Brands must resonate with consumers and adhere to their values

The new year may be the time when individuals make resolutions, but it is also the ‘season’ when a plethora of predicted trends for the year are revealed. Earlier this month I discussed key sustainability trends that Fairtrade America believes will impact brands as a result of consumer behaviour. Now, Euromonitor International has revealed its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2022.

The London-based global market intelligence firm’s annual report defines the trends motivating consumer behaviour and challenging business strategies in the year ahead. While not specific to coffee and tea businesses, many of these trends will most assuredly affect both industries in some way. Euromonitor’s Top Ten Global Consumer Trends are:

  • Backup Planners: Consumers find creative solutions to purchase their go-to products or search for next best options as supply chain disruptions cause massive shortages.
  • Climate Changers: Eco-anxiety and the climate emergency drive environmental activism for a net-zero economy. In 2021, 35% of global consumers actively reduced their carbon emissions.
  • Digital Seniors: Older consumers become savvier tech users. Virtual solutions must be tailored to the needs of this expanded online audience.
  • Financial Aficionados: Democratised money management empowers consumers to strengthen financial literacy and security. More than half of global consumers believe they will be better off financially in the next five years.
  • The Great Life Refresh: Consumers focus on personal growth and wellbeing, making drastic life changes that reflect their values, passions and purpose.
  • The Metaverse Movement: Immersive, 3D digital ecosystems begin to transform social connections. Global sales of AR/VR (artificial reality/virtual reality) headsets grew 56% from 2017 to 2021, reaching USD $2.6 billion last year.
  • Pursuit of Preloved: Secondhand shopping and peer-to-peer marketplaces flourish as consumers seek unique, affordable and sustainable items.
  • Rural Urbanites: Consumers relocate to safer, cleaner and greener neighbourhoods.
  • Self-Love Seekers: Authenticity, acceptance and inclusion are at the forefront of lifestyle choices and spending habits as consumers embrace their truest selves.
  • The Socialisation Paradox: Fluctuating comfort levels create a conflicting return to pre-pandemic life. In 2021, 76% of global consumers took health and safety precautions when leaving home.

I will not delve into detail in terms of all the trends, but I will highlight a few that will, in my opinion, directly, impact coffee and tea brands/businesses.

Euromonitor’s report finds that 36% of professionals expect supply shortages to be the most significant effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on their company’s supply chain. Supply chain shortages are forcing businesses to pivot and provide new solutions for customers to access products and services. If they cannot find their favourite brands or products, ‘Backup Planners’ will look for ways to purchase similar items or find creative solutions to obtain alternatives.

By late 2022, supply chains should start to stabilise and access to products should revert to pre-Covid-19 levels (many are projecting this will not happen before the third quarter). Yet, per Euromonitor, new shopping habits will dictate how Backup Planners discover and select products, from locally sourced to direct-to-consumer brands to subscription services. Localisation and optimisation will become the norm. Companies and distributors should use data to improve supply chain visibility, hone operations and rethink investments.

‘Climate Changers’ will affect brands and products across all industries. Green activism and low-carbon lifestyles are here to stay. Consumers expect brands to step up and are taking action through the products they purchase as concerns over the climate emergency escalate. The report reveals that:

  • 28% of consumers tried to purchase locally sourced products and services in 2021;
  • 67% of consumers tried to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions in 2021;
  • 78% of professionals think that climate change will impact consumer demand, changing behaviours, needs and prefer

To win over Climate Changers, companies should offer products that are carbon footprint certified. Transparent labelling of carbon-neutral products builds trust and enables consumers to make informed choices. Furthermore, digital innovation is reshaping how retailers, manufacturers and consumers transition to a new era of environmental transparency.

According to Euromonitor, tech tools, such as digital product labelling and mobile tracking apps, help consumers trace ethical claims, their carbon footprint and recycling habits on their phones. Millennials and Generation Z, especially, feel they can make a difference through their choices (see “Recognising the Power and Potential of Generation Z” in T&CTJ’s January issue). This largest spending group of the future will use tools to ensure minimal climate impact. The more offerings that align with expectations of Climate Changers, the more brands will see their products and services resonate.

The pandemic triggered consumers to make ‘The Great Life Refresh’, with passion and purpose driving action, which has resulted in drastic personal changes and a collective reboot of values, lifestyles and goals. (The Covid period – between 2020 and 2021 thus far – has also been called ‘The Great Resignation’ as scores of people have quit their jobs in search of new ones that they are passionate about, provide more happiness or better meet their new life needs and/or values.)

Businesses should innovate goods, services and experiences that respond to this moment, coupled with marketing that acknowledges and embraces the upheaval. Euromonitor explains that companies catering to The Great Life Refresh stand to be seen as partners, helping consumers adapt to a new way of life. Businesses should tailor marketing to acknowledge and support consumers’ decisions to take action. Consumers will prefer brands that match the moment. Companies need to offer policies and products that provide value and support personal growth to drive loyalty.

Individuality, authenticity, acceptance, self-care and inclusion are at the forefront of consumer lifestyles. ‘Self-Love Seekers’ prioritise their happiness, feeling comfortable in their own skin and indulging in goods and services that elevate their sense of self. Much like targeting Gen Z, to reach these consumers, businesses need to create deep connections with customers.

Products that evoke physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing will resonate and enhance the lives of Self-Love Seekers. Furthermore, per the report, Self-Love Seekers purchase products and services that align with their motivations and identities, which should stay at the core of business strategies.

“Businesses need to transform alongside rapidly evolving consumer preferences,” said Alison Angus, head of lifestyles at Euromonitor International, in the report. “Reverting to a pre-pandemic playbook will not likely generate the same results moving forward.”

To download Euromonitor International’s entire report, click here.

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