2022: 4 ways digital consumers are changing

2020 and 2021 will go down in history as life changing. So the big question on every marketer’s lips is, what’s next? Now life has changed, what is motivating digital consumers to spend, engage, and love? GWI’s latest report ‘Connecting the Dots’ reveals plenty of insights that marketing agencies and marketers can’t be without in 2022.

GWI has a constant finger on the global pulse. This global audience targeting company continuously surveys consumers in 47 countries to understand motivations and behaviours and build up the world’s largest study on the digital consumer – ‘Connecting the Dots’. So let’s dive in…

1 – ‘Get out and do’ attitude

The pandemic taught us all that life is precious and short. Treating oneself and indulging is in the top three things that have become more important to consumers in the past year (39% say this), behind saving money (53%) and spending time with loved ones (47%). These feelings are being expressed is a number of ways that marketers can maximise:

  • 55% increase in consumers being more optimistic about their personal finances – which means we’re no longer spending cautiously ‘just in case’. GWI’s US data found consumers are feeling bolder, more adventurous and empowered.
  • Marketers can run with campaigns themed around YOLO (you only live once) and changing the status quo
  • For holiday brands this means, those ‘once in a lifetime’ holidays are just what consumers are looking for to rediscover themselves
  • Unleashing creativity and hidden talents has become a big trend, especially on TikTok (in fact logging into TikTok every day has increased by 54% outside China since the end of 2020). Marketers who give their audience the opportunity to dream and showcase their creativity will be well-rewarded on social media.

2 – Where’s our attention now?

The media mix is key for marketers, so GWI’s Connecting the Dots survey reveals where audiences across the globe are happiest spending their downtime:

  • TV viewing skyrocketed during the first lockdown, which pushed up the cost of streaming subscriptions. This seems to have broken the ceiling on what consumers are willing to pay for their favourite shows and Gen Z voted with their senses – choosing to entertain themselves with music, movies, gaming, and TV in that order.
  • With screen fatigue spreading across the world, music streaming and podcasts are rising in popularity, and not just for commuters. Podcasts are thriving for exercising and sleep.
  • The reasons that channels such as gaming and audio win out over other channels are summarised by GWI in three ways –
      1. Unique medium – gaming is a hybrid of socialising and being competitive
      2. Media which enrich people’s lives (curating, discovering, cultivating fandom) are most powerful at capturing attention
      3. Providing escapism
GWI Connecting the Dots report 2021 - Time per channel change chart
GWI Connecting the Dots report 2021 - 'How Time Per Day Has Changed During the Pandemic' chart https://www.gwi.com/connecting-the-dots

3 – The need for realism

People are fed-up with filters and posts which paint an unrealistic ideal. Digital consumers want brands and celebrities to be real – warts and all. Brands can take a new approach to marketing by admitting when they’re wrong, highlighting their team’s mental and physical struggles, championing diversity, and choosing influencers who aren’t well known.

  • According to GWI USA dataset, Gen Zs are less interested in influencers and celebrity news compared to last year. They’re also less likely to want their lifestyle to impress others, and more think it’s ok for people to say when they’re struggling.
  • Influencers who choose to reveal their flaws and promote ideas rather than products will gain more followers.
  • Hashtags will continue to be a prime way for brands to insert themselves in movements, but brands need to fully understand the context of hashtag first as many are being used in a more paradoxical way.

4 – Wellbeing is front of mind

Two-thirds of consumers say they’re more conscious about looking after their physical and mental health than before the pandemic. Many people are taking a proactive and preventative approach to their health by moving more, sleeping more and eating more healthily. For brands, products and campaigns which align with looking after yourself will be well received in 2022.

GWI’s flagship ‘Connecting the Dots’ report (download the report, free, here) makes insightful reading for every marketer in every sector. The highlights feel familiar because they reflect how many of us are now feeling and behaving – we’ve all changed. For marketers, this report is a reminder to update the knowledge we previously held about our target audiences and keep checking in with them to see what else will change in 2022.

For help and campaign ideas to connect with your target audience’s evolving needs, contact the ThinkOTB team: contactus@otbagency.co.uk.

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