ThinkOTB Agency

Consumer trends that will shape 2020

January 1, 2020

Consumer habits changed A LOT in the tenties. Social media evolved from basic photo sharing, mobile phone usage grew higher than desktop browsing traffic and podcasts became an essential medium. So, with the twenties now upon us, which consumer trends will take centre stage in 2020, driving and changing the way we buy and live?

Here’s what we predict you should keep an eye on in 2020:

Green guilt

2019 was the year of the woke consumer – think: ‘I’ve got my KeepCup and wouldn’t be seen dead slurping from anything other than my bamboo straw’. Consumers wore their eco-friendly consumerism as a status symbol, but 2020 will see this evolve into something far bigger; those who resist will be shamed. Whether you’re a brand or consumer, awareness and accountability is not an optional extra, it’s expected.

The public will actively seek out products, services and experiences that reduce the rising tide of eco-shaming. The major implication of environmentally friendly products entering the mainstream? There’s literally no reason not to buy and use them; they’re affordable and widely available.

Doctor’s orders

Nowadays people are demanding a digital experience to all aspects of their lives. Pretty much anything can be done online – shopping, banking, property viewings – so it’s no wonder then that healthcare will be venturing beyond the physical waiting room. Booking an appointment and seeing your doctor online will become as normalised as ordering a takeaway or taxi through an app.

Technology like AI and telehealth will make managing healthcare more convenient and effective, saving an already overcrowded and underfunded NHS precious time and money. This won’t signal the end of face to face interaction between patient and doctor, that will still be the preference. It does however provide a pragmatic alternative for routine check-ups or less serious medical matters.

A pint of the non-alcoholic stuff

Dry January may still be seen as a bit of a fad, but consumers are pacing themselves when it comes to drinking. And it’s a trend that is likely to increase in 2020 as people become more health conscious.

Consumers are choosing to moderate their drinking or abstain altogether. Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less and non-alcoholic beer and cocktail sales are on the up. In 2019 alone the sale of low and no beer, wine and spirits grew by £22.4m. This is something which hasn’t escaped the attention of household brewers like Heineken and BrewDog, who devote a considerable proportion of their budgets to creating low percentage or non-alcoholic alternatives for an expanding market.

Hello? Alexa, are you there? What about you, Siri?

Introduced back in 2011, voice search technology was more of a novelty than a necessity. Fast-forward to 2020 and it has become a focal point to some of the most popular gadgets in our home. Consumers perform internet searches with their voice on smart phones, devices and speakers and a query is then answered by a search engine or digital assistant.

Whereas voice search technology used to be confined to individual mobile phones, they’re now present in communal spaces like offices and family living rooms. So, with younger generations growing up in a world where voice search is the new norm [55% of teenagers in the US use voice search on a daily basis] expect their stock to soar in 2020.

A cashless society

More and more consumers are opting for plastic over cash. As online splurging and tap to pay increases, consumers will take measures to protect their financial identity online. Every swipe, tap and check-in contribute to a digital footprint and this data has become a valuable commodity. Consumers are more aware of this, so naturally their defences will be heightened when it comes to protecting their finances.

There’s an appetite for greater privacy, and the anonymity cryptocurrencies provide are an attractive solution. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been steadily growing in popularity, and although most retailers don’t accept cryptocurrencies as of yet, projects like Libra from Facebook will make this a distinct possibility in 2020. Expect more consumers to invest and invest big.

Nothing but good vibes

A whopping 86% of British people say they have experienced anxiety due to work pressure in the last year. Add to this the pressure to look and live a perfect life brought about by the prying eyes of social media and it’s no wonder people are itching for a reprieve. Expectations to be on top form in every aspect of life all the time is leading to people becoming physically and mentally exhausted.

Brands who are focused on improving and making people’s lives easier will thrive in 2020. From encouraging mindfulness to enhancing sleep quality, the need for wellness companies is more prevalent than ever. Helping people combat stress and switch off from the pressures of modern life will be a huge trend this year.

Holidays tailored for you

Personalisation is key to lasting success these days. It makes consumers feel valued and listened to. Companies like Netflix and Spotify have excelled in part because they are obsessed with consumer data and using it to personalise their offering.  It’s no longer enough for travel companies to provide flights and accommodation at discount rates – in 2020 they will have to do more to secure repeat custom.

Travellers expect customisation at every stage of their holiday, from initial research to interactions long after the holiday has ended when they’re reminiscing. Expedia’s ‘For Everyone’ campaign is a great example of this – they cater to every possible preference travellers may have, from a laundry service to pet friendly accommodation. Personalisation can transform a great holiday into an unforgettable one, and if the experience is that good a brand can gain a lifelong customer.

Want to capitalise on some of these trends for 2020? Email for strategic planning and insight that’ll lay the foundations for a year of growth for your business.


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