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Social Change: Consumer Lifestyles and Buying Behaviour

A-Level, IB, BTEC National
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 17 Nov 2022

As part of monitoring and responding to changes in the external environment, businesses need to be aware of changes in consumer lifestyles and buying behaviour.

Some example of recent trends in consumer lifestyles and buying behaviour include:

Consumer lifestyles

Growth in the number of single-person households

Data released in 2019 show that the number of people in the UK living alone has exceeded 8 million for the first time. The rise in single-person households is outstripping the growth in population. Around 15 per cent of the UK's adult population now live on their own.

Increasing demand for convenience products and services

Increasingly, consumers now expect to lead an "on-demand life". Fuelled by technology younger generations of consumers in particular have grown up with media and services that are available at the push of a button, anytime and anyplace.

Increasingly connected via mobile devices

Day-to-day life is now all about being connected -from online purchases, mobile payments and social media networks

Consumers are bombarded with information

Information overload is a big issue for increasing numbers of consumers. As a result, many have become suspicious of the content they come across and strive to filter the most authentic content. What information can they trust? Which brands can they trust?

Greater social conscience

Rising numbers of consumers consider doing good for society as more of a status symbol than, say, designer goods. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of where the products they buy come from and want to purchase items that will have a positive impact on the world (or at least minimise the damage).

Buying behaviour

Customers are better informed

Digital technology has made it much easier for consumers to obtain the information they want / need before buying. Price comparison services, customer reviews and search engines have transformed the buying process.

Multichannel distribution widens customer choice

The customer is now very much in control as to where - and how - they buy. Multichannel distribution has significantly widened the choice. It is estimated that over 80% of consumers research a product or service on their phones before deciding whether to buy in-store or online.

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