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The four key trends shaping modern consumer behaviour 

Resist; Retrograde; Reglocalise; and Recreate. Those are the four terms dictating modern consumer behaviour, according to a new study from marketing and media agency UM. 

The study, Remix Culture, tracks social and digital media usage, as well as motivations across 81 countries and 44 languages. 

It revealed 61% of online consumers agree that brands play a significant role in social good. When brands do not live up to these expectations, consumers hold them accountable by leveraging social media to voice their concerns, launching and cultivating a "resist" movement.  

"Retrograde" behaviour, on the other hand, is reflected in how consumers are gravitating towards content and culture from previous decades and brands that embrace nostalgia. Generational trends from the past are now in the foreground, shaping personal style, language and beliefs.

The report found that:

  • 68% like listening to music or watch movies from other decades
  • 57% say their family practices the culture/traditions of their ancestors
  • 55% enjoy watching TV shows that are no longer on air

According to the research, the modern global consumer's desire for local inspiration to adopt and appeal to their sense of individuality is more prevalent than ever, a trend identified as "reglocalising." When it comes to enjoying consumer content/products from other countries, 57% agree that local brands and products are more authentic.

The study also found that consumers increasingly want to broaden and "recreate" their identities. When asked to select factors that define their identity, top choices include health/fitness level; friends; school/knowledge/education; family traditions; passions; belief in importance of science/evidence/understanding; and country of birth. 

As personal identities become more complex, consumers are taking notice of brands that appeal to multifaceted identity factors, with 65% saying they are interested in engaging with companies that reflect a new way of doing things, the report says.

According to the findings, 61% of consumers indicate their personal style includes elements from different eras, cultures and traditions, while 65% are interested in trying companies that reflect a new way of doing things.

"Remix Culture reveals the path forward on cultural connectivity by going deeper into the types of content that informs cultural identity and influences consumer behavior," explains Deidre Smalls-Landau, global chief cross-cultural officer, UM. 

"These insights help our clients better understand and navigate cultural trends at a time when trust continues to drop and it's more important than ever to make their brands culturally relevant."

This edition of UM's Wave X, focused on Remix Culture, included a quantitative study of 56,397 active internet users - those who use the internet every day or every other day.