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by | Jan 16, 2023

From Trendwatching to Forbes, Retail Gazette to NBC, the future-watchers have been busy with their consumer trend predictions for 2023. Here are 10 that we should all be looking out for & applying:

1/ Tapping into consumer’s values and passions for deeper connections

Just knowing your audience’s age and gender is soooo 2010 – Trendwatching says that today’s marketers use different metrics such as values, convictions and passions to understand consumers.

The result? A more tailored experience – especially when people shop online – and ever-deeper connections between brand and audience. Younger consumers especially are expecting this – they’re also expecting more curated content that is a perfect fit for them.

The slightly astounding example offered up by Trendwatching of this already happening is a collab between Spotify and EasyJet where listeners are given suggestions of where to fly to next based on the songs they like.

2/ There’s a robot for that

Forbes’s resident customer experience futurist Blake Morgan says that 2023 will see more automation and self-service solutions to help take the strain caused by staffing shortages.

It’ll go beyond mere self-checkout tills at the supermarket – think automated contact centres and warehouses. From a consumer POV, it all points to an increasing acceptance of automated services.

3/ ‘Phygital’ experiences will proliferate

Another of Morgan’s hot tips is that ‘Phygital’ – the merging of physical and digital experiences – will expand into multiple industries this year, including banking. She says we should expect “innovative experiences that customers use to make large purchases, including cars and houses.”

If you’re looking for an example of phygital in action today, look no further than your local McDonald’s where you make your order on a digital kiosk. Now think about live video shopping where you could get to see products being tested from your own home. Or video consultations with your bank manager.

The best examples in the coming years will likely merge VR, AR and AI, say the experts.

Bonus tip! Check out the much-loved Trendwatching Consumer Trend Canvas to see how you can apply the trends highlighted here to your own work. We’re massive fans – and you can now do it all online thanks to their recent collaboration with Miro, the virtual whiteboard.

4/ Be serious about your ESG goals

According to Trendwatching, being authentic is no longer a proven way to stand out – you’ve got to try harder. They say that being vulnerable will be valued, but better still is making genuine change when it comes to social issues and environmental impact.

Climate change, of course, and rightly so, is not going to fall off anyone’s radar in 2023. Reassuring messaging about this and other key issues that demonstrate actual results could prove pivotal.

When it comes to brands going the extra mile, they flag up the case of Apple, who are teaming up with policymakers and advocacy groups to help file lawsuits against States with laws that attack gay and transgender people.

5/ Life after death

Well, not quite, but when NBC started the year by asking a posse of experts to look at consumer trends for 2023, one that really stood out for us was a surge in demand for used and second-hand goods.

The secondhand market, they say, is set to rise 127% by 2026 – with Gen Z shoppers among the many consumers driving demand. Good news for charity and discount stores – and, perhaps, a golden opportunity for innovative brands (car dealerships, after all, have been selling second-hand stock for decades). Vinted is a personal favourite of mine for recycling my old clothes and getting a few quid.

6/ Watch out for consumer-creators

With so many digital tools at our disposal these days, consumers, say Trendwatching, have a wealth of ways to create their own markets. That could be creating content, renting out assets or selling goods and services.

Opportunities abound for companies that can help make these things happen. One that caught our eye a few years back was Swimply, which allows pool owners to rent their pools out by the hour.

7/ Spending continues, despite worsening economic conditions

Forrester, the market research heavyweights, say that despite soaring petrol prices and a cost of living crisis that seems to get gloomier by the day, people still have money in the bank left over from the savings they accrued during the pandemic.

And what do consumers with money do? They spend – cautiously, maybe, but Forrester say that “money in the bank will spur them on to greater spending.”

8/ Bring out the FUN!

According to Trendwatching, 2023 sees the return of fun; an antidote to the austerity and gloom of Covid-19. For proof, they cite 72% of Gen Z saying that fun is their number one value.

Expect brands to step up to the plate with a raft of quirky, memorable experiences and humorous messaging.

9/ Quality products will be highly prized

Another Forrester prediction, consumer demands for well-made items will soar in 2023. People will be looking to squeeze “maximum value” out of the things they buy. The good news? Fewer unwanted goods ending up in landfill.

This trend may lead to fewer purchases (fast fashion, anyone?) as people opt for preferred brands (McKinsey say that global luxury fashion sales will rise 10%). They may also embrace the pre-loved market (see #5) and generally be fairly cautious about wasting money on things they don’t need.

There’s a caveat, according to Retail Gazette: consumers may be happy to ‘trade down’ on essential items, buying cheaper brands.

10/ Judgement day for D2C

Not so much a consumer trend as a business/marketing one, this. Retail Gazette say that D2C clothing companies lost a whopping 73% of their value last year. Sadly Made.com, meanwhile, went out of business (modular furniture maker Swyft, by comparison, thrived – thanks in part to a partnership which puts their sofas in John Lewis stores).

D2C brands may need to diversify to different channels in 2023 in order to survive.

We like to refer to trends if we are in an information (thus insight) desert because we know that they can help to trigger ideas. We use Trendwatching’s Trend Canvas to help us unpack trends and figure out what might work for a given brand, product or service. Check out our blog on using the Trendcanvas.

What are your predictions for 2023? Will the rising cost of everyday items/ever growing energy bills stifle spending? Is online shopping going to soar? Will virtual worlds mean we’ll shop in store even less?

Let us know!

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