2023 a Year in Review: Exploring Consumer Trends and Insights in the UK

Appinio Research · 06.12.2023 · 10min read

Appinio's yearly review, listing the top trends of the year, the best moments of the year and 2023's highlights and lowlights

As we bid farewell to another chapter of our lives, let’s take a moment and reflect on the whirlwind of experiences that defined the past year. 


In an effort to capture the essence of 2023 and end the year on a good note, we conducted a survey that delves into the lives of consumers, unravelling the stories of change, growth, and leisure that unfolded. From relocations to career shifts, exotic travels to quiet nights with a good book, this survey paints a vivid picture of the collective journey we embarked on. 


This is "2023: A Year in Review," a mosaic of memories that defined a year in the lives of many.


A year of changes

In the midst of the ever-changing landscape, 2023 emerged as the year of transformation. 


Our survey revealed that a notable number of respondents embraced change on a fundamental level, with a considerable portion opting for a change of scenery. Whether driven by a quest for new opportunities, a desire for a fresh start, or a simple change of pace, the phenomenon of relocation played a significant role in shaping the narratives of many. Beyond the physical shifts, the professional realm witnessed its own metamorphosis, as individuals navigated the intricacies of starting anew in their careers.

New beginnings in the workplace

As the professional landscape underwent shifts in 2023, our survey uncovered insights into the realm of career changes. 


Nearly one in five (17%) of respondents embarked on new professional journeys, while 24% are considering a move, illustrating the dynamic nature of the job market during the past year. 


From career pivots to stepping into leadership roles, these stories show the resilience and adaptability of individuals navigating the ever-evolving workplace. Some may be pursuing their passion, choosing fulfilment over conventionality, while others may look for fresh challenges, eager to expand their skill sets. 

The impact of remote work on job choices shouldn’t be underestimated either, and many may be wanting to explore opportunities beyond the confines of traditional office spaces. 


The future of the workplace is still to be decided but there are already some trends we can expect to sweep us off our feet:

  • Generative AI, and how it will affect the workforce
  • Sustainable working practices, and how the workforce will need to adapt and prioritise
  • Future skills, and how employees need to be in a flux of continuous learning
  • Employee experience, and how employees can achieve a better work-life balance
  • The rise of decentralised workplaces, and the consolidation of hybrid work models

Wanderlust unleashed

British travellers adapted to post-pandemic conditions by embarking on more frequent and extended trips, including the trend of "revenge travel". However, the cost-of-living crisis led to reduced travel frequency and closer-to-home destinations due to inflation. Travel companions varied, with couples, solo travellers, and families. Off-peak travel gained popularity, offering quieter and more affordable experiences.


Our end of year survey revealed that over half (54%) of Brits have been abroad this year, and 54% of these travellers have been to a country they have never travelled to before.

The younger the respondents the more likely they are to have travelled abroad this year.

If your wanderlust can’t be sated, read more about the Travel and Tourism Industry in our recent blog, or download the latest Hype Train Report, created with the help of Jonas Upmann, Head of Consumers Communications at HomeToGo, the marketplace with the world's largest selection of vacation homes.



Cultural Escapes: books, movie, and concerts

Amid the ebb and flow of daily life, 2023 has given us some many cultural escapes that proved to be a steadfast source of joy and enrichment for respondents. 


Reading emerged as a beloved pastime, with 60% of respondents proudly declaring the completion of at least one book throughout the year, 38% yas they read multiple books in 2023. Most mentioned books were the Harry Potter series, “The Thursday Murder Club” by one of the most beloved English authors, Richard Osman, television presenter, producer, novelist, and comedian. The Hunger Games saga was also quite popular among readers.


In the world of cinema, it was only about one movie (or maybe two): Barbie! 

The survey illuminated the resilience of cinema attendance, with audiences expressing their dedication to the immersive experience of storytelling on the big screen, in fact 60% went to the movies at least once.
The top picks at the box office in 2023 were:

  1. ”Barbie, The Movie”, 25% of Brits embarked on this glamorous adventure
  2. “Oppenheimer”, 9% of Brits opted for a gut-wrenching experience 
  3. “Mission Impossible”, 4% of Brits went on a high-stakes journey


But 2023 was especially the year of concerts and live music.

Some of the most spectacular and incredible concerts took place in 2023 and they were cultural resets.

One in four Brits went to at least one concert in 2023, the Holy Trinity was made of

  1. Taylor Swift (The Eras Tour): 4% of Brits danced the night away and screamed their lungs out
  2. Beyoncé's (The Renaissance Tour): 4% experienced this spectacular concert.
  3. Harry Styles (Love On Tour): 3% of Brits swooned to the tunes of Harry Styles. Interestingly, the “Concert fashion” trend seems to have started with these concerts, namely, drawing inspiration or recreating looks from their music videos, performances, album covers, etc.


Together, these cultural escapes provided a colourful backdrop to the year, demonstrating the unwavering human spirit to seek inspiration, entertainment, and connection through the arts.

New trends shaping 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, 2023 has witnessed the rise of several trends that have captured the imagination of consumers and enthusiasts alike and therefore, we tested some of the most discussed trends in the Appinio signature Hype Tracker. 

The most discussed trends of 2023 in UK, Chat GPT, Digital cameras, iPhone15, Foldable Smartphones


  • Topping the list is the revolutionary advent of foldable smartphones, sparking unparalleled excitement and boasting the highest awareness among consumers. Despite already garnering attention, the second-highest curiosity score indicates a persistent eagerness to explore the nuanced details, features, and potential benefits of these flexible devices. 

  • Following closely is the realm of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), maintaining its status as the second most talked-about trend. While awareness stands strong as the second-highest, a notable third-highest curiosity score suggests a lingering interest, perhaps fuelled by a sense of curiosity and the ongoing exploration of practical applications.

  • Digital cameras, occupying the third spot in the trends hierarchy, have sustained their relevance as a noteworthy technological pursuit. With the third-highest awareness, a substantial portion of respondents is well-versed in the intricacies of digital camera technology, and the highest curiosity score underscores a significant interest in the continual innovations and capabilities of these imaging devices.

  • Not to be overlooked is the burgeoning trend of Chat GPT, representing a smaller buzz but boasting a remarkably high level of curiosity. With the fast advancement of this technology and the possible applications, it was impossible to avoid news and conversation on when and how AI will replace humans in the workforce. No surprise to see this trend generating a bigger buzz in younger generations rather than older ones.


 As the technological landscape continues to evolve, these trends collectively shape the narrative of innovation and curiosity that defines the digital era of 2023.


As the final curtain falls on the stage of 2023, we find ourselves looking back at this year.

From the transformative shifts in personal and professional landscapes to the rhythmic beats of concerts that echoed through the year, our last Hype Train of the year unveiled the varied hues of experiences that coloured the canvas of 2023. 


This is not just a year in review; it's a celebration of resilience, curiosity, and the collective spirit that defines our journey through time.


Interested in running your own study?

In our dashboard, you will find questionnaire templates that you can customise and get the insights you need to bring your brand to the next level.


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