Top 10 trends for global consumers in 2022
Consumers have gone through some trying times and behaviors have adapted to them. The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) hosted a webinar featuring Alison Angus, Head of Lifestyles research for Euromonitor International, and detailed the top 10 trends associated with these consumers around the world.
Angus delivered the trends in a webinar for the IFPA, and focused on what each one means for produce companies. We summarized her findings in this article. One key concept found through all the trends: consumers are making changes they made in their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic permanent.
The great life refresh
People have made vast changes in their personal lives. This could mean moving home with family, new hobbies, changes related to health, new jobs, new careers (i.e. the great resignation).
For some, these changes have been small, for others it's meant a totally fresh look at their goals in life. People are not thinking about making changes, but rather acting on their plans.
“This is really influencing their purchase decisions”, Angus said. Companies marketing to consumers should support the upheaval they have been through, and the changes made as a result.
The socialization paradox
The return to pre-pandemic life is divided, and that comes out in many different ways. Some are dying to get out and socialize, while others are more hesitant. This is a tough one for the food business, because their target audience could be on either end of the spectrum.
“Companies need to consider how to cater to consumers at both ends of the extremes. Investing in digital solutions that sit beside traditional in person solutions,” Angus said.
This has changed how people socialize, and what social occasions they choose to celebrate. Influencing choices for food, hospitality service, and requiring a pivot for retailers.
Suppliers need to support these retailers in creating a strong customer experience wherever the consumer sits on that end of the spectrum.
Individuality and authenticity is driving happiness, and this means that people are looking for products with claims of physical change, immunity balance, nutrition, therapeutic detox and mental well being.
Moreover, according to Angus, “Businesses need to think it is about self indulgence, it’s about tastes, about personal holistic wellness”.
However she did note that as the pandemic has shifted, the focus on immunity is slowing, so companies must replace that message with a longer term emotional and wellness focus.
People are faced with the rise of issues, especially due to inflation and rising costs. Two extreme behaviors are behind the trend.
There are those looking for more cost effective alternatives to the usual products. Then there are those more affluent who are looking to pay a premium price to get what they want.
This means that there are far more consumers enrolling in subscription plans to get supply or going directly to manufacturers or producers to get what they want.
“We are seeing more subscription services in the food industry, and it's huge in the pet industry,” Angus said.
Businesses need to think about price position, how to maintain continuous supply, and ensuring supplies to B2B clients. For businesses it’s about investing in technology, local sourcing and securing supply.
The elderly are a wealthy and expanding audience more comfortable with technology and using it in their lives. More 60+ people are using digital technology but still need tech support.
“Companies must simplify their digital solutions for this audience, digital solutions must be frictionless,” Angus said.
Consumers are tracking their money and better at managing. Investing more, using stocks and cryptocurrency, more people are confident their investments will rise in value.
Financial literacy is also increasing, even in rural or lower income communities that did not have access to financial products through banks are finding products which appeal to them. There are also more educational resources for consumers from financial institutions.
“More money management apps and simple to use financial products allow individuals to make better decisions and manage their money,” Angus said.
Businesses must think about more affordable products, especially for more indulgent products, and how this fits into their financial planning.
Pursuit of preloved
Consumers want to live sustainability and this is driving their pursuit of pre-loved goods (also known as used), or pursuing renting or swapping.
“Prelove has lost its low rent reputation in developing economies, with consumers taking stock and determining what they need and what they're willing to spend on,” Angus said.
Businesses are setting up reusable packaging initiatives, no waste initiatives, buy back initiatives.
Food waste is a critical area in this, and repurposing food waste is an area where food brands can target which fits into this trend.
According to Euromonitor, a recent poll of consumers found that 65% worried about climate change, 67% tried to have a positive impact on the environment, 5% feel they can make a difference to the world through their choices and actions
“Walking the walk, really taking action and trying to choose how to change their behavior,” Angus said.
Consumers want these products that speak to sustainability, some are willing to pay a premium but for many it's not achievable.
Businesses can help with being more transparent. Invest in digital product labeling. The product narrative is just as important, even as important as the product itself.
“Are you telling the story of your social and environmental activities?” Angus asked.
The desire for better air quality, for more green living, and more flexible work options has people reconsidering where they work from. 37% of consumers expect to work remotely with more companies taking up these options as permanent solutions.
For businesses, this means an opportunity to reach consumers in suburbs and rural communities.
But not all rural urbanites want to leave the city, which means bringing the rural lifestyle into the urban lifestyle.
“It's all about creating new opportunities for businesses, there is a need for more localized brick and mortar outlets and services, but also thinking how to support consumers in cities as well, more green spaces, indoor farming, rooftop gardens, more shops, restaurants and establishments in the local community. Within a 15 minute walk,” Angus said.
The metaverse movement
This trend refers to the simulated 3D digital ecosystems of the future. Consumers embracing immersive digital worlds for socializing and experiencing things.
For young people lots of time on video sharing live streaming platforms, Tiktok, Twitch, Youtube or gaming platforms like Minecraft or Fortnight.
This affects not just young people, as they are also sharing with the other generations, wanting gift cards or purchasing on these platforms.
“Big brands are prioritizing channels for marketing for sales, and more brands will jump in, to engage with consumers in these spaces. It doesn't matter what your business is, you must be thinking about it in the future,” Angus said.
The bottom line: embrace change and invest.
This means a digitization of the customer experience, building sustainable solutions and bringing an all around great customer experience to the supply chain, Angus concluded.