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2022’s conflicted consumer: What will fuel commerce next year?

by | Nov 29, 2021 | Public Relations

Nearly 60 percent of consumers are optimistic these days, but there are continued concerns about a COVID-19 resurgence and its impact on the national economy, according to new research from market solutions firm Vericast, which reveals that consumers have a strong desire to return to ‘normal’ but have mixed feelings about the year ahead.

For its nearly released 2022 Consumer Outlook, the firm recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to better understand consumer sentiment and corresponding brand marketing opportunities heading into the new year.

The study found that a majority of Americans remain concerned about a resurgence of COVID-19 (71 percent) and its impact on the national economy (76 percent). While there is an underlying desire to return to traditional patterns of shopping and socializing, these fears are causing consumers to want to shop local, make their budgets stretch further and engage with brands that feel safe and familiar.

“Consumers want to be optimistic about the future,” said Sarah O’Grady, vice president of marketing at Vericast, in a news release. “Unfortunately, virus and economic concerns are holding them back. This holiday season and throughout 2022, brands must help consumers feel in control and tended to, whether that’s through personalized offers, campaigns that highlight familiar routines/rituals, self-care messaging or by offering value at establishments close to home.”

2022’s conflicted consumer: What will fuel commerce in next year?

To deliver on these nuances and create meaningful connections, brands need access to a combination of intelligence, data and technology that seamlessly works together to keep pace with constantly evolving consumer behavior. Now more than ever, building long-lasting customer relationships requires a deep understanding of ever-changing preferences.

2022’s conflicted consumer: What will fuel commerce in next year?

Additional findings include:

Consumers want control and comfort

  • Consumers are eager to make up for lost time, but only if it feels safe. This holiday season they plan to stay local, socialize on a smaller scale and avoid crowds. They are also less comfortable with public transportation.
  • 60 percent of consumers plan to have smaller gatherings this holiday season; 75 percent are comfortable with in-state travel and 71 percent want to support local stores and restaurants.

Consumers emphasize self-care

  • The pandemic still weighs heavy; 30 percent of consumers are looking for ways to care for their mental, emotional and physical health. This is up from 18 percent in March.
  • Half of Gen Z and 43 percent of millennials say a break from work and daily responsibilities is important when celebrating the holidays, hinting at stress and burnout in these groups.
  • Brands should help reduce stress with special offers, self-care treats and supportive messages.

Savings at local shops will reap rewards

  • More than half of survey participants (55 percent) plan to shop in person at stores within their community this holiday season due to shipping delays experienced last year and 39 percent want information on where to find the best local deals.
  • To connect with shoppers, brands should focus on meeting people where they are with savings at nearby shops, outlets and restaurants.

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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