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10 Consumer trends to keep an eye on in 2022

By Rachel Douglass

Jan 18, 2022

Business

Image: Ryoji Iwata

Market research company Euromonitor International has released its consumer trends report for 2022, highlighting the top 10 trends that are motivating consumer behaviour and challenging traditional business strategies.

In the report, Alison Angus, head of lifestyles at the company, said: “Businesses need to transform alongside rapidly evolving consumer preferences. Reverting to a pre-pandemic playbook will not likely generate the same results moving forward.”

The report further suggested that businesses need to begin adopting hybrid models that drive omnichannel experiences in both the real and virtual worlds. This includes making technology accessible to use whilst also exploring more advanced digital spaces, in consideration of the brand’s target audience.

Backup planners

Triggered by supply chain disruptions, this first trend sees consumers centre around their own creative solutions due to shortages. When faced with challenges regarding their go-to products, consumers will look for new ways to purchase these items or search for the next best alternative. This often sees consumers move to subscription-based services or other shopping methods that are deemed more convenient, an action that can impact customer loyalty.

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Image: Primark

Climate changers

Sustainability is undoubtedly one of the most important factors that has emerged over the course of the pandemic. According to Euromonitor, 35 percent of global consumers actively reduced their carbon emissions in 2021, demonstrating the growth of green activism and the change of lifestyles in line with the escalation of the climate crisis. This drive for a net-zero economy challenges companies to offer products that are carbon footprint certified, as well as pushing for more transparency in their production to aid customers in making informed purchase decisions.

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Digital seniors

This trend focuses on the shift baby boomers have had, from being resistant to technology to having more reliance on it. As older consumers become increasingly more tech-savvy, brands must be considerate of their expanded online audience through accessible solutions that tailor to the online-boomer experience. Digital seniors use technology not only for purchases but also for socialising, finances and learning. Businesses have the opportunity to reach this expansive demographic through simplified digitalisation and educational support.

Financial aficionados

In Euromonitor’s report, it found that more than half of global consumers believe they will be better off financially in the next five years. This data is part of the driver behind this next trend, which centres around consumer confidence in investing and the increased interest in personal savings. Consumers are feeling empowered to strengthen their financial security, which sees them turning to simplified tools and solutions to further enable this new found control over their finances.

The great life refresh

Like many of the other trends on this list, this one has also risen out of the pandemic. Consumers have welcomed drastic personal changes and “a collective reboot of values” over the past two years, that challenge businesses to also grow alongside them. Services and experiences that respond to this movement need to be coupled with encouragement and support for new consumer lifestyles, helping them in their adaption to this new way of living.

Image: Digital Village

The metaverse movement

Arguably one of the most talked-about movements of the past year was that of the metaverse. Moving beyond virtual hangouts, the metaverse has now evolved into a location for more immersive 3D realities, with brands that have already adopted this trend now able to drive virtual product sales and e-commerce through this continuously developing space. Euromonitor’s report stated that from 2017 to 2021, global sales of augmented reality headsets grew by 56 percent, reaching 2.6 billion dollars last year. The metaverse conversation came to a significant peak in October 2021, when Facebook announced a change of name and direction for the company rebranding as Meta and shifting paths to become a metaverse-first corporation.

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Pursuit of preloved

Secondhand shopping and peer-to-peer marketplaces have flourished during the past year, as consumers move to a more experienced-based mindset, instead of an ‘ownership’ one. Euromonitor’s report suggested businesses need “to do more with less”, through circular initiatives, like resale or rental, that will both drive value through improved brand reputation and positively impact the environment. Re-commerce is set to continue growing and brands need to contemplate how this increasingly popular trend will fit into their offering.

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Rural urbanites

This emerging trend focuses on consumer relocation to safer and greener neighbourhoods, with an emphasis on suburban and rural communities that can offer more space and greener scenery. This trend has seen consumers begin the gradual move out of metropolitan areas into neighbourhoods that require a bit more work for businesses to reach. E-commerce distribution and sustainable production lines are stressed in this trend, in order to cater to the group looking towards this major lifestyle change.

Self-love seekers

More and more consumers are experiencing a self-love revolution, putting inclusion and acceptance at the forefront of their lifestyle choices and spending habits. This consumer group prioritise their personal happiness and comfortability in their own skin, as they look to indulge in goods that help them feel like their best self. The trend challenges businesses to maintain sincere and deep connections with their customers, that both cater to their lifestyle needs and enhance the happiness they are pursuing.

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The socialisation paradox

The pandemic and its resulting lockdowns have created an uneasiness in consumer comfort levels when heading into the outdoors, with Euromonitor reporting that, in 2021, 76 percent of global consumers took safety precautions when leaving home. This trend stresses the point that the return to pre-pandemic life is likely not on the cards, and brands need to develop solutions that allow customers to return to some form of normality in consideration for their plausible concerns.