Compass 2022: inside untapped consumer markets

From older shoppers to Gen Alpha and emerging markets around the world, there are endless demographics to explore that rarely get the attention they deserve.
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Untapped consumer markets is one of 10 themes Courier wants to focus on in 2022 – our compass for content, if you will. Some stories and topics get us going a bit more than others, and while they might not include the fastest growing industries or the most talked-about trends, they're the ones we think deserve more attention over the coming 12 months. Click here to see all 10 themes.

While younger consumers entering their peak spending years tend to get most of the attention from brands, lifestyle products for older consumers are long overdue for disruption. Take hair dye: beauty aisles are filled with variations of shades for women's hair, but men typically choose between a smaller range of colors and expensive, frequent trips to the salon to fight grays. California-based Colorsmith provides made-to-order custom hair dye formulas that allow older men to choose the gray coverage they want, while keeping natural color. 

At the other end of the generational scale, Gen Alpha (the children of Gen Z and millennials) are becoming a bigger focus for brands. While most kids are too young to be marketed to directly, companies are using aesthetics and values that appeal to their parents – minimal design, all-natural ingredients – while waiting to see what will most interest this generation in coming years. Children's food brand Little Spoon, which has products such as gluten-free cauliflower gnocchi, offers a separate Instagram account that shares parenting tips and memes.

Images courtesy of Little Spoons, Coloursmith, Womaness, Savorease
Images courtesy of Little Spoons, Coloursmith, Womaness, Savorease

Beyond age demographics, different lifestyles and adaptive needs have long been overlooked. For example, there are roughly 10 million Americans who have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and yet most grocery stores stock only a few alternative products – mostly sweet, thick liquid replacements. Having struggled with chronic jaw issues, entrepreneur and prosthodontist Reva Barewal developed Savorease, savory crisps that fully melt in the mouth without the need to chew, allowing those with dysphagia to safely enjoy different flavors and textures. 

There are also new geographies to tap into as consumer buying power grows in different countries. Take Vietnam, where the so-called consumer class – which the Brookings Institution research group defines as anyone in a household that spends at least $11 per day, per person – will grow from 35 million to 56 million within the next decade. The country is a hotspot for startups and a growing manufacturing hub, so brands such as Vietcetera, a digital media company focused on Vietnamese culture and business, will be key to follow.

This article was first published in Courier issue 44, December 2021/January 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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