Change was the only constant over the past two years as the world was rocked by Covid-19, according to Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2022 by Euromonitor International released this week.
The report depicts the attitudes that will sway purchase decisions this year and provides actionable business recommendations to boost profitability in 20202.
“Radical lifestyle shifts motivated consumers to make intentional, mindful and ambitious decisions. Now, the world is on the road to recovery. Consumers are putting their plans into motion, taking chances and seizing the moment,” the report noted.
Traditional business models and logistics networks are being challenged and businesses needed to evolve as quickly as consumer behaviour was changing.
It outlined the top 10 trends:
1. Backup planners
Faced with challenges in securing their usual or desired products and services, due to supply chain issues backup planners were looking for ways to purchase similar items or finding creative solutions to obtain alternatives. Supply chain shortages were forcing businesses to pivot and provide new solutions for customers to access products and services. The report found 28 percent of consumers tried to purchase locally sourced products and services last year, while 36 percent of professionals expected supply shortages to be the most significant effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on their company’s supply chain. It found businesses could leverage opportunities where others failed to deliver.
2. Climate Changers
Eco-anxiety and the climate emergency drive environmental activism for a net-zero economy. In 2021, 67 percent of consumers tried to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions in 2021, while 35 percent of global consumers actively reduced their carbon emissions. Consumers worried about climate change are also reducing the use of plastic, cutting food waste and recycling, among other activities. Roughly 78 percent of professionals think that climate change will impact consumer demand, changing behaviours, needs and preferences. Businesses were tapping into the growing market for carbon neutrality.
3. Digital Seniors
Older consumers were forced online amid pandemic restrictions. Now, familiar and comfortable with technology, digital seniors were empowered to make purchases and use services through this channel. The report said businesses had an opportunity to tailor their digital experience to target and meet the needs of this expanded online audience. Approximately 45 percent of consumers aged 60 plus used a banking service on mobile at least once a week.
4. Financial Aficionados
Consumers were gaining confidence in investing and becoming savvy savers to strengthen financial security, the report said. Financial Aficionados take control of their money and use services to track their transactions, saying that 51 percent of consumers believed they would be better off financially in the next five years. Meanwhile, 57 percent of consumers accessed a banking service through their smartphone at least weekly in 2021. Companies should provide tools and easy-to-use solutions to make any consumer feel financially empowered, the report noted.
5. The Great Life Refresh
The pandemic triggered consumers to make The Great Life Refresh, resulting in drastic personal changes and a collective reboot of values, lifestyles and goals.
The report advised that businesses should innovate goods, services and experiences that respond to this once-in-a-generation moment, coupled with marketing that acknowledged and embraces the upheaval. Euromonitor found 44 percent of professionals believed their companies would invest in employee health and welfare in the future.
6. The Metaverse Movement
Consumers are embracing immersive, 3D digital realities, which begin to transform social connections. Global sales of AR/VR headsets grew 56 percent from 2017 to 2021, reaching $2.6 billion (R41bn) last year. The report said brands at the centre of The Metaverse Movement could build equity. These immersive environments could drive e-commerce and virtual product sales as access expands.
7. Pursuit of Preloved
Thrifting was trending, which led to second-hand shopping and peer-to-peer marketplaces flourish as consumers sought individuality, affordable and sustainable items. Euromonitor said businesses needed to do more with less, adding that 67 percent of professionals stated their company engaged in responsible consumption and production (SDG12) in 2021. “Investing in circular economy initiatives, such as recycling, rental or resale programmes, will drive value while positively impacting the environment,” the report noted.
8. Rural Urbanites
Consumers eye safer, cleaner and greener neighbourhoods. Suburban and rural communities offer more spacious housing and greener scenery, luring consumers out of the metropolitan area as 37 percent of consumers expected to be working from home in the future. The report noted that businesses that strengthened e-commerce distribution, expanded sustainable product lines and catered to rural Urbanites would emerge as winners.
9. Self-Love Seekers
Customers sought acceptance, self-care and inclusion in their lifestyles. Self-love seekers prioritise their happiness, feeling comfortable in their own skin and indulging in goods and services that elevate their sense of self. The report said businesses need to create deep connections with customers. Products that evoke physical, emotional or spiritual well-being would resonate and enhance the lives of these customers. Euromonitor found that 54 percent of professionals believe that more personalised shopper experiences would have a strong impact on retailing over the next five years.
10. The Socialisation paradox
Euromonitor noted that consumers were approaching a return to pre-pandemic life in different ways based on their comfort levels.
“Certain consumers are eager, while others are hesitant, to resume their normal activities, creating the socialisation paradox,” it said, saying companies should provide seamless solutions and multiple options across channels without sacrificing the experience. In 2021, 76 percent of global consumers took health and safety precautions when leaving home.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE