Top Consumer Trends You Need To Pay Attention To In 2022

Mar 03, 2022 by Mark Dingley

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To help your business grow and thrive, you need to pay attention to what consumers are doing. How are they buying products? What are they looking for? What matters to them? Since the Covid pandemic first struck, consumer behaviour has shifted and evolved in ways we could not have predicted.

Mintel has revealed the top global consumer trends for 2022. Here, we delve into the ones you should pay attention to and look at how you can tap into them for growth.

Top Consumer Trends For 2022

 

Trend #1. Take control

In uncertain times, people need a way to feel in control of their lives. It’s human nature. The added challenge over the past two years has been the spread of misinformation, which has made it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions and feel like they’re in the driver’s seat.

In 2022, consumers are craving clarity, transparency, and trusted information to make decisions and feel in control. For food and beverages, this means they want to know the ingredients and origin of foods, what’s excluded and what’s included, and why.

 

Tap into the trend:

Use QR codes on packaging to make it easy for consumers to verify and authenticate the products they are buying. People are more familiar with QR codes than ever before, so now is the time to use them to create a connection with your brand and give consumers the information they crave.

Simple packaging is key. Make sure ingredient lists and nutrition panels are easy to find and understand.

Trend #2. Enjoy experiences

Having endured lockdown after lockdown until very recently, consumers are ready to enjoy life again. As the world slowly opens up, people are eager to break out of their confines and embrace new experiences – both in the virtual and real world.

Gamification is on the rise. Digital technology has become a common way for people to find entertainment. That said, after restricted movement, people have a new appreciation for finding enjoyment in everyday things and activities.

Consumers are looking to brands to enable them to escape their everyday worries and stresses. The sentiment of “You only live once” (YOLO) is set to resontae. Take a look at the Superbowl ad for Expedia, where actor Ewan Mcgregor encourages viewers to ditch all the stuff that they’ve bought over the pandemic, and choose to travel instead.

 

Tap into the trend:

Look at new ways for people to experience your brand. Add a bit of fun and playfulness through digital and in-person experiences.

QR codes can help. Add QR codes on packaging and point of sale materials so that consumers can engage with your brand in new ways, like Pepsi did for the Super Bowl in 2021.

As the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show for the tenth year, the brand unveiled a special website, PepsiHalftime.com, with behind-the-scenes videos and an augmented reality (AR) experience on Instagram. QR codes on specially marked cans could be scanned with a smartphone camera to see an AR selfie lens in the photo-sharing app.

You could also add new fun flavours and varieties to your product range that will delight and surprise. Consumers are much more willing to try out new things in 2022.

You could also add new fun flavours and varieties to your product range that will delight and surprise. Consumers are much more willing to try out new things in 2022.

If you’re unsure of how much enjoyment new flavours can bring to consumers, Tim Tam has teamed up with brain mapping experts Neurofeedback Centre to measure brainwave activity before and after eating a Tim Tam Deluxe. They said biting into one of the Tim Tam’s significantly raised the beta waves in the brain, which happens when our minds are vastly engaged or highly aroused.

 

Source: Marketing Dive

Trend #3. Save the planet

When Innova Market Insights (IMI) asks consumers what global issues concern them the most, personal health has always topped the list. But for the first time ever, in 2021, respondents put the health of the planet above their own.

Sustainability is more influential on purchasing behaviour than ever. Consumers are looking for brands who make steps towards carbon reduction, sustainable packaging, food waste reduction, and the circular economy.

But this trend goes further than words and promises – consumers want to see action and measurable progress against their goals. The challenge for brands is how to take action in a way that matters to consumers, and communicate what they are doing.

For example, Australian-based Young Henry’s Brewery is taking action by partnering with the University of Sydney’s climate change scientists to use micro-algae to capture the carbon dioxide emitted from fermenting beer and turn it into oxygen. Consumers can see that the process of fermentation is contributing to carbon emission, which helps them build trust in the brand.

On a larger scale, chocolate and confectionery company Ferrero has announced its commitment to address deforestation, child labour, and sustainable livelihoods in its Cocoa Charter and Cocoa Action Plan. Importantly, each year the company will publish a report on the progress made against the plan.

 

Tap into the trend:

Show customers what you are doing around sustainability, and why. Consumers expect tangible benefits from claims that brands make, so include these on your products. For example, use on-pack recycling labels.

Brands need to ensure that sustainable practices are not just an after-thought, but they are a pillar of their business model and long-term strategies. Be transparent about your weaknesses and show customers what you are planning to do about it. For example, if you don’t yet have plastic-free packaging, show how you plan to change that and by when.

For example, Unilever is trialling “reuse” models in a bid to halve the use of single-use plastics by 2025 and bring about a refill-reuse revolution. This means rethinking the ways consumers shop and use their products. Products from brands including Rexona, Persil and Alberto Balsam are being offered to consumers in reusable packaging, whereas detergents and cleaners from OMO and Cif are now available in concentrated solutions that aim to cut-down unnecessary waste.

Look at innovative ways to reach your goals – for example, investing in technology can help you achieve sustainability goals, and there are ways 2D codes can help avoid food waste.

Final Word: Know Your Customers

Who are your customers? If you thought you knew them before the pandemic, it’s worth revisiting your strategy to see how they have changed, and what’s important to them in a post-pandemic world.

The EY Future Consumer Index, which has conducted five waves of research with 14,500 individuals in 20 countries since the start of the pandemic, has identified five different groups of consumers.

  1. Affordability first (32%): Live within their means and budget, focus less on brands and more on product functionality.
  2. Health first (25%): Protect their health and that of their family, choose products they trust to be safe and minimise risks in the way that they shop.
  3. Planet first (16%): Try to minimise their impact on environment and buy brands that reflect their beliefs.
  4. Society first (15%): Work together for the greater good, buy from organisations they trust to be honest and transparent.
  5. Experience first (12%): Live in the moment to make the most of life, often more open to new products, brands, and experiences.

To survive and thrive in Covid normal, you need to engage with your customers, understand their shifting preferences and behaviours, and know what really matters to them. That’s how you can really create products and experiences they will love.

Looking for more trends and insights for 2022? Read our experts’ 2022 Predictions for Australian manufacturers and suppliers.