Consumer Trends are always in a state of evolution and no more so during the course of the Pandemic, which has forced through significant behavioural needs.
Evolving consumer trends
Consumer trends continue to evolve but what is the new normal? It has been two years since we have been surfing the waters of the pandemic, so what is now shaping consumer trends? All players have been tested equally and forced to adapt with both losers and winners emerging across different industries. The consumer products industry has largely been amongst the winners. Its growth has been nothing short of exhilarating: evolving, adapting and meeting an ever-growing array of human needs and desires.
How has this happened? Largely due to globalization of supply chains, aggressively developed, across every part of the value chain. Typically, this comes at a cost, increased margins and weighting of portfolios toward fast-growing categories and now, faced also, with the shocks on freight rates within the shipping sector which shakes the very foundation of globalization.
Consumer Trends – Product Sectors
Specifically, consumer product companies are looking to maximize profits in what is an interconnected, extremely competitive environment. Challenges for these organizations include meeting the high demands of customers, manoeuvring through a consolidating market and executing strategies to grow profitably.
Now more than ever, the past serves as no guide to the future. The landscape appears to have permanently shifted and there is no coming back to those pre-pandemic times. This is a period where ‘West meets East’, when Asia is becoming the main consumer market (by 2030, Asia as a consumer market is estimated to be larger than Europe and the US combined!).
The demands on value and innovation are in keen focus, the use of online channels (although we can see a comeback on in-store shopping) and volatility across supply chains have all led to the penetration of social media that has a major influence on consumers’ behaviour.
The consumer products sector is leveraging technologies and in terms of trends it has been majorly led by it, mainly due to shifting demographics. Not only has it helped companies to enhance their service levels but they have completely revamped the customer experience. With a rapidly evolving technology, Consumer Packaged Goods (“CPGs”) have had no option but to ‘hop-in’ to stay afloat and survive. What has this meant for consumers?
Their purchasing behaviour is heavily impacted by it. Users take advantage of the information available to research products and to get inspiration from user-generated content as recommendations based on preferences.
The Pandemic has caused shifts in category demand over the past two years in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on a particular market. For example, the Health & Wellness category had a strong performance during the Pandemic, but has dropped towards the end of the year as people overall feel safer in line with vaccination programs and borders slowly opening. However, trends show that there is more to be done on Health and Wellness and consumers will continue to care about it deeply. Moreover, as economies emerge from their Covid hibernations, an uptick in experiences & entertainment, as well as clothing and fashion, can be expected towards this Holiday season and upcoming 2022.
That said, here top categories for consumer trends are:
1. Electronics and Technologies
Products that effortlessly facilitate day-to-day routines and help people connect will continue to be in demand. As a means to enhance customer experience:
a. Digital reality, enabling interaction and the power to explore, customize and access to details
b. Artificial intelligence allowing innovation and for the consumer to benefit from personalized products, recommendations and service.
c. Connection through ‘the cloud’ across all platforms, smoothly, is all about costumer engagement.
d. Blockchain as source for transparency across all purchasing process.
2. Health and Wellness
This category includes:
a. Here to stay, the COVID-19 products: masks and medical and non-medical items.
b. The “newly” awaken the consciousness of the consumer – where sustainability and environmental consciousness-related items are a ‘must’. In short, a green supply chain all around and a low-to-none carbon footprint.
c. Products that promote a cosy environment and enhance personal wellbeing.
3. Experiences & Entertainment
This category is focused on CPGs that sit within the travel sector, whether holidays or more day to day travelling. They need to focus on convenience, tourism, outdoor and leisure activities. All areas that have suffered most during the Pandemic, and perhaps those that have most to gain should Covid be consigned to the past.
4. Clothing & Accessories
Naturally seasonal, but likely to be up towards the end of the year as markets open up and people are not in lockdowns. Discretionary spending will move more to the Fashion sector as a means of expression that has for the past 20 months largely been unnecessary.
At ET2C, we are constantly monitoring consumer trends to understand which products are relevant to your business, and how these align with multiple sourcing markets. Whether it be China, Vietnam, India or Turkey, we are on the ground to provide you with the best product offers for your organization. For more on how we can help you, please contact us at email@example.com.