The post-Covid consumer and the road to 2030

The post-Covid consumer and the road to 2030

When we look back from 2030 consumer behaviour will have transformed over the previous decade.

The sheer scale and complexity of the change looking forward appears daunting.

IORMA proposes an inception study to scope out the potential changes, with key insights and scenarios for the future.

See the video (8 Minutes) below explaining ‘The post-Covid Consumer and the road to 2030’ study.

The aim is to produce a seminal study and ongoing focus on the future drivers of consumer behaviour through to 2030 which argues that business will fail to understand the 2020s consumer, if it looks at the road ahead through the rear-view mirror of the 2010s. One thing we can be assured of is that tomorrow is not just another version of today, it will be substantially different. This will be an inception study to identify all the key themes and influences on future consumer behaviour – a one-stop shop resource for thinking about the future.

However, this is much more than a report alone. The study aims to help participants develop vibrant, agile forward thinking, in a world of massive consumer change. The past decade has seen the legacy of the Great Recession, Brexit, technological revolution and a once in a century pandemic, but the consumer changes looking forward are likely to be of an order of magnitude greater. To be part of this study as a sponsor promises to provide you with a competitive edge over your rivals.


This study aims to provide a spur to action and a route map to help organisations to acquire a totally new mindset when approaching the future of the consumer. The 2020s promises to be one of the most disruptive in business history, and a failure to appreciate and understand how consumers are changing could be the death knell for many companies.

The need for such a study is driven by the enormous simultaneous change across the enduring impact of Covid-19, economics, technology, demography, energy, transport, environment, politics and attitudinal change. Covid-19 is only one aspect of the epic changes underway, which need to be identified and understood, as they interact with each other. As these consumer drivers crash and collide it is simply inconceivable that markets will not be utterly transformed over the coming decade. We are as yet only in the foothills of disruptive business models.

The sheer scale and simultaneity of these consumer drivers is matched by their complexity. The technology driver alone spans issues such as the consumer consequences of AI, 5G, IoT, Big Data, 3D additive manufacturing, AR, VR and Cloud. And should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the consumer consequences of technology? Are we facing an age of abundance or one of mass technological unemployment and the need for universal basic incomes? These are enormously different potential outcomes with profound implications for consumer behaviour. Physical and digital worlds are blurring and as digital gives way to the intelligent era, where everything is quantified, analysed and automated.

Covid-19 both accelerates and confounds existing trends. It accelerates trends towards online working, shopping, health and learning, but it also potentially reverses urbanisation with the death of distance and rural relocation. The post-Covid world is also likely to be characterized by simultaneous globalisation and deglobalisation. Technology is shrinking the globe at an extraordinary pace, but populist reaction and protectionist forces remain a potent threat.

The post-Covid economy also poses huge questions. Will consumers spend the wall of money built up during lockdown, or will there be a permanent change in behaviour towards greater saving for a rainy day? Spanish Flu was followed by the ‘Roaring Twenties’, will history repeat itself? What will the 2020s economic cycle look like? 

Pandemics are a reminder about the significance of demography, and that the world is about to experience the demographic shock wave long talked about, but almost forgotten, with declining working age cohorts, ageing populations and a sharp divide between those who can/cannot afford to retire.

Generational changes in attitudes merely add to marketing complexity. Will the post-Covid world lead to a greater interest in religion and spiritualism, or merely accelerate secularisation? Are we facing a post-capitalist society or will the market re-assert itself in the wake of high public debt? Just how big will the forces of the sharing and circular economy become? Will our children want to own things in the same way as their parents? Are we looking at the post-consumer society?

This briefing note has merely provided a taster of the range of influences which need to be considered if we wish to try and understand tomorrow’s consumer and what it will mean for business. The aim is to provide insights and scenarios which can challenge existing assumptions. The study aims to initiate a rich conversation between participants, which brings with it a clear competitive edge for their businesses.

What happens next?

This briefing note is a call to action for IORMA members to take the lead in analysing future consumer behaviour. By participating in the inception study sponsors will have a unique opportunity to get ahead of their competitors by engaging with the report authors and helping develop the cutting edge thinking it is intended to provide.

It is proposed that the study be undertaken in a joint venture between IORMA and Global Futures & Foresight (GFF) and macronomics consulting. David Smith, CEO of GFF and Graeme Leach, CEO of macronomics, are IORMA advisory board members.

The inception study is budgeted at £25,000 and could be provided by a single sponsor or a multiple of smaller contributions. Sponsors will have access to the consultants and will be able to shape the project.

John Andrews

John Andrews, Founder and Chair, IORMA

For more information contact IORMA at


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