4 Consumer Trends to Watch in 2024

Every year brings a new host of consumer behavior trends. Here’s what your brand can expect from your customers in 2024. Read our predicted consumer trends.

The start of a new year often gives people the excuse to start a new hobby or build a new habit. Whether that habit lasts through the end of the year is another conversation entirely! For marketers, following the trends in changing consumer behavior and spending is critical for building successful marketing campaigns. 

At GroundTruth, our mission is to use real-world behavior to help marketers deliver real business results. To help all of our customers achieve that success, we’ve identified 4 main consumer trends that should inform the way companies build their marketing and advertising strategies for 2024. Even if these don’t impact your industry directly, they will impact how your customers see your messaging and react to it. And we think that makes them important for every marketer to know. 

So without further ado, here are the top 4 consumer trends marketers should watch for in 2024. 

1. Smartphone Spending Continues to Grow

For the first time, total smartphone-based spending will top $1 trillion in 2024. Between in-store tap-and-pay transactions and internet-based (wallet, app, and browser) smartphone retail sales, a total payment value of $1.185 trillion is projected over the next twelve months. When you compare that to the $7.548 trillion total projected retail sales, you start to see just how many customers will make their purchasing decisions with their phone.

Additionally, most customers are expected to pay with digital wallets as younger generations drive tap-and-pay. In 2024, roughly two-thirds of US smartphone users will use a mobile wallet app for their transactions, up from about half in 2021. This marks the first year that approximately half of Gen Z users (49.8%) will tap-and-pay, following in the footsteps of Millennials (63.0%). For marketers, understanding these consumer spending trends on smartphones can help segmenting mobile advertising audiences based on location, which in turn helps boost conversion rates and improves mobile Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).

2. Digital Discovery Is Critical, but Physical Stores Still Matter to Customers

While consumer spending trends are important, consumer behavior trends will also be key for 2024. Consumer behavior shows that consumer spending is still higher in physical stores. 

Retail and brand sites (including mobile apps) collectively drive greater awareness, but stores are still highly relevant in most product categories, even those with high ecommerce sales rates (according to eMarketer/Insider Intelligence proprietary survey of 1,447 consumer goods shoppers). One of the key differences between online and in-store discovery is shoppers who find new brands and products inside the physical store are more likely (31.5% of shoppers) to make an immediate purchase compared to shoppers browsing online retail sites (19.1%) or brand sites (10.4%).

Consumer trends of in-store discovery purchases.
Consumer trends of in-store discovery purchases.

In-store discovery is also highly relevant in categories where “touch-and-try” shopping is popular. The ability to try on and physically evaluate products is likely what has kept stores relevant in categories like furniture and home goods, beauty, and clothing. According to The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, Q3 2023, 84.4% of retail sales occur in-store. 

In terms of 2024 marketing strategies, this consumer trend suggests an omni-channel approach that reaches audiences online and off can give you an advantage when it comes time to make their purchase.

Consumer trends of ecommerce in-store discovery purchases.

3. Connected TV Viewers Officially Surpass Traditional TV

In 2024, CTV, or non-pay TV, viewers (the sum of cord-cutters and cord-nevers) will surpass traditional TV viewers for the first time. We’ve seen habits trend in this direction for a while, but this year marks the official switch. Also, important to note that time spent with connected TV (CTV) by US adults will be within one hour of linear next year, at 2 hours and 3 minutes (2:03) and 2:48 per day respectively, according to eMarketer forecasts.

Consumer Trends 2024: CTV Users vs Traditional TV Users.
Consumer Trends 2024: CTV Users by Age

Again, this 2024 consumer trend toward CTV underscores the importance of omni-channel strategies, whether you are running awareness campaigns or targeting conversions. To ensure you reach audiences with the right frequency and on the channels they are most engaged with, consider how to incorporate CTV ads with your existing plan.

4. AI Will Be Part of Everything

Not everyone has welcomed AI with enthusiasm. Skepticism is still high in a fair number of consumers. However, in 2024, companies will integrate genAI capabilities into the apps and products that we all use all the time. Whether we like it or not (and whether we notice or not), generative AI will be part of the buying experience. 

What does the trend toward generative AI mean for marketers? Being thoughtful about what tools you use and when to create an exceptional experience will help turn consumer into repeat customers.

Putting It All Together

While there are many more 2024 consumer trends, these top 4 are key for your marketing success. This year brings incredible opportunities for smart marketers to use all the tools they have at their disposal to bring customers into their stores and drive purchases. By connecting to new CTV audiences, building omni-channel campaigns for target audiences, and creating memorable experiences in your stores and online, 2024 can be your best year yet! 

If you want to get started building your best advertising strategy, contact GroundTruth today!