Future scenarios

Janna – Lifestyle Optimizer

Janna is a 39-year-old mother of two who lives in Turku and works as an international expert. Janna doesn’t want to spend any extra time in shopping, picking up or transporting goods from one place to another. She has a unique, data-driven consumer profile that automates most of her purchases. Although consumer privacy legislation has become stricter in the 2020s, Jaana has also found data sharing useful and in her everyday life. Ultimately, she has the power to decide over her data sharing.

Online stores know the essentials of Janna’s everyday life, allowing goods to arrive flexibly at home, at the workplace and pick-up points. With this data, online retailers are able to anticipate Janna’s shopping far into the future, providing her with highly personalized solutions. For environmental reasons, Janna favors peer-to-peer shopping, especially for clothing and furniture, and she is active in recycling groups in her neighborhood. She is interested in the carbon footprint of new products. In addition, the legislation mandates the specification of the environmental load of products in the product information.

Demanding work makes Janna value her free time, and she is willing to pay for services that save her time.  Although Janna’s work is international, she does not like to travel much and prefers a relatively simple lifestyle that does not burden the environment. Technology plays a significant role in Janna’s life, but with voice control and smart home solutions, technology is almost seamlessly integrated into Janna’s everyday life.


Open Mode scenario: Goods flexibly from anywhere

Goods can be received in many ways and at different locations. Logistics addresses the consumer dynamically and intelligently. Consumers can have their parcel delivered at their home, at pick-up points, at the workplace, at housing distribution points, in car trunks, or freely anywhere – depending on the location. While commerce utilizes consumer data in many ways, consumer privacy legislation is also strong, and consumers are ready to share their data profiles with companies. Companies can use consumer data more efficiently, which motivates individuals to share their information.

Delivery times are fast, and trading parties provide real-time updates on the delivery situation. Automation and digitalization in logistics allow for flexible operating models at a reasonable cost. Sensors and measuring devices allow the monitoring of the deliveries. Disposable packaging is reduced, and deposit packaging is a common solution.

The peer-to-peer and sharing economy is a significant part of the whole and consumers trade a lot with each other. New services have emerged around the borrowing of goods. In the production of consumer goods, there is both a global concentration on large units and a strengthening of small-scale local production. Intermediate storage decreases, the number of items increases, and the customization of products becomes more common. Deliveries are accompanied by additional services such as recycling and home services. Due to the wider range of services, operators are investing in agility and customer service. The consumer has a greater capacity for consuming services.



Markku: A major consumer of home services

Markku is a 76-year-old pensioner from Kuopio who lives in an apartment block. Due to budgetary savings, an aging population and technological advances, most services for the elderly are directly delivered at home. For Markku, this means, for example, delivery of groceries, health care services and various home maintenance activities. Markku is often at home, but when needed, suppliers of food and other goods can also deliver goods through the housing company’s intelligent lock system.

The apartment block hosts many older people and the home services solutions offered to them have been keenly developed. Markku has acquired necessary ICT skills in working life, which allow him to make good use of digital services. In case of problems, he gets help from a neighbor. In addition, the city of Kuopio has also invested in senior citizens’ digital skills. The use of e-commerce and other digital services has gradually increased in Markku’s life. As a consumer, he is frugal and favors well-known suppliers and their standardized products.

Although services are centered around Mark’s home, he still has hobbies and maintains relationships outside the home. He has enough energy for his hobbies because, for example, the effort for shopping in large shopping malls and grocery stores has declined. At times, however, Markku longs for shopping routines and random encounters in stores.


Open Mode scenario: All the goods at home

In principle, the consumer receives all purchases directly at home, from groceries to consumer goods. Consumers increasingly appreciate the ease and efficiency of their transactions. Home delivery plays a major role, especially in urban areas, but there are also pick-up points and mass-market solutions in suburban and rural areas. The home is equipped to receive consignments, and the recipient does not have to be present when the goods arrive. Shared cold rooms, smart locks and other security solutions ensure easy receiving of goods.

There is a possibility for the integration of various services in the deliveries of goods, such as the introduction of products, home maintenance or cooking. The expansion of services has been limited only by labor availability. IoT technologies, such as smart refrigerators, allow for highly automated orders. The brick-and-mortar stores and other outlets have not completely disappeared, but home is the main destination for deliveries. Mobile voice interfaces and robust authentication methods support the transactions.

Trade and logistics providers have a global presence, but they deliver local solutions. Operators are heavily investing in technology. The development of Artificial Intelligence and next-generation mobile networks make it easier to handle data masses. There is strong mutual trust between the actors. Services and products are becoming increasingly interconnected. Products are often modular, repairable and recyclable, supporting the circular economy. Combining flows of goods and people has become easier. Production is increasingly concentrated overseas, but there are also smaller local production facilities. Durable and recyclable materials are used for packaging solutions. The number of packages and packaging processes are minimized.




Sofia: An adventurous digital fastener

Sofia is a highly educated 28-year old who lives in downtown Helsinki. She is accustomed to ordering goods and services from online stores, but she is tired of shipping challenges and of dealing with the digital environment. Online shopping has also enabled Sofia to make purchases that are inexpensive but, at times, of poor quality. Over the past few years, Sofia’s consumption has begun to shift more and more towards showrooms created by strong brands and lifestyle communities. Showrooms allow you to discover high-quality novelties and tailor-made products. At the same time, showrooms are places for like-minded consumers who get different experiences and opportunities to interact with each other.

Showrooms have made experiential consumption the “new normal” that Sofia also requires of other places, where she begins to deal with changing life situations and needs. The adventurousness may no longer be strongly associated with the products she consumes – it may simply be a way to gain distance from everyday life – whereas the place, the atmosphere and the service become more important than the product itself. From Sofia’s point of view, using an online store depends on how successful it is in offering a similar experience and personalized service that have attracted her to the brick and mortar stores.

Sofia does not have a driver’s license, and it is essential for her to get her products home quickly and flexibly, no matter where she makes her purchase.


Open Mode Scenario: The “renaissance” of local shops and local production

The growth of e-commerce is reaching its limits and consumers are returning to the local shops. In these pleasant spaces, the customer gets excellent customer service and experience. All functions that do not directly aim to serve the customer, such as payment and logistics, are automated, and vendors focus on helping the customer. Local production facilities and artisanal workshops also open their doors to consumers who can learn how foods, drinks, clothing or furniture are made. The products are tailored to the individual consumer. Consumers are careful about what they are buying and only buy what they need, and the products must be just what they want. The production volumes are small, but the products are of high quality.

E-commerce and local shops are being developed side by side, and the boundary between them is beginning to blur. The aim is to serve the customers at local shops but also to enable them to continue shopping in their online platforms, in which there are built some adventurous elements.

Private ownership of cars has decreased. Public transport and electric car-sharing vehicles are the primary means used for commuting. A new trend that becomes stronger is that the consumer buys products from the local shop(s) and these are delivered at his\her home in order to free the consumers’ hands. Products specifically tailored to the consumer or manufactured in the presence of the consumer shall be delivered to the customer in the manner (s)he wishes.

Customers expect the goods to be delivered in a flexible and punctual manner. Transportation services are an everyday luxury for customers who are ready to buy a variety of additional services. This impression is reinforced by high quality but environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Orders from multiple locations are collected in one shipment. The ways of distributing goods to consumers proliferate, also enabling product deliveries between consumers (consumer to consumer).




Future Consumer Karo: Community activist in the countryside

Karo, 47, lives with his family near Oulu, in a peaceful rural setting, yet reasonably close to the city. Karo wants to offer her children a peaceful environment for growth, a small village school atmosphere and a daily touch with nature. Even adults have peace of mind, and there is no constant buzz around them. On the other hand, the village community provides security and creates an opportunity for daily interaction with others of the same spirit.

Karo’s village has joined the “Aladdin” network. Its inhabitants place joint orders for groceries and other consumer goods, which are delivered centrally to the village pick-up point for picking up by the people. For a small extra charge, an “Aladdin” robotic car or drone will bring orders right to your door. Karo’s family regularly uses “Aladdin’s” ride services, especially for leisure activities. Due to her work, Karo moves less. She does as much teleworking as possible from home or from the village telecommuting hub she erected in a former communal house with other village activists. Karo also works part-time as a contact for “Aladdin”, a kind of village geek who manages village joint orders. As a reward for her activity, she receives “Aladdin” bonus points, which she then uses for buying tickets for digital concerts with world-class stars.

Karo, like other people, has had to abandon a completely individual-centered model of living and adapt to the world of co-ordering and car-sharing. In return, she receives the same services as a city resident at a slightly more expensive shipping rate. On the other hand, housing costs are relatively cheaper in rural areas. Aladdin is continually expanding its service offerings. The latest addition is a telemedicine service that allows Karo to reach the best expert in her field around the world at any time of the day. Seamless simultaneous interpretation makes a ‘visit to the doctor’ a pleasant experience and guarantees a high-quality result.


Open Mode scenario: One big player dominates the market

Global e-commerce continues to grow, and retail is moving almost entirely online. Consumers favor one big global player – let’s call it “Aladdin” – for its superior range of services and affordable pricing. Aladdin’s range of services to consumers is staggering, and the services are not necessarily related to the products delivered, or they do not take place at the same time as the delivery. The consumer may buy from Aladdin, all possible services covering all areas of life,  ranging from entertainment to health and childcare. Most consumers accept that Aladdin knows everything about them. For consumers, the threshold to move away from this career path is high, as ending a customer relationship would mean the end of access to the entire range of services.

The flow of goods managed by Aladdin is large and automated. Aladdin has a global network of giant hubs and transportation equipment. Although the transport network is well centralized, goods can be produced anywhere. An efficient logistics system can also pick up goods from small local producers. Goods are therefore produced where Aladdin’s profit margin is best throughout the process.

With support from Artificial Intelligence, Aladdin can predict people’s needs and reduce the need for storing goods. The goods are always in motion, leaving the producer as needed, and the need for intermediate storage decreases. For example, the food will be fresher. The goods are delivered in the city, primarily at homes and in the countryside at the village pick-up points. Transport is firmly combined, and goods and people move together.

For the “last-mile” of good deliveries, Aladdin utilizes a self-driving car system. There are no longer two cars in the yard of a single house, but Aladdin’s car comes when ordered and the customer pays only for the use of the car. Cars do not move empty, but transport is optimized on a regional basis by anticipating customer mobility and consumables delivery needs – when you order a car, food comes to you and the neighborhood.