Top 5 Consumer Behavior Trends Marketers Are Watching
In a year when almost nothing can be predicted, consumers are. Over the past few months, despite the changing circumstances, clear trends in consumer behavior have emerged.
Marketers are now looking to emerge from the pandemic with more innovative approaches and flexible business models to acquire more customers.
Delivering what consumers want (spoiler alert, that’s what content marketing is all about) has become the new business battleground.
Let’s take a closer look at the five most noteworthy consumer behavior trends for 2022.
- Consumers want the option to shop online or in person (from the same brand) at any time.
- Temporary convenience options that emerged as a solution to the pandemic may be here forever.
- People are doing more things at home than ever before, and their buying preferences reflect that.
- Better access to more product options makes brand loyalty less secure.
- Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their values and beliefs.
Trend #1: A Hybrid View of Shopping
The pandemic has changed the way people shop, but it’s not as easy as you might think. The future of shopping won’t be as simple as switching to online and brick-and-mortar stores becoming something of nostalgia.
46% of consumers still prefer to shop offline because they can see and feel products, and even those who prefer to shop online say they don’t quite do so.
When Raydiant asked consumers which method they expected to use 12 months from now, in-person shopping made up the majority in almost all cases.
Online and in-person consumer behavior trends
Online shopping existed before the pandemic, and people want to shop in person in the post-pandemic future. What has changed is the way we (collectively consumers) see online versus in-person shopping as different categories for different types of products.
The decision to buy online will not be influenced by the type of product. Instead, it just depends on what consumers want at the time.
Example: People have been buying gadgets from Amazon for years. It’s the kind of stuff people buy online.
But grocery delivery? The service is typically used by a more niche group of consumers, such as seniors or young professionals living in cities without cars. Most people just go to the grocery store. Online grocery delivery orders are now available to the masses.
But that doesn’t mean people will use it exclusively. It is more likely that they will use both options and choose the one that best suits the situation. A quick list of what you need to make a party meal might be ordered for delivery, but you’ll be going to the store every week to peruse the week’s groceries.
In either case, the key is choice. These top forecast retail trends suggest that customers will seek a wide range of retail experiences.
Of course, some consumer groups prefer one way of shopping over another.
For most people, however, behavioral trends appear sometimes online and sometimes in person, depending on many factors including their mood that day.
Trend 2: Desire for Convenience
At a time when business models are upside down due to social distancing precautions, brands have to get creative.
The past year has seen upscale restaurants offering takeout, retailers adding curbside pickup options, and hygiene-oriented measures such as cashless payments and contactless delivery have gained momentum.
Consumers are unlikely to want to give up these conveniences.
As pandemic safety measures ease, brands will need to consider how to resume normal operations, while also offering more convenient options that consumers are now accustomed to and likely continue to demand.
Behavioral Trends: Consumers choose brands that offer a variety of convenient service options.
Trend 3: Home becomes the hub
Home used to be the place people went when they weren’t doing anything else. Now? This is where we can do almost everything.
Home is where we eat and sleep, and where we work. where do we shop? where we exercise. The family has become the center of the most important activity in our lives, and that’s not going away anytime soon.
What we do at home has changed permanently. Accenture found that 46% plan to work remotely more frequently in the future. Sales of expensive home fitness equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes have grown exponentially in 2020 as people work out at home.
Smartphones, tablets, and other devices allow us to talk face-to-face with family and friends from afar. Today, we are fully integrated into this social approach.
Now that consumers have invested in their at-home activities, we’re likely to see them stick around post-pandemic.
Brands whose products can benefit from this trend (such as home office furniture) can take advantage, while brands whose traditional business models rely on customers will have to adapt (such as gyms offering in-person and virtual fitness classes).
Takeaway trends: Consumers will enjoy a return to normalcy, but they will still be doing more from home.
Trend 4: Loyalty is not a given
Building customer loyalty has long been one of the surest ways to drive revenue and sales. But is customer loyalty to the brand slipping?
Radiant 2021 State of Consumer Behavior report found that during the pandemic, 48% of consumers have replaced their usual in-store purchases with online alternatives.
About a quarter of consumers report that they are switching frequency bands more frequently than ever.
These may not be the majority percentages, but they are the ones that matter. Of course, the pandemic situation (i.e. store closures leaving stores unable to open at all) needs to be considered, but it is a hard truth for brands that it doesn’t matter what the original reason behind the brand switch was. What matters is whether customers now prefer the new brand.
Consumers have more choice than ever thanks to a higher-than-ever online presence for brands across all industries and increased conveniences such as faster overall shipping times (even same-day in many cases) and better options.
The resulting behavioral trends? Consumers will try more options, and they will choose their favorite regardless of their previous purchase history.
Brand loyalty is still important and effective, but companies can never take it for granted.
Trend #5: Customers want value – more than one way
Quality products and customer experience aren’t the only places consumers look for value. Consumers today want to buy from brands that align with them.
An Accenture survey of nearly 30,000 consumers worldwide found that the vast majority of consumers consider a company’s values and social stance important.
Consumer behavior trends reveal a preference for authentic brands
This is not an entirely new phenomenon. But now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to the way companies view and address social issues and implement eco-friendly practices – 89% are more likely to buy a brand they believe has a positive impact.
The behavioral trend to watch: Consumers will seek brands that are authentic and transparent to make their buying decisions meaningful.