Mintel announced three trends set to impact global consumer markets in 2022. From technology that predicts the success of potential romances to brands tackling COVID-19 “survivor’s guilt” and eco-anxiety, this year’s trends include:
- In Control: In times of uncertainty, consumers crave a sense of control over their lives. Brands can deliver the information and options that consumers need to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat.
- Enjoyment Everywhere: Having endured lockdown, consumers are eager to break out of their confines and explore, play and embrace novel experiences, both virtually and in the ‘real’, physical world.
- Ethics Check: While many brands have made their voices heard on controversial topics, consumers want to see measurable progress against their goals.
“In 2019, we took a bold, new approach to predict the future of global consumer markets and expanded our outlook to 10 years,” said Simon Moriarity, director of Mintel Trends. “Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trends — known as the seven Mintel Trend Drivers — were developed as a living, growing prediction model that will adapt to the unforeseen. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, impacting nearly every industry worldwide, our consumer expertise and prediction model meant we were well placed to analyze how it would impact markets. Not only did our 2030 predictions hold true, but the pandemic accelerated many of the shifts we foresaw.”
According to Moriarity, feelings of precariousness and financial insecurity both created, and exaggerated, by the pandemic mean that consumers are looking for a sense of control over every aspect of their lives. But misinformation is making it harder to carry out the necessary research to make informed decisions.
“Consumers need clarity, transparency, flexibility and options,” he said, “to make decisions that suit their individual changing needs and circumstances.”
Brands will need to work harder to deliver reliable information and balance censorship and authenticity, Moriarity said. The race for the fastest delivery will evolve to focus on being more flexible, giving consumers more control over when products arrive to fit around their schedules or to match their other specific needs.
“Consumers’ desire to know potential outcomes will manifest in the development of predictive technologies that can anticipate adverse events,” said Moriarity. “From diseases to likely death dates to relationship outcomes using compatibility profiles, technology will evolve to grant consumers the power to plan with peace of mind.”
“Consumers are seeking sources of joy as the continuing pandemic and other local and global crises have caused them anxiety and stress,” Moriarity explained. “Many may be feeling a kind of “survivor’s guilt” and, as a result, brands are recognizing the importance of uplifting people by giving them permission to feel happiness once again.”
While the stress caused by the pandemic may no longer be central to consumer needs for fun and escapism, they will continue to seek enjoyment and playfulness, according to Moriarity. “As brand interactions through campaigns, apps and transactions take on more and more gamified elements in response to consumer interest, expect to also see pushback against it and the instant gratification it offers,” he said. “This tendency will rise from consumers taking a more mindful approach to pleasure and enjoyment.”
Consumer demand for, and expectations of, brands’ ethical commitments are evolving. They have moved beyond simply wanting brands to “be ethical” and are demanding to see measurable, transparent and consistent actions from those they choose to support. Consumers will look beyond a brand’s achievements and strengths; businesses will need to be transparent about their weaknesses, too, where and why they fail and how they plan to address these issues in future.
“All the transparency in the world doesn’t necessarily help consumers to understand the impact of a brand, which is why it’s key to use metrics that accurately reflect the problems brands are trying to solve,” Moriarity explained. “If a company isn’t properly measuring what they aim to fix or change, it’s difficult to determine whether progress is being made, let alone communicate that progress in a way that consumers will understand