Over the past few years, society has changed in many ways. What we once deemed unrealistic has indeed become our new reality. For example, before 2019 many companies would not have entertained the idea of employees working from home or conducting business dealings over Zoom, but now home offices and virtual meetings are the new normal. Or how about masks? Before 2019, when you went out in public you were hard-pressed to find someone wearing a mask to prevent the spread of illness. Now, masks are commonplace. In much the same way, 2022 is sure to bring about life-altering changes.
For instance, many experts are predicting that we will see a shift towards frugality as consumers become more aware of their spending behaviors. Market research from Euromonitor International forecasts consumers will alter their spending in subtle ways, such as looking for alternatives instead of relying on traditional methods. Here’s how researchers believe the trends will manifest themselves–
Trends on the Move in 2022
1.) Supply-chain Workarounds
Product shortages and disruptions have touched all our lives. As a result, consumers are starting to rely on subscription services or secondhand providers. With this in mind, businesses will need to evolve as well. Some companies are adapting by offering virtue queue systems as a means to ensure shoppers find a place in line or by providing refurbished items in order to maintain customer loyalty.
A major industry that is facing huge changes is shipping and transportation. As a cook for a local restaurant and former Boar’s Head delivery driver, I have insider information on how restaurant owners are working around supply-chain issues. The primary mode is self-reliance. Many restaurants are struggling to get their products on time. Besides that, they are struggling to receive the correct amount of certain items. This, of course, is due to shortages in not only products but also the workforce. Warehouses and shipping companies are unable to keep up with the demand, which has led restaurant owners to turn elsewhere. Many have had to turn to grocery stores. If the shortages persist, shipping companies and distributors may see a decline in business while big stores like Sam’s Club or Costco will experience an increase in business. Some restaurant owners may even choose not to return to their shipping supplier since many are much happier with the lower prices and better quality products found at their local store.
2.) Climate Change at the Forefront
Climate change has made many consumers think twice about their actions. For example, people are starting to cut back on their food waste and plastic use. In fact, studies have found that 67% of consumers strive to make decisions that have a beneficial impact on the environment. As 2022 edges along, keep an eye on climate change and sustainability as they are sure to affect consumer habits.
3.) Senior Citizens Optimize Their Digital Lives
In today’s world, senior citizens have been forced to become technologically savvy. Though they may have rejected digital technology before 2019, studies suggest that in 2022 senior citizens are not only continuing but ramping up their digital use. As a result, companies are having to make changes. This may take the form of training, online support, manufacturing easy-to-use products, developing an app, or generating an online presence in the form of a website.
4.) Taking Control of Finances
The last few years have caused many people to become more aware of their finances. More people are making a conscious effort to save and invest. This being said, companies may want to offer lower fees for products and services, educate consumers about products and services, and make their products and services more accessible.
5.) Prioritizing Personal Goals & Values
In a 2021 study, experts found 34% of people preferred to spend money on an experience rather than a product. This means many companies are going to have to become flexible to what consumers want. For example, as more people focus on their physical, mental, and emotional health, companies are going to have to provide more products and services that align with their consumers’ health and wellness journey.
6.) Offline to Online
While many were forced to conduct their lives online during the onslaught of the pandemic, many are now changing their behavior to engage with the digital world. This means companies are inevitably going to have to meet their consumers where they are–online. The old saying holds true, “Fish where the fish are.” No company can afford not to consider a digital footprint.
7.) Secondhand Loses its Stigma
Buying items secondhand is no longer stigmatized. In fact, it has become a sought-after option for consumers who desire unique items or are shopping on a budget. Giftcards and buyback programs are winning consumers over. This means companies need to consider trade-ins, vouchers, or in-store repairs in order to better meet consumer needs.
8.) Urban to Suburban
Many city dwellers are now seeking the perks of suburban life, such as access to green spaces. Others are searching for more services closer to home. This means companies need to bring their products and services closer to their buyers so the consumers don’t have to travel as far. Accessibility and convenience is the name of the game.
9.) Indulgence in Self-Care and Wellness
People want and expect to be happier in the upcoming years. That’s why they are buying products and services that help their mind and body, such as meditation courses, yoga classes, and chiropractic appointments. As a result, companies will need to adopt a health-centered mindset while conducting business.
10.) Hybrid Approaches to Socialization
As of now, our world is fragmented between those who want life to go back to normal so they can engage in social activities and those who want to remain cautious. This means companies are will need to provide products and services that are multifaceted and seamless to use. By offering digital visits or waiving cancellation fees, companies are positioned to reach both parties.
The Wall Street Journal
Jan. 17, 2022