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Volatility is stoking consumer vigilance in all corners of the gobal economy


Reports The Futures Company in its Quarterly Macroeconomic Forecast

CHAPEL HILL, NC — From stock markets to riots to hurricanes, volatility has returned as the backdrop to everyday life, bringing vigilance to the fore and changing the imperatives facing consumer marketers. This conclusion comes from findings reported by The Futures Company in its recently released quarterly macroeconomic forecast of 21 key global economies, Macroeconomic Foresights.

The Futures Company specifically examined what the intensifying volatility of the marketplace means for consumers around the world. This quarterly forecast, released in parallel with the 2011/2012 Global MONITOR survey of 28,000 consumers worldwide, notes, “Volatility feeds apprehensions and misgivings.” Thus, economic outcomes both bad and good will seem to consumers to be “weaker than is actually the case as long as the path up or down reels widely to and fro.”

This is seen in a big year-over-year jump in Global MONITOR data in many countries in the percentage of people agreeing “the world is an increasingly hostile and uncertain place.”

J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman of The Futures Company, said, “Volatility is the devil’s curse in the global economy right now. Everything looks worse in a volatile environment, so consumers are becoming even more paralyzed by fear and worries, even in markets not hard hit by the recent recession.”

He continued, “Volatility makes it extremely difficult for either government policies or private sector investments to give consumers sufficient reassurance to jump-start the demand that can revive struggling economies. Consumers have responded by becoming more vigilant.”

Smith concluded, “Before marketers can re-engage with consumers about higher-order, more premium-priced needs, they must first respond to vigilance and anxieties about volatility. In every category, safety and security trump everything else.”

Macroeconomic Foresights is available at For more information about The Futures Company Global MONITOR, please contact
Emily Parenti at +1 919 932 8626 or email

About The Futures Company
The Futures Company is the leading global foresight and futures consultancy, formed in 2008 from the coming together of The Henley Centre, HeadlightVision and Yankelovich. Through a combination of subscription foresight services and custom research and consultancy, we create commercial advantage for our clients by helping them to take control of their futures. By exploring the future needs, motivations and behaviors of consumers, and the broader dynamics shaping the marketplace, we unlock the future of consumers, brands, categories and companies.

The Futures Company is a Kantar company within WPP with teams in the UK, US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and India.

Follow The Futures Company on Twitter @FuturesCo and Facebook


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