Five Consumer Trends to Watch in 2022

Five Consumer Trends to Watch in 2022

The past few years have been anything but predictable — but when it comes to consumer behavior, we’re finally starting to see some stabilization. As a result, we have a good handle on the consumer behavior trends we’re likely to see in the months to come.

Drawing from up-to-the-minute industry data, along with GroundTruth’s own expertise, we’re sharing the Top 5 trends to watch in 2022. As you devise your marketing strategies for the coming year, be sure to take these key facts into account.

1) Time spent with connected devices is still on the rise

Between the lockdown days of the pandemic and our increased dependence on mobile devices, it isn’t surprising that smartphones continue to dominate media time. Consumers now average 4 hours and 29 minutes on mobile every day — but smartphones and tablets aren’t the only devices drawing their attention. They’re also spending 1 hour and 56 minutes on their laptop or desktop, and 1 hour and 44 minutes on “other connected devices,” which encompasses smart TVs, Connected TV (CTV) devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and internet-connected gaming consoles.

Over the Top streaming services (OTT) like Netflix and Hulu are gaining an even greater share of consumer time after their pandemic surge as well. A whopping 82 million households now stream about 100 hours of OTT content each month.

2) Traditional TV viewing will decrease after an unexpected uptick during the pandemic

There are only so many hours in the day — which means consumers have to decrease the time they spend with some forms of media to make room for their favorites. In 2020, TV gained minutes for the first time in 8 years as viewers turned to the medium for pandemic and US election news, but now, the pendulum is swinging back again.

The average US adult will spend 15 fewer minutes engaging with traditional TV this year. On-demand streaming options and the cord-cutting trend make it likely that this will continue; in fact, eMarketer predicts the 15-minute loss could turn into 11 minutes in 2023.

Consumer Trends Average Tv Watch Time

3) As consumers continue to spend again, the majority will be shopping in physical stores

When it comes to shopping habits, expect consumers to drift back to physical stores after the record-breaking online holiday shopping season of 2021. According to Census data, 87% of Q3 2021 sales occurred in physical retail stores.

There are some categories that will see more in-store shopping than others, including Packaged Food/Beverages, OTC Healthcare, Haircare, and Household Cleaning. With these types of products, consumers are significantly more likely to eschew online and make their purchase in-store.

Consumer Trends Shopping Preferences

4) Consumers will be lured back in stores with curated experiences and new technology

There’s another reason more consumers will be shopping in physical retailers this year, and that’s the sheer pleasure of an in-person shopping experience. Studies show that 48% of consumers prefer to shop in person when given the choice, and approximately 35% of those shoppers favor in-store shopping because they “enjoy the experience.”

That experience is about to get even better. In the year to come, we’ll see more companies embrace the concept of “retail-tainment,” a strategy that can both attract shoppers and drive repeat visits. From digitized in-store shopping experiences to self-checkout, mobile scan-as-you-go, and cashierless checkout like that offered by Amazon Go, retailers are elevating the in-store experience.

Consumer Store Trends

5) Consumers will embrace QR codes in an evolving, contactless world

Along the same lines, we anticipate that shoppers will return to stores this year with the expectation that they’ll encounter helpful tools that connect physical and digital shopping. More than 150 million people made a click-and-collect purchase in 2021, and their interest in this method of shopping will continue. As eMarketer puts it, “Shoppers embraced click-and-collect for the safety, but they will stay for the convenience.”

Watch for QR code payment options to get a boost this year as well. As consumers become more familiar with QR codes on restaurant menus — a trend that’s largely the result of pandemic-related contactless dining — they’ll continue to use QR codes for increased convenience. The number of QR code interactions increased by 94% from 2018 to 2020, and there is more growth on the way.

Keep these consumer trends top of mind as you plan your approach for connecting with consumers this year. For more insights, watch our recent webinar What to Expect in 2022: Emerging Tech & Consumer Trends.

Nicole Genchur
Director of Marketing Research & Insights, GroundTruth