Articles

11.5.2022

What does tomorrow’s consumer want?

“The Stuff People Want – a New Horizon for Design in Finland” report now published

The values and attitudes of consumers are changing, and this affects their behaviour. People’s expectations from goods is changing with an emphasis on joy, longevity, responsibility and sustainability. New alternatives to ownership such as leasing and renting, are rising, but owning goods continues to be important and can be responsible. To companies this can mean revamping their business or totally new ways of working. In this change design expertise plays a decisive role.

Design Forum Finland was one of the initiators in the international Stuff in Flux 2 research project where changes in consumers’ attitudes and behaviour were surveyed: what kind of expectations people have as related to stuff, i.e. physical goods. The aim of the study was to gain insight and new guidelines to developing business and the position of design in this development. “The stuff people want – a new horizon for Design in Finland” is a report of the findings of the study. The mission of Design Forum Finland is to enhance the international competitiveness of Finnish companies with extensive use of design. To this work, the survey brought many new ideas and viewpoints which this report is now distributing to both companies and designers.

The report is based on extensive data gathered in 2021 from seven countries (Brazil, Canada, US, Germany, Russia, India and China) and 14 expert interviews linked to Design in Finland. Leading-Edge consumers were selected as the vantage point; these are consumers that are first to adopt new everyday behavioural models. The Leading-Edge aid in finding opportunities which can become mass market phenomena in the next 3–5 years.

The study brought forward several new international prospects for Design in Finland and companies utilising design. The report presents four opportunity areas which companies and designers can’t afford to neglect. All four have in common a more critical attitude towards overconsumption and the use of exhausting natural resources; all feature sustainability.

The conclusion of the report is that in order to keep up with changes in consumer mindset and to be able to utilise opportunities arising, Design in Finland must cooperate open-mindedly and much more extensively with various fields and sectors. According to the researchers, the opportunities introduced in the report open positions for Design in Finland to act as global examples of how individuals and companies or private and public actors are able to jointly develop better ways to consume and produce stuff sustainably, with the future in mind.

“The Stuff People Want– a New Horizon for Design in Finland” report, as well as Stuff in Flux 2 study was carried out by Alice Labs / Oskar Korkman and Sharon Greene. Participating in the research were leading global consumer brands, as well as non-profit organisations, whose aim is to further more sustainable consumption. Design Forum Finland was the only Finnish partner in the project and its participation was funded by Sitra. The first Stuff in Flux study, funded by Sitra, was published in 2017.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT (pdf)

“The Stuff People Want – a New Horizon for Design in Finland” is in English, with a summary in Finnish. It is downloadable at Design Forum Finland’s website www.designforum.fi. Design Forum Finland also organises a Design Forum Talk event on Wednesday 18 May 2022 at 1pm–4pm in Valkoinen Sali, Helsinki. The event is free of charge and can be followed online, too. Welcome! Registration and more info here.

Image: From left FabPatch, Oikiat Design; Naava; Anna Ruohonen; Reima, Repair Kit; Space of Mind, Studio Puisto Architects Ltd.

Päivi Kaira

Brand Manager

+358 44 055 6071