Marketing strategy

Consumer trends that may impact marketing strategy in 2022

From larger packaging at the retail level to an omnichannel experience for shoppers, here are some marketing trends and strategies for this year.

While everyone is hoping that 2022 will see us overcome COVID and the widespread disruption it has caused, it will continue to have a major impact in some parts of the world. Even in countries where markets are returning to a more normal state, there are clearly defined areas where businesses will feel the need for rapid and significant change – a set of narrowly focused, but deeply transformative, revolutions, if you will.

Long lockdowns have changed consumer mindsets, which means marketers need to quickly understand and adapt to new behaviors. Environmental concerns are higher than ever, with consumers likely to hold brands accountable for their claims.

The nature, scope, and preferred channels for transactions and entertainment have changed, and longstanding concerns about the effectiveness of digital measurement are becoming more urgent.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; there is certainly a silver lining to this new reality.

2022 – the silver lining

WARC conducted an exclusive global survey of marketers in September 2021. A key finding is that industry optimism is high, with around three in four respondents expecting improvements from their business in 2022.

While uncertainties remain, savvy marketers capable of initiating transformative change in critical areas can benefit from emerging opportunities. In several countries, consumers are coming out of confinement.

However, even in these supposedly “back to normal” markets, consumers are not behaving quite the same way as before the pandemic. In some important respects, consumer interests, buying behaviors and preferences have changed significantly, presenting savvy businesses with new opportunities in 2022.

There are several areas marketers can look into in this regard.

Impact on marketing strategies – four key trends

Although it will take years to determine the true impact of the pandemic, early analyzes indicate that these discernible shifts in attitudes and behaviors can be categorized into four main trends. Each will impact marketing strategies during 2022.

Forced to stay indoors for months, consumers have become more connected to their homes. They are moving away from cities, in some cases investing in home improvements and cooking more meals at home, with Google seeing searches for ideas on home design, kitchens and bathrooms increase strongly. But they’re not just looking inward – which brings us to the next point.

The severe implications of the pandemic have shifted consumer mindsets more towards social issues. In Brazil, social initiatives by retailer Magazine Luiza and cosmetics brand Natura & Co. led to an immediate increase in Google searches, Instagram followers and stock prices.

A dramatically increased focus on medical issues has led consumers to be more oriented towards both physical health and mental well-being. A GWI research found that 31% of consumers are concerned about their mental health after the shutdowns.

Lockdowns have dramatically accelerated the transition to e-commerce, also complicating customer journeys. Mastercard estimates that e-commerce accounted for about $1 in every $5 spent on retail in 2020, up from $1 in every $7 in 2019. Facebook found that four in 10 consumers bought things online that they had the habit of buying in store, previously.

Companies that understand the ramifications of these changes for their brands can develop effective strategies to take advantage of any resulting market disruption.

Some indicators stand out.

Marketing strategies for brands – key indicators 2022

Drop frequency: Even now, consumers are going out much less than before. A study by Kantar found that consumers shop less often, but buy more per trip.

This also seems true for other activities, such as dating and going out spontaneously. Brands should consider larger product units and adjust their packaging to accommodate this reduced purchase frequency.

Stay local: A third of consumers, who have returned to work, are spending more in their region than before the closures. Brands should explore the possibility of a more distributed presence in local shopping streets and suburbs, depending on their category.

Multi-channel journey: E-commerce adoption has grown exponentially over the past two years, which is already having a profound impact on marketing strategies. McKinsey found that 33% of Indian adults, 26% of American adults, and 16% of French and Spanish adults liked shopping online and picking up in store. Gen Z, in particular, likes to combine digital and in-store experiences.

Brand owners see accelerating digital transformation to reach customers across all channels (69%), rethinking the mix of channels for communicating with consumers (66%), and reviewing brand communication and positioning to respond to the new mindsets of post-COVID consumers (58%). the main challenges after COVID.

Focusing on digital channels (61%) was the most likely response to COVID, while improving the customer experience (54%) ranked as the most important digital transformation priority .

Consumers are now switching between digital and in-store channels at all stages of the buying process. Brands should design support for a variety of customer journeys across channels, creating a customer experience that provides flexible yet consistent support for a wide range of digital skills and mindsets.

In summary, a good interaction between offline or retail presence and an online, i.e. digital, presence will be the win-win strategy for brands that want to achieve success in the market in the days to to come.

The author is managing partner, Drinkwater Design Stuido