What Current Consumer Trends mean for Brands
Despite our individual differences, humanity as a whole shares many characteristics, especially when speaking about consumers. While styles or tastes may vary, what attracts and keeps a customer boils down to savvy marketing and trustworthy business practices.
It is our obligation as communication designers and marketers to understand what has changed about consumer behaviour as a result of the pandemic, predict consumer trends and deliver effective communications solutions for our clients. As the world gets back on its feet and clears away the COVID cobwebs, being ahead of the curve and anticipating what will happen next will help you stay a step ahead of the pack.
Mintel is one of the world’s leading market intelligence agencies and they routinely do surveys and conduct studies on human behaviour and cultural trends. In their study Global Consumer Trends 2030, they attempt to develop a “living, growing prediction model that will adapt to the unforeseen.” The model names seven trend drivers that provide a roadmap for predicting consumer behavior and identifying how the future could shape those trends.
Mintel’s most recent Global Consumer Trends survey suggests that not only has consumer behaviour changed but so has human behaviour. Mintel takes into account the changes that have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic like shifts in consumer thinking and responses from brands and attempts to encapsulate the better future that consumers aspire to, and toward which brands can build their own visions. As experts in all things paper, Domtar is here to share how communication designers and marketers can examine the seven trends and use them to their advantage.
Health, both mental and physical, is at the forefront and deserves its place at the top of the list. Mintel says “As brands aim to set a new tone and new structures, an opportunity exists to return to a mindset where being active and taking mental breaks feels more like a curious adventure and playtime rather than hard work.”
Screen or digital fatigue is one of the most prevalent causes of mental stress at the moment. Zoom calls and streaming TV have been the backbone of society lately and consumers are growing more and more adept at tuning out online noise. Anything that motivates consumers to move away from the screen momentarily has the potential for great success. Consider a paper-based campaign that gradually moves your audience into an online journey.
The world is moving towards equity, diversity, inclusion and sustainability and so are consumers. Mintel's report suggests that consumers today are more drawn to brands that stand up for or represent a cause, and by taking the lead there is an opportunity for brands to grow more organically and widely. It is crucial for designers and marketers to identify the gap and improve upon previous systems for clients.
Consumers (including co-workers and employees) are seeking a return to the essentials, with a focus on flexible possessions redefining the meaning of ownership. Your audience doesn’t just want affordability and convenience, they also need protection and durability of goods.
Consumers are coming together within their communities to connect with and support each other, driven by the impact of the pandemic. Mintel says “A widespread understanding that community and belonging are critical to combat loneliness is pushing many to create like-minded communities themselves, whether in their surrounding areas or online”.
Digital footprints grew exponentially during the pandemic making this the perfect time to implement omnichannel marketing. Direct mail is especially important now. The way we learn, shop and work has drastically changed, plunging us into a life that is saturated with digital interaction. Digital fatigue is real and nothing is more refreshing than receiving PRINTED mail. Use the information you’ve collected from your consumers and send them personalized mail that you know will capture their attention.
Consumers want to support brands that make a positive social impact. COVID-19 has subtly but significantly shifted consumer awareness of our relationship with the spaces we live in, accelerating the demand for sustainability. Mintel reports that “Consumers increasingly appreciate that what is good for the group is also good for the individual. COVID-19 has highlighted how just one person’s actions can have an outsized impact on their immediate environment.” If you’re looking for tips on increasing your sustainable footprint, look no further. Paper is a viable, sustainable option and can have a greater impact than you realize.
Many of the habits that the world learned during the pandemic aren’t going anywhere, but there is a middle ground. “eCommerce and online transactions have the potential to become, and remain, the norm. Thus, brands are encouraged to innovate digital capabilities in anticipation of consumers’ needs and to expertly bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds to offer a more reliable and consistent experience.”
Tech enhances lives, but general wariness is growing as our digital dependence increases. On one hand, consumers enjoy the connectivity that a digital presence brings, but as we learn more about the invasive nature of websites and applications and how they collect our data, many consumers demand more privacy. Digital channels should only be part of the channel mix—paper and print serve as a great base for any integrated marketing campaign.
While it is thorough, the research and expertise shared here are not exhaustive. For more resources on post-pandemic life and the print and paper industry, visit our blog or listen to the Paper Matters Podcast.
As master makers and purveyors of fine uncoated communication and specialty papers, collaboration and discovery in all things paper is the soul of what the Domtar team does. Domtar is proud to play an important role in all the ways paper is part of creating everyday connections. Domtar is the RGD's Paper Partner and DesignThinkers sponsor.