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The Next Generation of Consumer Behavior

For decades, brands held the upper hand in their relationship with consumers. They told consumers what products were available and where to buy them. But with more options than ever, consumers now have the power to tell companies what’s important to them, and to switch brands when those companies don’t align their values.

With consumer behaviors and expectations changing on a seemingly daily basis, we went directly to the source to determine what consumers want from brands in 2022. Here’s what we found.

Key Findings

Now that consumers have more power in their relationships with brands, it’s up to the brand to track their evolving expectations, behaviors, and preferences. With this in mind, we surveyed 1,000 US consumers from a wide range of age groups and backgrounds to learn more about their perceptions and behaviors around convenience, relatability, and responsibility. We then took it a step further to try to understand how each of those three components impacts customer loyalty.

Four key findings from our survey include:

  • 84% of consumers made an in-store purchase in the past year, while 68% had a product delivered to their home.
  • 83% of Gen Zers and 76% of millennials feel that brands should take a stance on social issues, compared to just 59% of consumers 41 years old or older.
  • Only 24% of consumers feel that micro-influencers and macro-influencers (celebrities) are either somewhat or very important in motivating them to buy from a brand
  • Only 14% of consumers say brands are great at knowing them, remembering them, and understanding their needs

Key Takeaways

If you’re looking for a quick overview of the impact of convenience, relatability, and responsibility, here’s a high-level recap of what we found.

The Power of Convenience

Whether it’s shopping, checkout, or delivery, we found that convenience still heavily influencing a consumer’s decision to purchase. While convenience is most commonly associated with the delivery process, it is just as important in the other aspects of the customer journey. In fact, nearly half of consumers surveyed said convenience while finding products was very important to them, with checkout convenience coming in second.

Mostly importantly, consumers reported that convenience should be woven into every part of the customer journey, from shopping and checkout to delivery and returns. One consumer stated, “Convenience means that I am able to best use, give, take part in, or see something that makes the most out of my time and money.” The takeaway here is to keep it simple and save the consumer money whenever possible.

Brands Have to Relate to Consumers

Consumers want relationships with brands, which means the transaction can no longer be at the center of brand experiences. Just like any relationship, trust is won with authenticity and transparency. As we mentioned in the key findings, only 14% of surveyed consumers felt like brands truly know and understand them, yet almost all participants said that they place importance on being heard by the companies they connect with.

The expectation is that being heard results in personalized experiences. Consumers want a two-way conversation with brands and expect personal responses in email, on your website, and by text and SMS messaging (in that order). The survey made it clear that celebrity endorsements don’t carry the weight they once did. It’s all about relating to your consumers and communicating about how your product aligns with their values and goals.

Brands Need to Be More Responsible

Another major shift we found in this survey is that meeting business outcomes isn’t just about delivering exceptional products and services anymore. It’s also about how your brand contributes to a greater good. Of the individuals we surveyed, only 17% of Gen Zers and 24% of Millennials did not want brands to take a stance on social and cultural events, meaning most expect brands to speak up on social issues.

Whether it relates to employee working conditions, ethical sourcing of products, or the impact on their communities, the majority of consumers what brands to put their money where their mouth is. Go back to your brand values to identify what greater impact you can contribute to in an authentic way, and bring consumers along for the journey.

For a deeper dive and additional survey responses and insights, check out a full report and analysis in our report, The Next Generation of Consumer Behaviors.