Essential workers enter the limelight as consumer values shift

A drastic shift in consumer values has occurred since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving celebrities in the dust as local heroes take their place.

A courier delivering goods.

Consumers have begun to rethink their spending habits and the qualities they value in a brand, with everyday heroes becoming more valued than celebrity influencers.

This is according to a Value Shift Report published by market research agency Hall & Partners.

Respecting everyday people who have contributed positively during the pandemic has become increasingly important to consumers, according to the report. This was true for both older and younger generations. As such, local heroes took the place of celebrities, who continued to boast lives of luxury during this worldwide crisis.

Vanella Jackson, CEO of Hall & Partners, stated that, while celebrities will continue to be useful in creating “a desired brand image”, we can expect “everyday heroes” and “ordinary members of society” to become the new “brand champions”.

Additionally, Rufus Weston, head of insight at Just Eat, contended that “couriers are now seen as essential workers”. Their status as heroes was affirmed by “people clapping them spontaneously in the street” and giving them significantly larger tips.

Being authentic and empathetic was also noted as being desirable in the report, and a large majority of respondents highlighted the importance of buying locally as lockdowns eased. Jackson maintained this, stating that brand ambassadors ought to be authentic and local.

Brands took notice in this shift in values. As well as putting a spotlight on essential workers, businesses began to acknowledge their consumers’ plea for environmental sustainability and the prioritisation of health and safety.

The report also found that younger generations have experienced their own shift in how they interact with the world around them. More than half of them state that, as a result of the pandemic, they have developed minimalist mindsets.

That said, a significant portion of young consumers became more indulgent as their futures were made uncertain. These consumers prioritised the simple pleasures of life.

A larger majority of young consumers affirmed that brands nonetheless need to be held accountable to ensure a better future for all.

Sentiments of patriotism were also noted in the report. A majority of respondents asserted that they are proud of their choice of residence. This caused consumers to consider more closely how their decisions affected their country.

Contrarily, only half of men, and a minority of women, stated that their home is representative of their identity and is important to them.

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