What consumers want in 2022 Show me

The days of body shaming people into the gym on January 1st are history – consumers are now looking within to plan ahead.

And they want marketers to see them for who they are as a whole, not just in relation to their brand.

Take it from Think With Google: “People are not defined by a single characteristic. They are more likely to connect with your brand if they see themselves reflected in a nuanced way. 

“Not the assumption of their identity, but their concrete and nuanced experiences and perspectives.”

Clearly, the same-old same-old isn’t gonna cut it in 2022, but all is not lost. Using some of the most gripping findings from our Connecting the dots report, here’s what consumers want you to know.

They want a purpose – and rewards.

This past year, U.S. consumers have felt bolder, more adventurous, and empowered.

That might explain why 74% of job hunters are satisfied with their current role.

Professionals don’t necessarily quit because of an issue in the workplace – it can simply be because they crave something new. Security, stability, and progression might have been enough of a carrot to keep people onboard before the pandemic, but things are changing fast.

This new, adventurous proclivity may stretch into their spending habits too.

There’s been a 55% increase in U.S. consumers feeling optimistic about their personal finances. 

Our Zeitgeist research paints a similar picture. Treating oneself is one of the top three things that have become more important to consumers in the past year.

The big lesson: Consumers aren’t interested in sticking with the status quo. They want brands to offer them something new and exciting – and they’re willing to pay for it.

They want to look after themselves.

In the wake of a global pandemic, health has become a bigger priority than ever. 

Two-thirds of consumers are more conscious about looking after their physical and mental health than before the pandemic.

In a nutshell, their thinking has shifted from “What do I do when I get sick?” to “How can I prevent illness and stay healthy?”

To this end, 48% are doing more regular exercise and eating healthier, and 41% are getting more sleep. 

But it doesn’t stop with physical health. Mental health has come into the forefront of consumers’ focus, and the stigma that used to be prevalent is getting less and less relevant.

And these past two years certainly haven’t helped matters.

Chart showing the medical conditions on the rise in the U.S.

44% say their stress / anxiety levels have gotten worse because of the pandemic.

The big lesson: Don’t underestimate the power of relating to your consumers. By not shying away from mental and physical wellbeing, your brand offers a more human touch. If your target audience has their mind on physical and/or mental health, focusing your efforts in this direction means consumers will recognize a part of themselves that may not always be acknowledged by brands.

They want everyone to be represented.

19% of consumers think beauty standards are changing for the better.

This encouraging finding is marked by a growing interest in skincare over makeup –  the two are now as important as each other to consumers.

Chart showing the rate of male consumers being interested in beauty

Beauty and cosmetics is also the fastest-growing interest among male consumers, having grown by 21% since 2018.

But there’s a less encouraging side to this trend.

Just 1 in 5 of beauty product buyers say they feel represented in the advertising they see, falling to as low as 15% among LGBTIQA+ consumers in this group.

So while beauty and skincare are clearly of great importance to people, they’re not seeing enough examples of their own identity from the brands behind the products.

The big lesson: Great campaigns speak to everyone in your target audience. Win your consumers over with tailor-made products and campaigns that highlight (and celebrate) everyone’s individuality. How to do it? Easy. Make sure your research is detailed and inclusive enough to show those crucial facets of your audience.

They want realness.

Since 2020, social media users are dropping filters in some parts of the world. As a whole, American Gen Zs aren’t as interested in influencers and the whole celebrity news thing as much they used to.

So why this sudden, slightly surprising change?

Because consumers are craving realness from influencers and brands.

Around a third of consumers are more willing to trust people if they know about their difficulties.

The shiny veneer of untouchable influencers and retouched-to-zero-pores models of yore are no longer the view consumers want when they peruse social media. Instead, they want to see real people with real problems, and brands that try to make a difference.

The big lesson: When choosing influencers, to partner with, go for those your audience will actually relate to. Consumers want to see influencers that reflect themselves and their problems, not people with unattainable looks and lifestyles. And the same goes for any social causes you’re supporting; keep them transparent, keep them going.

Heading into another year like no other

As we begin yet another year in the midst of a global pandemic, brands can’t afford to sit back and rely on the strategies they used to.

The good news is that there’s no reason whatsoever to guess at what might vibe with your target audience.

Consumers are telling you exactly what they want. Are you listening?

Report The biggest 2022 trends View now

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