Euromonitor International’s 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey shows that nearly 50 percent of respondents across all generations aspire to be self-employed, showing a growing trend towards this adaptive entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Consumers are increasingly seeking flexibility in their lifestyles and are prepared to take risks. Millennials especially have an entrepreneurial nature, shifting away from the traditional 9-to-5 career towards one that affords more freedom.
Rejection of traditional working patterns
Adaptive Entrepreneurs point to several factors in their rejection of traditional jobs and companies. For instance, wages are stagnant, increasing by 1 percent or less in many Western European economies such as the US, Germany, the UK and Japan between 2011 and 2016.
The shift in priorities of Adaptive Entrepreneurs is directly linked to a change in values. In 2018, these consumers will be attracted towards alternatives that allow more flexible, adaptable and personalized experiences, and not just potential financial gain. They want a lifestyle they can build themselves and align with their personal interests and passions. The Euromonitor survey saw a marked delay in larger life goals such as owning a home or having children.
The role of the internet for Adaptive Entrepreneurs
Macroeconomic factors and lifestyle shifts are pushing Adaptive Entrepreneurs to rethink and look for alternative ways to work and earn a living. The biggest driver has been the proliferation of the internet as a flexible platform to sell, communicate, review and network without borders or boundaries.
While start-ups hold substantial risk, the upsides are attractive to Adaptive Entrepreneurs, who are disillusioned with the traditional economic model. Their online lifestyles mean they are knowledgeable and savvy, well-connected and technically confident. The tech industry, grown to be dominated globally by Apple, Google and Amazon, is the guiding star of the Adaptive Entrepreneur.
Adaptable consumers, adaptable brands
Risk-seeking entrepreneurs will not be attracted to the same brands or marketing techniques that dominated in the past. They will favor products enhancing their adaptable work and personal lives.
One example of a service catering to entrepreneurial consumers is Remote Year, a company providing access to work and travel—an enabler for breaking out of traditional 9-to-5 office jobs and travelling the world. Participants must already have a flexible job arrangement, such as their own business. The growth in the popularity of Remote Year and others, such as Hacker’s Paradise and We Roam, throughout 2017, is creating “digital nomads”—independent entrepreneurs looking for flexibility.
Traditional businesses leveraging historical prestige will find their marketing push towards this disruptive generation fall flat in 2018. Adaptive Entrepreneurs are not brand-defined—they want to take risks and remain distinctly independent.