Since the world around us is changing rapidly, it feels like we are living in a new world like almost every day. But we’re the same old humans with the same old human needs. Like the need to play or the need for a community feeling. New trends emerge when change unlocks new ways to serve basic human needs. Let’s dig deeper into this to reveal the four consumer trends for 2019 and beyond.*


We live in an expectation economy. Automation is coming and moments of magic are not only done by real people, but also by robots. 

Like the robot arm that picks your wine at Groningen’s wine bar Mr. Mofongo or that fixes your coffee at Shanghai’s robot barista café Ratio

The first high-tech, future feature hotel
Some companies go even further, like e-commerce and media giant Alibaba Group Flyzoo Hotel, being the first high-tech, future feature hotel without a human receptionist and a human concierge. Robots will help you check-in, finding your room and more. Like fixing you a perfect cocktail. 

Looking into consumer trends: checking in at Flyzoo Hotel with robot
Checking in at Flyzoo Hotel

Robots giving people jobs
Of course people are not only bewildered by the magic of robotisation, but also often worried. ‘They are taking over human jobs!’. But in the next example robots are actually giving people jobs, and also in such a meaningful way: Dawn ver.β is Tokyo’s avatar café staffed by robots controlled by paralysed people. The OriHime-D is a 120 cm (4-foot) tall robot that can be operated remotely from a paralyzed person’s home. Even if the operator only has control of their eyes, they can command OriHime-D to move, look around, speak with people, and handle objects. Wanna see more? Just watch this.

Looking into consumer trends: a robot at Tokyo's Dawn ver.β is bringing coffee
A robot at Dawn ver.β is bringing coffee


We all like compelling experiences, but now more and more minus the quilt.

Going on holiday, but minus the negative impact on the planet: say hi to Hi Fly, the world’s first plastic-free flight that took to the skies at the end of last year. They replaced plastic cutlery and containers with bamboo and compostable alternatives crafted from recycled material. 

Zero-waste restaurants
Also on the rise: zero-waste restaurants. Like Indonesia’s first zero-waste restaurant, Ijen, at Potato Head Beach. Ijen serves fresh seafood caught locally using a hand-reeling process in a spacious environment built from recycled materials.

An Amsterdam circular story
Closer to home you’ll find Circl restaurant in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district. Everything you see, hear, taste, smell and feel around you has a sustainable, circular story. From chairs made of recycled refrigerators to dishes using salvaged vegetables.

canned fermented vegetables at CIRCL in Amsterdam
Fermented vegetables on the recycled wooden shelves at CIRCL

Vegan hotelroom
And given that veganism is on the rise in food (see also the article here, albeit in Dutch), it seems natural to assume that it could be on the rise in home furnishings, too. Now Hilton is picking up the new vegan values and catering to them: Hilton London Bankside opened the world’s first vegan room, from the furnishings (no feathers, leather and wool) to the room service.

Looking into consumer trends: vegan hotelroom at the Hilton in London
Vegan hotelroom at the Hilton in London

And what about a waste site featuring an artificial ski slope? In Kopenhagen you can ski and support clean energy. Spectacular if you ask me!


We are on-demand hermits. Everything is delivered to our door, with companies like Amazon and Deliveroo. While that’s a good thing convenience wise, it also means less interaction. 

That’s why hotel chain Ibis is repositioning their brand around local community. Local artist and local chefs are coming in and quests and locals are connection with each other. 


Status is one of the key drivers on human consumer behaviour. We live in an experience economy to display our status, forced by an Instagram and Facebook world. But now we are having experiences in digital worlds too. 

Digital DJ concert
Not just a few people but millions of us experience the same digital experience. And virtual experiences are a status currency, just like the real world status currency. For example the Fortnite DJ that hosted the first ever video game concert. Millions, like ten million (!) people have plugged in to see this. So it’s not just worth mentioning to say you saw David Bowie perform live, it also gives you status to tell your friends you were at the live Fortnite video game concert. Virtual experiences are becoming meaningful to people and so becoming status currency.

3D projection to bring food to life
Let’s finish with one of the hottest dining experiences right now: Le Petit Chef. Le Petit Chef is using 3D projection to bring food to life. It has become a viral sensation and travelled to restaurants around the world, from London to Dubai to bring it’s digital light show to dining. With the help of overhead projectors, Le Petit Chef transforms the dining table into an immersive theatre where the tablecloth, plates and utensils become props for Le Petit Chef to show off his culinary prowess. Just take a look here to see how the world’s smallest chef turns your plate into a projected grill.

Consumer trends to watch: digital light show dining
Digital light show dining

* Many thanks to Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) for it’s wonderful restaurant investment event in Amsterdam last week. Featuring great speakers like Global Head of Trends and Insights at TrendWatching, David Mattin, who shared the above consumer trends reshaping the mindsets, behaviours and expectations of consumers in 2019. 

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