Five compelling consumer trends have emerged that will undoubtedly shape this new decade in many industries, including promotional marketing. The trends, identified in the 2020 Trend Report and reported in TrendWatching Quarterly Briefing by David Mattin, global head of trends and highlights at TrendWatching, include green pressure, brand avatars, metamorphic design, burnout and civil media. Read more about each one below and use these as a jumping off point to discuss, debate and ultimately decide how they apply to your business and what opportunities they bring.

  1. Green Pressure: This is when eco-friendly becomes more than intended—it becomes a status symbol. As the report describes it, “When sustainable alternatives are widespread, affordable and just as good or better than the legacy option, then eco-consumption becomes less about the status of opting in and more about the shame of opting out. That’s why in 2020, millions of consumers will seek out products, services and experiences that help them alleviate rising eco-shame.”
  2. Brand Avatars: The report says that this year consumers are expected to pay more attention to brands personified by virtual characters and avatars. It cites the rise in popularity of digital channels such as Tik Tok, Fortnite and Alexa and in-store touchscreens that encourage conversations between consumers and brands and help them forge deeper relationships with brands through AI-powered connections.
  3. Metamorphic Design: The report says this trend has come about through the convergence of two powerful consumer expectations: the desire for personalization and to get everything as a service. These two factors have caused consumers to reimagine conveniences. The report says, “Facial recognition, sensors and smart objects are turning the world into a landscape that shifts and changes around consumers. The result is ever-heightening expectations for responsive personalization. No wonder 39 percent of global businesses say they have started to deliver personalized experiences in real-time.”
  4. The Burnout: The modern pressures of daily life are increasing stress and anxiety levels among working adults worldwide—so much that in May 2019 the World Health Organization added burnout as an occupational health hazard. This phenomenon is also creating opportunities for companies and brands to help employees and consumers handle burnout.
  5. Civil Media: This trend speaks to the importance of using social media not just for promotions and positioning but to form truly meaningful connections. According to the report: “In 2020 consumers will seek an antidote to vast and toxic online communities and social media platforms. They’ll embrace smaller and more intimate digital spaces that facilitate respectful and meaningful connections, let them interact with like-minded peers and allow them to truly be themselves.”

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