Consumer 2030 and the Future of Retail

Alisa Tkach

What should businesses, the Internet and society as a whole prepare for?

What should businesses, the Internet and society as a whole prepare for?

The consumer’s paradigm is shifting. A decade ago, online shopping was a ‘once in a while’ affair; today, over 2 billion people purchase goods via the internet. 

Digital transformation is affecting every area of our lives, from buying groceries to transferring money to families overseas. Human mistakes at the Western Union counter and the struggle of finding a parking spot at your favorite shopping mall on the weekend are becoming ancient history. Instead, we get frustrated by the slow store page loading time and the lack of payment methods. 

Consumers influence the changes; after all, it is demand that breeds supply. Chances are, ten years later, retail will be driven out by e-tail, almost entirely powered by the new, highly-efficient fintech solutions. Here’s how it might look like.

Millennials and Gen Z Portrait

In five to ten years, there will be six generations of consumers on the market, with four of them making the majority of the purchases: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. By 2027, around 30% of the population, or 1.5 billion adults, will be Gen Z while Millenials will account for 1.9 billion.

Depending on consumers’ location, their needs will also vary. For example, in Japan and quite a few European countries, the population is ageing, forcing people to invest more in healthcare. As for the US, the population is getting even more diverse and urbanized. 


By 2030, Millennials will make 50% of the US workforce, and their global annual income will most likely exceed $4 trillion. Millennials have love-hate relationships with money. More than anyone, they are concerned about their financial well-being. Living from paycheck to paycheck often results in renting instead of buying and postponing other commitments. At the same time, Millennials choose to lead the lifestyle they want and freely purchase things they like, including luxury and premium items. 

As for investments, Millennials are not too keen on gambling with their hard-earned money. The generation that has witnessed one of the biggest economic collapses remains skeptical about the stock market. However, this tendency is slowly changing. 

Those Millenials who can save are reserving 18% of their incoming for investments, and 39% of Millenials reported investing in cryptocurrency. Gen Z, in fact, overperformed Millennials in crypto investing, with 47% holding digital assets.

Gen Z

Gen Z is the first generation raised with free access to technology. It shaped the way they approach everything in their lives so that Gen Z can relate to their global peers a lot more than to people of other generations within their own countries. 

Raised striving for equality, Gen Z is focused on expressing their identity. Having access to multiple sources of free education, Gen Z folks lean towards being more mindful. They tend to work-part alongside their studies and consume responsibly. Not trusting brands and corporations, Gen Z is focused on sustainability when choosing a product. 

Gen Z, as well as Millenials, put their trust in influencers. Big data paved the way for micro-targeting and an unprecedented level of personalization. Brands are already focusing on building intimate, more meaningful communities, and this trend is doomed to continue. 

Finance and Payments in 2030

Technology wields a major influence on the lifestyles of Millenials and Gen Z. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that most of their awake time they spend online. 

Both generations communicate with the world through their mobile devices, smartphones in particular. 98% of Gen Z are smartphone owners, and 52% rely on it as their primary internet device. Almost half of Gen Z admits to using smartphones nearly all the time, and 61.8% of Gen Z and Millennials state they would prefer to find themselves without a wallet than their phone.

Mobile payments are destined to take over. Today, unbanked and underbanked regions, such as Africa, Asia, and LatAm countries, are already successfully developing mobile consumer payments services, enabling their citizens to join the global economy. Thus, there is a very high possibility that by 2030, nobody will have to carry a wallet with them anymore.

The tech will most likely keep on advancing. Instead of unlocking your phone with a fingerprint to approve an Apple Pay transaction, consumers of the future will probably level up the security measures with something sophisticated as an eye scan. 

Consumers of the future will be intolerant of pending transactions. Transferring money globally will no longer be a burden, and there are several ways to achieve this. Either the banks revise their desperately outdated system, or neobanks and other fintech solutions that allow cheap and seamless money transfers will take over. Although, we might as well see a combination of both. 

Another inconvenience that will most definitely disappear is the inability to pay with your preferred payment method. In 2021, there are still countries, mainly in Asia, with massive marketplaces that do not accept international credit cards, relying exclusively on local payment providers. Considering growing passion for travel and general globalization tendency, future consumers won’t put up with such a holdback. The payment infrastructure of 2030 is going to be a lot more inclusive.

Cryptocurrency – be it stablecoins, central bank digital currencies, or brand new currencies – will play an essential role in advancing the payment tech of the future. Moreover, the crypto lending tech will try to challenge the credits system, and unless the banks come up with a more affordable alternative, it will win the day.   

The Bottom Line

Consumers of the future, dominated by Millenials and Gen Z, will be more mindful, socially responsible, and environmentally conscious. At the same time, they will be more demanding. Used to continuous technology development, they will expect cheap and accessible money transfers, regardless of the area the live or were born in. By 2030, highly-secured mobile and digital payments, personalized fintech solutions, and big data-based consuming will run the show.

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