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5 WGSN Insights On The Future African Consumer

So what is next? We are, and global trend leader WGSN answers this question with intricate detail.

On Thursday the 9th of November WGSN hosted the South African leg of the 2017 Futures Summit. Retailers, journalists and avid trend forecasters were brought together for one reason and one reason only, to explore what the future would look like for the African consumer.  As one of probably a few millennials(and the target market) in attendance, the results were both eye-opening and affirming. The truth is, we are living in the age of the female millennial and our lifestyles are setting the tone for the future. We are the culture.

Founded in 1998 in London, WGSN broke barriers in the digital sphere with their online library of global trends. The company was one of the first to use technology and consumer needs to create an accessible hub that would inspire future leaders in various creative fields. Beyond the data and science, WGSN has created a virtual link that connects ideas of the future to real people and has thus shaped the way we may interact with what we create in real-time and the relevance that our creations will have in a couple of years. With keynote speakers such as Brian Ntongana, head of design at Woolworths, Trevor Stuurman and the founders of the reputable youth culture agency And People, the auditorium became a hot air balloon of inspiration and knowledge.

And soo.. without saying too much more, here are the 5 things that I picked up on whilst listening attentively to all the speakers, they may be a little philosophical but I hope they are useful to you.. there’s more to come as we further unpack everything we learned.

Globally, there is a general feeling of uncertainty

 There is a lot of turmoil out there, especially in the case of human rights and politics; people are searching for meaning in this big ol’ thing called life. Making a connection with who we are and the things around us is becoming increasingly important as we make the shift to being more globally influenced Africans.  We will transition towards creating a place of meaning and not just for Instagram likes.  The line between URL and URL may start to blur and thus what is produced will be a reflection of navigating this space.

The age of anxiety

… And it’s going to be like this until 2021. Technology and social media have afforded us a lot of pleasures, allowing us to connect with one another in incredible ways, but with this, the inability to switch off is becoming a growing issue and this will continue to greatly impact how we consume information and the kind of format we want it in.

People care

The shift towards empathy, feeling and being conscious is something that will continue in the future. This generation and the next are different in the sense that they have inherited a virtual reality as well as a real-life one. This has galvanized a generation of outspoken youth that is tapped into global issues like politics, class etc – and yes, these all affect trends. Being “woke” is going to be the vibe for a while.

Less is more

The next generation wants to “see now, buy now and sell now”. Nowadays, we can shop for almost anything by using mobile applications but although people are high consumers and lovers of fast fashion(and food), the opposite is happening as we lean into the future. There’s a shift towards living simply, which may be ironic when talking about a future that is almost completely dependent on technology. However we humans are constantly evolving and we will adopt trading as a means of consumption – especially clothes.  Living fast will cost more and so purchasing will be less frequent, the focus is on owning less and renting more – great for your pockets, even greater for the environment.

The future is young, the future is female, the future is Africa

You may have heard people say “Africa, your time is now” and the sentiment is very true. The world has always looked to African resources to gain wealth but now it is about more than that, it’s about the power of African culture an heritage; from music to fashion and us the inhabitants of it, embracing it in its glory. I’m sure you’ve noticed how your favourite artists like Beyoncé and Drake have a sound that they have lent from traditional African genres or perhaps the way the Basotho blanket print has been appropriated(not appreciated) by international luxury brands.  A distinctively fresh, youthful and empowered female African voice is on the rise and will continue to for some time to come.

It’s a great time to revel in who you are, as a woman, as an African woman – we are the future and the future is being created now, by us and we can ensure that we are more than just part of the data. I exclaim this in the most respectful yet cheeky way; before they sell you your own idea, do something about it now while you’re  still “relevant.”

For more, visit – www.wgsn.com