 100% of the time, flexibility was marked as a top 3 driver in all purchase scenarios presented to survey respondents. (FIT CFMM Mood Mapping Survey, 2021)
  • Transform the experience by offering interactivity from the comfort of the consumer’s home.
    • 7 out of 10 respondents prefer shopping online because it’s convenient for them. (FIT Shopping Experience Survey, 2021)