New York, NY, 08.09.2022

Global consumers value enjoyment, equality, and the natural world more than they did 25 years ago – GfK

At the heart of consumers’ lives and everyday decisions are the values they consider core to their identities. A new 25-year comparison of those central concerns and beliefs shows how much consumers have changed since 1997 – and how much they have remained surprisingly consistent.

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Conducted to mark the 25th anniversary of GfK Consumer Life – the global leader in consumer trend insights – the new analysis reveals that values focusing on enjoyment, tolerance, equality, and nature have recorded the strongest growth worldwide. The top rising values from 1997 to 2022 are:

  • Enjoying life -- +11 ranks
  • Knowledge -- +9
  • Equality – +8
  • Excitement – +8
  • Beauty – +7
  • Open-mindedness – +7
  • Wealth – +7
  • Being in tune with nature – +6
  • Social responsibility – +5
  • Curiosity – +5

On the down side, respecting ancestors recorded the most dramatic decline globally, from #3 in 1997 to #22 this year – a remarkable 19-rank fall. Other dropping values include sex (-9), friendship (-9), and fulfilling work (-8).

In addition to dramatic changes, the comparison also revealed some remarkable consistencies. Protecting the family was the #1 global value in 1997 and remains at the top of the list today. Other values holding strong in the Top 10 include

  • Honesty –#2 in 1997 and 2022
  • Health and fitness – up from #9 to #3
  • Authenticity – #4 in 1997 and 2022

The analysis also shows that different values are gaining ground in different countries. In Argentina, having fun recorded the highest growth (+14 ranks), while individuality was the biggest gainer in South Africa (+15) and excitement outpaced all other values in Indonesia (+19).

“Personal values drive behavior at a level that often supersedes trends and even social forces,” said Eric Wagatha, Head of GfK Consumer Life. “They provide an essential blueprint for what will connect with – and potentially turn off – consumers at an almost sub-conscious level. With a clear sense of how to leverage values effectively, brands can create lifetime bonds with their key targets and navigate even moments of crisis wisely.”

Consumer Life is the most comprehensive and longest-standing consumer trend study in the world. Its data has been collected annually since 1997 from over 30,000 consumers in more than 25 countries, providing market leaders with detailed information about all aspects of people’s lives, including their aspirations, personal values, future world outlook and concerns, lifestyle behaviors, hobbies, consumption behaviors and usage in health, finance, mobility, technology, media, and much, much more.

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