10 Consumer Trends that will shape your marketing into 2022 After navigating an 18-month pandemic, it’s not surprising that consumer behaviour has changed. Fortunately, change is something that most marketers are well experienced in. From changing audiences and buying behaviour, to changing algorithms and the latest technologies. Keeping up to date with trends is essential to ensure that marketers are on top of the changes they need to make. Particularly when it comes to 2022. As the economy will be gaining momentum, consumers are looking to get back to normality, and some marketers may even find they have more budget to spend. To help brands and businesses prepare for the year ahead, here are our top 10 consumer trends that will shape marketing into 2022. For marketers, better starts here. Online shopping will continue to dominate We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again, eCommerce is booming right now. And the opportunities have never been bigger. With online sales predicted to reach an enormous $4.2 trillion by the end of 2021. Specifically, in the UK, 68% of Brits state they are more likely to shop online compared to before the pandemic. And that’s not surprising. Lockdown has introduced many to the ease and comfort that online shopping can offer. This is further reinforced by efforts made to improve the speed and efficiency of delivery times. It goes without saying that brands need to focus on their online offering. Making their websites and the online purchasing journey as user-friendly as possible. And ensuring customers are being communicated with throughout every step of the process. Consumers will buy direct from brands Since the pandemic, 20% of consumers aged 18-40 years prefer to buy directly from a brand’s website, as opposed to a marketplace or third-party retailer. But, why is this? Consumers are demanding more from their purchasing experience. To achieve this, brands are taking more control. Bypassing third parties and resellers, managing the entire experience in-house from the very beginning, and becoming a DTC (Direct To Consumer) brand. This is a significant shift from traditional B2C models which have been prevalent for generations. When brands were more focused on getting their products featured in the most popular outlets. Now, the savviest brands know that consumers want more than a product from their purchases. They want to feel a connection with a brand and its community. And to enjoy the entire experience of purchasing, as opposed to just bagging the best price. Gen Z will have more influence Over time, audiences change. Consumers grow older, and new generations hold more buying power. Gen Z are the latest audience that everyone is talking about. Born in the mid ’90s to early ’00s, it’s reported that Gen Z already have spending power of $143 billion and account for 40% of all consumers. They present an enormous opportunity for marketers, but only for those who are willing to incorporate Gen Z into their strategy, and target them effectively. Because Gen Z are more demanding than any previous generation. They expect a seamless, personalised buying journey that is more about the experience than the sale. But worry not, help is at hand. In fact, we’re so fascinated by Gen Z that we’ve written an entire blog post just about them. (To learn more about how to succeed at generational marketing click here.) Education will be more valued The average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. The result is that many consumers are now wise to traditional, hard-sell tactics. This is becoming increasingly true for the youngest generations, Millennials and Gen Z, who are looking for more from the brands they buy from. To remedy this, brands are focusing on educating their audience, instead of selling to them. Brands should aim to educate the audience on how their offering can help solve their challenges. Support them in getting the most from their products. And encourage them to grow with the brand. For some, this may be a change in tactic. Instead of focusing on discounts and numbers, they should focus on building a helpful, ongoing relationship. And education should be peppered throughout all marketing activities. Including how-to guides, insightful reports, nurturing emails, and the general messaging of a brand. Storytelling is now king Part of effectively educating an audience is telling a story. Storytelling is how consumers relate to the message a brand is communicating. How they understand the benefits of a product. And how they buy into a brand. Key to storytelling is showcasing how your product solved a specific problem. So, instead of just writing clever copy and powerful messaging, focus on real-life examples of the benefits your product brings Case studies and testimonials are a great starting point in storytelling. But as you advance, consider using video, influencers, and user-generated content to communicate your message. While storytelling isn’t necessarily the one element that will get a consumer to become a customer, it gradually reinforces your message and builds trust in your brand. Encouraging consumers to the final purchase point. Processes will need to be streamlined Automation is hardly new in the marketing world. However, it is constantly growing in importance. Post-pandemic, many brands found their marketing teams and budgets slashed. But that didn’t mean that they could take their foot off the gas. If anything, marketing departments have had to work harder during a difficult economy and a fluctuating customer base. Marketing automation can help these teams do more, with less. It enables marketers to streamline their processes, including email communication, website updates, social media posts, and live pricing updates. All of these automations can run in the background with little manual intervention. Giving marketers the time and space to focus on much-needed strategising. And as time goes on, automation becomes more sophisticated. Marketers no longer have to rely on simple triggered communications (although they are incredibly useful). Today, marketers can use automation alongside demographic, purchase, and behavioural data to automate perfectly timed campaigns, communications, and updates throughout the customer journey. This could include replenishment campaigns, recommended products, and automated social feeds. To name just a few ideas. Personalisation continues to dominate When combined, data and automation can also enable marketers to create highly personalised experiences for their consumers. Because nowadays, 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalisation tactics. And with the next generation of purchasers demanding experiences over a hard sell, marketers are going to have to up their personalisation game. Fortunately, with the right data and automation platform, personalisation can be achievable. And we’re talking about more than just a simple first name. Modern personalisation is about sending the right message, at the right time, to the right recipient, via the right channel. Marketers can be so sophisticated that every message, image, product, and promotion shown to a single recipient can be personalised to them. Sustainability is a hot topic 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the fact our resources are limited. They are focusing more and more on our environment, and sustainability is key to this. And that’s not surprising, as key eCommerce industries, such as fashion, contribute to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, eCommerce brands are adopting sustainable practices throughout their businesses. Whether that be by supporting charities, using sustainability materials, or opting for a more sustainable supply chain. And today, those brands that don’t focus on sustainability are being increasingly called out by consumers on social media. Many of which will happily purchase elsewhere, with brands that are more in tune with their consumer values. Online events will grow in popularity The events industry was one of the worst hit by the pandemic. And with many consumers still hesitant to attend busy events, many brands are having to look at alternatives to build their businesses back up. Online events and live streaming, such as festivals, exhibitions, trade shows, product launches, and virtual tours ensure that brands can make the most of the engagement benefits of events, without excluding audience members, or taking the risk of people not attending. This also opens up opportunities for brands to engage with consumers who wouldn’t ordinarily come to offline events, whether that be due to location, costs, or availability. Another benefit of holding online events is the data a brand can capture on their audience. This can then be utilised for communications, profile building, and personalisation. Further building upon the relationship. Augmented and Virtual Reality will bridge gaps Online shopping has countless benefits for consumers. But one drawback is that there is a gap between the consumer viewing a product online, and what it looks like in real life. This can lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction, and an increase in returns. With returns estimated to cost UK businesses £5.6 billion by 2023. To tackle this challenge, brands are turning to Augmented and Virtual Reality. Augmented Reality (AR) allows brands to place graphics on real-life objects so consumers can see what they would look like in real life. For instance, a consumer could upload a photo of their face and try on different glasses, virtually. Virtual Reality (VR), on the other hand, gives consumers a 360-degree view of a product, so they can view it at all angles, and get a much better feel for the item. In a nutshell, AR allows consumers to gauge an accurate idea of whether the product will suit them, and VR will offer a virtual tour of what it looks like. Looking to get ahead in 2022? If you want your marketing to be ahead of the competition in 2022, then we can help. We offer an all-in-one AI email and web marketing platform alongside a Customer Success Team whose sole mission is to get you better results. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.