Industry profile

Budget-conscious, digital natives and value-driven: key consumer trends in 2023

Natasha Cazin, senior consultant at Euromonitor International, picks out the three biggest consumer trends set to impact eyewear and optics in 2023

Pexels/Ivan Samkov
The Global Consumer Trends is a white paper produced every January, in which we look at key trends in all industries across the world in the year ahead. The three consumer trends that resonate the most in eyewear are the ‘Budgeteers,’ ‘Here and Now,’ and ‘Young and Disrupted.’ 

Euromonitor International highlights the new normal in their Global Consumer Trends 2023. The biggest impact we see is that consumers are cutting back on spending and not going out as much as we initially thought. We saw the consumer trends of ‘Backup Planners’ and ‘Financial Aficionados’ in 2022, and we felt these were becoming more entrenched as consumers are budgeting, seen in the ‘Budgeteer’ consumer in 2023.

‘Budgeteers’ is a consumer trend you can’t avoid in any industry. 2023 will be about bracing for a lean year ahead, nearly half of consumers plan to increase efforts to save money, according to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer Lifestyles survey 2022. We have consumers that are more cautious than ever before, with economic uncertainty and rising costs like energy prices, driving the consumer to budget and think about how they spend their money.

Some consumers are budgeting to live well. They might be used to taking nice holidays, and so will budget for a holiday but perhaps have less to spend on eyewear. Then there are the consumers who have got no choice – they are struggling and are budgeting to live. There is a polarisation here.

Independent optical practices might want to think about how they can add value to make sure this consumer purchases in their practice. I would advise that you show them the added value – the customer experience, the product you are selling, and the overall package. One example is a loyalty scheme – adding a bit of value to retain clients who might be thinking about cutting costs.

The ‘Here and Now’ consumers really want to get out there. They are fed up of the pandemic, and they want to spend some money and do something special, but they possibly don’t have a lot of money. For this consumer, it’s about affordability.

I would recommend businesses to think of how they can help the consumer to make payments. There are split payment methods, like buy now pay later finance company, Klarna, for example. It could be hundreds of pounds they are spending, and perhaps they could pay that over several months – giving them the option so that they can buy the product in your store. There are also options like discounts or loyalty cards, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

The third key trend affecting the industry is ‘Young and Disrupted.’ Generation Z, the 12–27 year olds, are not young children any more. They are gaining financial independence; they might have their own homes and they have jobs. Their education has been disrupted by the pandemic: they had a tough time and want to be buying again.

How can businesses respond to this? They have to be aligning with their values and expectations of the young consumer. This consumer stands up for their beliefs; they are into social responsibility and inclusion. For example, they are likely to choose a sustainable product over something else, so consider having a sustainable line.

I would also say: consider being online if you want to communicate with this generation. Social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram are a good way to get online and you don’t have to invest a lot of money.

I don’t think it’s possible for businesses to ignore consumer trends. It is imperative to think about, first of all, who is my consumer? How old is my consumer? Am I targeting the older generation, or the younger generation? You have to think about your consumer carefully.

Euromonitor International’s report is available to download free from