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3 Consumer Behavior Trends to Watch in 2022

by Victor

The last few years have been a clear reminder that consumer behavior is subject to drastic and sudden change. From the shift to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic to the impact of significant inflation as the world recovers, consumers have faced unique pressures since 2020. And these pressures have coincided with several developments in social media, technology, and consumer attitudes that are impacting consumer behavior. The changes felt during the pandemic continue to have a ripple of impact in 2022, along with some interesting new developments. Read on to learn about 3 consumer behavior trends to watch in 2022. 

1.)   Podcasts Continue to Gain Popularity

While podcasts are by no means a new technology, they have reached new levels of popularity in 2022. According to a report by market research company Insider Intelligence, the total number of podcast listeners grew from 274 million in 2019 to 383 million in 2021. The report projects that number to increase by 40 million in 2022 for a total audience of 424 million unique listeners. That would account for 20.3% of all internet users.

The growth comes as consumer behavior shifts toward a demand for on-demand audio with more individuals working from home. Constant availability of audio from smartphones and smart speakers has likely played a role in the rise of podcasts as well.

According to the report, younger consumers are driving the growth of the podcast industry, with more than 39% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 listening to podcasts monthly.

The rise of podcasts represents a significant opportunity for advertisers, particularly those who want to reach a younger audience. Companies are paying attention to this potential. The report projects podcast advertising spending in the U.S. to increase by 30.2% year-over-year (YoY) in 2022.

2.)   Consumers Seek Sustainability

Consumers continue to push for sustainability and brands are listening, particularly in the food and energy sectors. Food brands are marketing alternatives to meat as healthy and sustainable options, while energy companies pursue marketing strategies that emphasize their commitment to sustainability and investments in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

2022 also promises to see increases in electric vehicle purchases. A recent report forecast an approximately 60% rise in electric vehicle sales in 2022, with an increase in total sales from 526,004 in 2021 to 845,050 in 2022.

The fashion industry is also seeing a shift in consumer behavior toward sustainability, particularly among younger consumers. Thrifting became a hobby for many during the pandemic, and a recent report expects the resale clothing industry to continue to gain popularity in 2022. In fact, the report projects a steady rise in sales, more than doubling from $36 billion in 2021 to $77 billion in 2025.

3.)   TikTok Drives the Social Media Conversation

Tik Tok continues to gain users. In September of 2021, the platform revealed it had surpassed 1 billion active users, up significantly from the 55 million users it reported in January 2018. The platform’s growth stands to have a significant impact on consumer behavior as more consumers look to short videos posted by influencers and other users to review or recommend products.

Brands are realizing the online conversation has shifted to Tik Tok and are using sentiment analysis, an AI-based social listening tool that assesses the emotional content of posts, to analyze both Tik Tok videos and captions.

Social media analytics platforms such as NetBase Quid can use sentiment analysis to provide a numerical rating that tracks the positive or negative sentiment expressed in Tik Tok posts. Companies can then sort this valuable consumer behavior data according to different demographics and audience segments to identify market gaps and construct Tik Tok marketing strategies. These social media analytics tools will be invaluable as more consumers move to Tik Tok.

Analyzing Consumer Behavior 

It is important for brands to continuously analyze consumer behavior to spot trends as they arise and leverage this information to develop actionable marketing strategies. Social media analytics should play a key role in this process. While these three trends are worth watching for brands that want to reach more consumers, social listening tools such as sentiment analysis can identify other trends worth watching in 2022 and beyond.  

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