Human connection, interpersonal relationships and self-betterment are poised to steer consumer behaviour in 2024.
Research firm Mintel’s annual Global Consumer Trends report pinpointed five trends brands should pay attention to in the year ahead.
See below for a snapshot of the findings.
As technology and AI advances, consumers will begin to appreciate what makes humans unique, and prioritize their desire to connect with other people.
“There will be a strong need for guidance and reminders of what it means to be human far beyond efficiency as consumers seek the level of empathy and service that only a human can provide. While tech itself can boost efficiency, brands will still need to invest in their people and communities to continue nurturing customer relationships,” the report says.
More than money
Consumers’ ideas about what makes a product or service of quality is shifting. As budget pressures force consumers to make trade offs, they’re trying to balance quality and cost.
“While attributes like sustainability, convenience and heritage remain important, brands should present them through a quality lens. In this way, they can directly contribute to a perception of value by demonstrating how these attributes make a product functionally better,” the report says.
More than ever, consumers are affiliating themselves with brands that represent their values, but they’re also abandoning the brands that don’t. The social and emotional value of a brand will grow in importance, Mintel says.
Coming out of the height of the pandemic, interpersonal communication has taken a new shape.
Consumers have more access to communication tools than ever before, but it’s burning them out, especially as traditional points for in-person connection vanish.
“Activities that used to be done together are now done in tandem but separately. Increasingly, this is creating a fragmented network of relationships that is difficult to build and maintain,” Mintel finds.
Brands are being challenged to pull people out of self-care mode and back into the social world to improve personal health.
“Companies in the pet, fitness and leisure categories are particularly suited to this as these are interests that bring people together,” the report says. “Food, beverage and beauty companies will also find meaning in connection as they redesign solo routines – from morning coffee to evening skincare regimens – as something consumers don’t have to do alone.”
New green reality
Taking a passive approach to climate change isn’t enough to sway shoppers anymore.
Mintel says brands need to move away from traditional strategies that focus on zero-sum sustainability initiatives and towards tangible solutions that push the boundaries.
“By highlighting forward-thinking approaches, brands can reframe climate messaging from merely reducing their carbon footprint to actively regenerating and giving back to the world, making the situation less overwhelming and more appealing to consumers,” the report says.
Global uncertainty – from inflation to political instability, climate change and new technologies – is affecting consumers’ mental health.
Brands should steer away from a sanitized portrayal of reality, Mintel advises, and be honest and genuine to help consumers feel more grounded.
“Brands can create self-help and ‘self-betterment’ products and resources to support consumers in adopting a resilient mindset and strengthening their mental capacity. Consumers’ personal growth – facilitated by brands – will be driven by their ability to embrace inevitable uncertainties,” Mintel says.