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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Growing consumption

By 2030, the consumer class is expected to reach 5 billion people. This means 2 billion more people with increased purchasing power than today.

(© Photo by Gabrielle Ribeiro on Unsplash)


A Megatrend is a long-term driving force that is observable now and will continue to have a global impact in years to come

By 2030, the global middle class, also termed the consumer class is expected to reach 4.8 billion people - 1.3 billion more people with increased purchasing power than today. The rise of the middle class in emerging economies (although slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic) and the increase in business models targeting people at the ‘bottom of the income pyramid’ are collectively making consumption patterns an increasingly important force - which shapes global production systems. Consumer behaviour and choices matter and are changing, with trends towards sustainable consumption, wellbeing and civic brands. At the same time the scale of the expanding consumer class, while a driver for economic development, is in parallel going to increase demand for food, water and energy substantially, bringing resource and environment challenges.


This Megatrend is part of the Megatrends Hub



The driving forces of the Megatrend change over time. This timeline indicates more established and newer trends that are influencing the future direction of the Megatrend


They indicate a direction of change in values and needs which is driven by forces and manifests itself already in various ways within certain groups in society. 

Sustainable consumption

The choices of brands, products and services that exist today are seen as an opportunity to respond to global challenges (e.g. climate change, inequalities) and choices made can help shape our society and economy according to our values.

Our digital lives

Extended reality technologies (such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) and the increased amount of time we spend in online spaces is allowing businesses to easily offer personalised shopping experiences. It also allows consumers to customise their own virtual world through design, avatars etc. if they wish to.


The competition for consumers has moved far beyond just product quality and characteristics, as  brands are now increasingly trying to tap into their customers’ emotions, perceptions and values, and to provide ‘experiential shopping’ – where the in-person shopping experience has elements of a leisure pursuit.  


Previously Covered Trends

These are trends that were spotted in the past, and might have grown or faded away in time.

-    Eco-friendly products
-    E-commerce
-    Social media influencers
-    Attention economy
-    Millennials


Future Snapshots

A future snapshot shows a plausible image of what might happen in the future in relation to this Megatrend. It is a creation built using knowledge and imagination. These snapshots presented here are excerpts of inspiring future-oriented reports written by other colleagues and organisations.


Further Reading

Want to explore more? Some interesting readings below:

●    EU consumer rights - EC

●    Household Budget Surveys - Eurostat

●    Sustainable consumption policies - EC


This Megatrends hub is a repository of foresight related information. It highlights long-term driving forces and its underlying shorter-term trends. This repository can help you understand the changing society in a broad and more systemic way. 

Disclaimer: this repository is by no means comprehensive and apart from established scientific knowledge contains also issues which are subject to scientific debate and where research is ongoing or only starting (indicated as stronger or weaker trends) to give the reader some insights and ways to further explore the topics in more depth.