Desire for value, sentiment around loyalty will shape shopping landscape in 2022
Shoppers will continue to grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, including supply chain woes and inflation, while prioritising the health and wellbeing
The emotional impact of the last two years has taken its toll and in 2022, consumers will continue to be contradictory in their purchasing decisions. Non-linear customer journeys, a deep-rooted desire for value and new sentiments around loyalty and kindness will shape the shopping landscape.
This will be a year of bold change for retailers. Shoppers will continue to grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, including supply chain woes and inflation, while prioritising the health and wellbeing of themselves and those around them. These shifts are changing the way they buy and as behaviours evolve, they will continue to expect more from retailers. The rise of the consumer stakeholder, who wants to be at the centre of brand strategy, will see retailers exploring new loyalty schemes and evolving the co-creation narrative we've seen over the past few years.
Health remains prominent across sectors as the caring economy grows. A new cohort of intentional shoppers will seek values-based marketplaces and community driven platforms that target chronic health conditions. While ethical purchasing remains a key concern for many, a growing number of shoppers remain apathetic about the future of the planet, widening the gap between intention and action. It will be down to retailers to close this gap, motivating and incentivising them into more sustainable behaviours.
As social commerce rises, so does the viral economy, fuelled by Gen Z shoppers heavily influenced by TikTok. Above all, kindness will reign as shoppers look for compassion, empathy and meaning in their interactions with others and those they buy from.
The supply chain crisis has disrupted the path to purchase, with out-of-stocks, price hikes and product scarcity creating obstacles. Faced with more options and channels, a hybrid path sees shoppers seek alternative ways of obtaining desired items, impacting loyalty and putting pressure on brands.
Behaviours: Evolving 2020's mission-based shoppers, consumers are growing tired of product shortages and long lead times and are increasingly willing to go to any lengths to get what they want, when they want it. In October 2021, Adobe Analytics reported that over 2 billion out-of-stock messages have appeared on online product listings – a 172 per cent increase compared to January 2020. This has a knock-on effect on consumer trust and loyalty. Retailers will need to accelerate omnichannel fulfilment services and keep shoppers happy, as "buy it anywhere, from anyone" becomes the new paradigm.
Priorities: With supply chain shortages front of mind and armed with many tools at their disposal, consumers will seek out inventory across multiple channels and platforms, opting for a hybrid way of shopping that spans touchpoints and fulfilment options. From mobile apps and marketplaces to stores, social media and resale sites, they will buy from anywhere and choose any delivery that's fast and guaranteed.
The 2021 holiday shopping season saw some parents turning to bots to secure toys for their kids, while the secondary market is boosted by those searching for items the supply chain crisis has made hard to find. According to Mercari, three in four US consumers planned to buy at least one second-hand item to avoid supply chain issues during the 2021 holiday season, equating to a $7 billion spike in resale revenue.
Behaviours: Despite a world of trouble, consumer spending was up in 2021, fuelled by government stimulus, pent-up demand and staying at home. As we move into 2022, the pendulum is swinging back the other way, with stimulus dollars gone and the Holiday buying spree over. US inflation reached a 30-year high in October 2021, increasing 6.2 per cent over 2020, while the cost of items such as electronics, clothes and furniture is set to jump more than 10 per cent this year, with traditionally low-cost retailers including IKEA putting prices up. This means onsumers will be doubling down on ultra value for the long haul. More than twice as many shoppers say they plan to spend more money at value chains in the next five years compared to 2020, while over 50 per cent in a global PwC survey said they became more price-conscious in 2021.
With one billion monthly active users, TikTok is redefining the customer decision-making journey. 74 per cent of users claim it assists them with their buying decisions and 67 per cent say it helps them learn more about a brand or product. Surpassing Google as the most popular site in 2021, consumers are relying on its For You page to guide them towards the hottest items of the moment, succumbing to the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon, which has over 8 billion views.
This young, clout-chasing shopper is heavily influenced by what they see on TikTok. 36 per cent of Gen Z bought something they saw on the app while swiping in 2021, while 83 per cent use the platform for product reviews.