The Dinner Party
Building a community of today’s consumers to share reflections and insights on what will shape tomorrow’s world. 
Join the Dinner Party

Our New World

With so much change to digest, so many glaring new realities to confront daily, the modern consumer is facing an uncharted era of humanity.
Rarely have we seen a time in modern history that has been subject to change on the scale of what we have witnessed and lived through over the past several years. The global pandemic shut down schools and offices, highlighting the flaws in many of our established institutions. The healthcare crisis laid bare untenable realities about social inequities. Social and political unrest spilled into the streets and onto our iPhones, permeating our consciousness. Climate change accelerated into a daily reality and ever-present danger. And now, with a recession and rising inflation looming, we are all forced to think hard about our needs while navigating mounting uncertainty and personal and societal adversities. 

Against this backdrop, we at Forerunner believe that charting a path to a better future, one that lifts us from the challenges of today, first requires reacquainting ourselves with the Consumer: 
Who is today’s modern consumer?
What do we need in order to build purpose, resilience, and direction over the next decade?

Who We Are

Forerunner is a venture capital firm dedicated to understanding the modern consumer mindset and partnering with the entrepreneurs and companies poised to deliver on their behalf.
Since our inception in 2012, the consumer has been our North Star. We commit ourselves to having a constant pulse on what people are doing and why, and we closely observe how world events shape the way we live. We study subtle changes in people’s behavior and mindset, and project how needs and priorities might shift as people seek solutions for critical problems and new aspirations. 

Research Methodology

To approach this research effort with the utmost objectivity, we conducted a 100+ question quantitative survey of more than 4,300 participants aged 18+ in the United States in partnership with Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm, asking questions across consumer behavior, preferences, demographics, and attitudinal perspectives. We followed up with qualitative interviews with respondents, and mapped credit card data to measure “say vs. do” gaps. Hundreds of iterations of statistical ​analyses were used to refine the data output and identify key consumer clusters. 

Welcome to The Dinner Party

Our research uncovers eight clusters of consumer archetypes, highlighting the key values and behaviors that align us and make us different, and how certain personalities and experiences lead to unique perspectives on the future. We found these archetypes aligned more on life experience than age or demographic. Concerns and priorities were more similar than different across personas, which came as a surprise — and perhaps the most important thread was a consistent simple issue across all archetypes:
The consumer has been upended by change in every aspect of life and is facing mounting adversity. We are all searching for varying degrees of purpose, direction, and resilience to get back to solid footing and a path towards a brighter future.
For an optimistic future, people are seeking a return to the fundamentals.
When asked how optimistic they are about the future, respondents across all archetypes said they were more optimistic about their own future (53%) than that of their children (41%) or the world (27%), pointing to elements of hope mixed with profound doubt about long-term trajectories.

When asked how respondents they see their lives in the next 12 months, 55% of respondents report they are “taking it one day at a time,” 21% are trying to “get back to how things were” before the upheaval of the past few years, 15% eager to “turn a new leaf” heading into future, while 9% are looking to make up for lost time.

It is very telling that over half of consumers, in one way or another, are looking to get back to the basics — living day by day, thinking through priorities, needs and next steps. After more than a decade of digital proliferation and hyper consumerism that unbound our way of communication, life and work, punctuated by several years of worldwide solidarity of isolation, we now have an opportunity to emerge with fresh thinking and a renewed sense of purpose.

The next wave of game-changing companies will be life-changing companies.

We at Forerunner believe the next decade of game-changing companies, services and products will be life-changing ones addressing society’s truest needs: building, purpose, self-reliance and direction, advancing sustainable offerings, creating deeper connections, fueling economic resilience, and supporting greater health. Perhaps with a restored focus on core life needs and fundamentals, we’ll start to see an even more optimistic group of consumers, who see a brighter future that they can impact with their voices, values, and time.
Which dinner guest are you?
Each dinner guest represents a different consumer archetype. Discover yours and share it with the world.