The global consumer trends to look out for in 2022

With new consumer habits developing over the pandemic and e-commerce sales increasing brands need to adapt their business to changing behaviors.

As companies adapt to the transition towards a (hopeful) post-pandemic world in 2022, many will be assessing the last two years of how consumer behavior has changed and how it affects their business in the years to come.  With new consumer habits developing over the pandemic and ecommerce sales increasing at a faster rate than ever before, brands are being forced to adapt their business to changing behaviors.

key ecommerce industries
% of average order value increase in key ecommerce industries between 2020-2021. Source: peekd Benchmarking

What does the 2022 post-pandemic consumer look like? Here are some predictions about what to expect:

The rise of the conscious, sustainable consumer

2021 saw a number of environmental and sustainability pledges from companies, culminating in the COP26 climate summit. Consumer momentum around sustainability has been building steadily over the last decade, with searches for sustainable goods increasing globally by 71% since 2016

2022 will see the more sustainably-focused consumer go mainstream. 60% of consumers now see sustainability as an important purchase criterion with nearly two-thirds of Americans willing to pay more for sustainable products. Brands will have to prove to consumers that they are not greenwashing, such as pledges to use more recycled materials. Consumers want to see active efforts that reduce their carbon footprint.

Some brands are beginning to find innovative solutions in the pursuit of sustainability. Whilst some are taking this opportunity to upgrade their product offerings to put products on the market that have less sugar, no plastic, and organic ingredients. Others are taking a more fundamental approach.

The past couple of years has seen a gradual shift among some of the bigger brands to adopt elements of the circular economy, in which nothing becomes waste. Outlier brands such as Ikea and Unilever are beginning to shift their production and operations to include recycling, rental or resale programmes. It looks like sustainability will become a large focus for companies of all sizes in 2022.

The continued rise of brands adopting direct-to-consumer 

Historically, brands have built their sales and marketing strategies to focus on the most available sales possible for a product, rather than customer retention.

But, in recent years, customer acquisition and retention has grown more important in go-to-market strategies, cutting out the middleman altogether. Most notably, with video streaming services. HBO, NBC Universal and Disney have all set up their own direct to consumer subscription services to compete with the industry behemoth Netflix, whilst reclaiming their products for themselves. 

And, we are beginning to see this direct-to-consumer approach more and more in ecommerce, as we move away from brick and mortar stores. Brands are starting to focus on investing in their own online stores, instead of resellers. 

The direct to consumer approach offers consumers lower prices and companies greater profits. But, it also provides companies with a more holistic view of their consumers that traditional retailers cannot offer, such as products purchased together, offers used and the buyer journey. In effect, it gives companies more control over their whole sales and marketing process. 

rise of brands

The rise of brands, like Peloton in recent years, which utilizes a new business model of hardware and a subscription that can only be bought on their website or in their stores, as well as the runaway success of perhaps the biggest direct-to-consumer brand in the world Ikea, has given brands the confidence to take a risk. 

Brands such as Nike and Birkenstock have stopped selling their products directly through Amazon in recent years. Adidas recently announced that they wanted their direct-to-consumer sales to hit 50% of their revenue by 2025 and even Apple is seeing increased growth, making up 34% of their total business in 2020

The direct-to-consumer model is here to stay and will continue to grow in 2022. 

Consumers crave convenience

Up until relatively recently, the buyer journey was a consumer researching potential products, filtering down until they found the product and price that was best for them, and purchasing the item in a brick and mortar store or online.

But, today consumers have changed how they make their buying decisions. With the rise of convenience afforded to us with social media and our smartphones, brands are able to impact our buying decisions earlier with new ecommerce models. 

Dollar Shave Club

From subscription-first companies, such as the Dollar Shave Club to groceries delivered in a matter of minutes spearheaded by start-ups like Gorillas, the way we purchase has changed significantly over the last few years. 

With voice commerce, live shopping and product personalization growing in prominence, brands need to innovate to keep the attention of consumers and trigger the impulse to buy. 

Expanding payment methods

As more people have shopped online over the pandemic, there has been a change in how we pay for our product spearheaded by the rise of “Buy Now, Pay Later”. The days of single payment methods are over. 

Consumers want a wide range of payment options, whether it is credit card, PayPal, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ options like Klarna or even crypto. Doing so encourages consumers to spend and reduces the possibility of users abandoning the checkout process. Consumers want convenience, such as one-click checkout and more payment options.

more payment options

2022 will see the continued rise of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’, particularly in growing economies like Latin America where the industry is predicted to grow by 92.9% on an annual basis. If brands want to increase their market share, particularly in growing economies, they should offer ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ or partner with new payment providers to keep up with demand. 

The consumer of 2022 expects a more convenient and optimized shopping experience. Understanding the right ecommerce trends will enable brands to adapt to the consumer’s ever-changing demands and product preferences. With so many data sources, it is important to build a single view of consumer behavior.

peekd helps companies gain powerful insights into their shoppers’ behavior and discover which products and brands are driving sales. With the world’s largest source of consumer insights in one place, you’ll be able to update your strategies in real-time across the entire customer journey. 

Juliana is a marketing leader and data intelligence enthusiast with 10 years of experience in e-commerce performance. Having worked as a consultant for a range of consumer goods clients she has a passion for sharing knowledge about how data-informed actions lead to online sales growth.
Juliana is a marketing leader and data intelligence enthusiast with 10 years of experience in e-commerce performance. Having worked as a consultant for a range of consumer goods clients she has a passion for sharing knowledge about how data-informed actions lead to online sales growth.
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