A Retrospective on Consumer Behavior in 2022 and Forecasts for 2023

Updated: December 29, 2022
retrospective consumer behavior

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The COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly a major boost for technological acceleration and changes in consumer behavior. Trends were anticipated, and new behaviors emerged—from the way people search (Generation Z uses TikTok more than Google to do searches) to what people expect when buying and interacting with brands (such as seeking brands’ real purposes and a good user experience). Plus, new technologies have entered users’ radar, such as Metaverse, causing profound changes in consumer behavior in 2022 and accelerating trends for the year 2023.

In this article, we will review the main research and trends in user and consumer behavior in 2022, and make predictions about what to expect (and how to prepare) for 2023.

People Want Interactivity, Gamification, and Diverse Content

In the year 2022, Digital Marketing boosted new ways of consuming and creating content—as in the rise of short videos to educate and inform audiences. Among them, interactive content proved to be a very effective format to differentiate brands and make them memorable for their audience, staying in consumers’ minds.

According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 88% of marketers surveyed said that interactive content plays a very important role in differentiating their brands. In addition, the survey also shows that interactive content delivers 52.60% more engagement, which confirms consumers’ interest in this different content format.

Reinforcing the idea of interactivity, large companies in the market also bet on this type of content in 2022 to attract new customers and delight existing ones. As is the case with Spotify, which acquired Heardle, a question-and-answer game for music lovers. The game’s objective is for listeners to try to guess what the song is in the first few seconds of the melody.

In addition to Spotify, Netflix also impacted the market by acquiring a video game studio. This strategy was intended to bring games to the streaming platform, encouraging people to not only watch movies and TV series but to also become more involved, creating a more complete user experience.

Interactivity is definitely one of the strong trends for 2023. It helps companies offer a differentiated experience to their audience, leaving the power to choose how they want to consume this content in consumers’ hands, generating more connection and intimacy between brands and the public.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Are Also Important Issues

Representation continues to have a strong impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, especially those who fall into generations Y and Z, also called Generation P (Purpose). According to Global Consumer Pulse Research, a study done for Accenture, this generation represents almost 5 billion people.

In another survey, done by Adobe, 38% of respondents said they are more likely to consume products and services from brands that show diversity in their advertisements, and 34% have already boycotted a company or brand at least once because they don’t feel their identities were represented in company advertisements or actions.

Another crucial point when we talk about inclusion is digital accessibility. Currently, around 15% of the world’s population has some type of disability. And even so, many companies are still unprepared to serve this demographic.

A survey by the English company Click-Away Pound showed that 69% of respondents abandon websites due to a lack of accessibility. Additionally, 86% said they would spend more if online stores were accessible.

I think it’s undeniable how much the current generation cares about diversity, equity, and digital inclusion. So, to really connect with their audience, brands will need to take this topic seriously and invest in digital accessibility. In addition to complying with the law, it is a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and exceed your consumers’ expectations.

TikTok Is Getting Ahead of Even Google

In 2022, TikTok established itself as a fever among young people and adults and remains a very strong digital trend for next year.

The video application’s strength is so great that it is managing to go head to head with Google when it comes to doing searches. This is what an article published by Google itself showed, where it reports that almost 40% of Generation Z prefers searches on TikTok and Instagram over Google’s search and maps features.

With the app’s power, the “tiktokization” of other apps was gaining more and more ground. Instagram, for example, prioritized video with Reels, transforming its feed into the face of TikTok this year. YouTube also needed to position itself in the short video trend and launched YouTube Shorts, aiming to help content creators draw audience attention with shorter videos.

Therefore, as a marketer, you must remain attentive to TikTok and news released by the platform because it will continue to set trends in 2023.

Data Security Was Also Relevant and Continues to Be a Concern in 2023

Discussions regarding privacy in the digital environment, the end of third-party cookies, and growing concern about the LGPD took hold of agencies and brands’ marketing sectors.

A study published by Adobe—with nearly 6,000 consumers surveyed and over 900 leaders in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) region—showed that 70% of consumers are concerned about how companies are using their data.

Also, according to the study, 67% of respondents intend to stop buying from brands that mishandle their data. Therefore, data protection policies should be taken more seriously in 2023.

Customers who trust the brand tend to recommend it to friends, repeat purchases, and become company promoters on social media. This bond of trust between brands and users is certainly a trend (and a must) for next year.

(Good) Content Still Matters

According to research done by Google, 87% of content viewers say good content is personal and relevant. That is, good content delivers what the user is really looking for quickly and with high quality, promoting a good experience for the public.

Therefore, making regular content, without a defined strategy, is no longer enough these days. Brands need to worry about creating a connection with their audience, through content that increasingly generates a sense of community and belonging.

Thus, for Google users, for example, good content is relevant to them, intellectually and sensorially stimulating, and finally, emotionally resonant.

What About the Metaverse?

We couldn’t look back at consumer behavior in 2022 without mentioning the Metaverse, could we?

In fact, it’s not just the Metaverse, but new technologies such as virtual reality, NFTs, blockchain, and many others have become increasingly prevalent.

In 2022, big brands sought to reach their consumers through these new digital experiences. One example is the case of Coachella, which, after two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, returned in April this year and had several new features with the aim of innovating and creating meaningful experiences for its audience.

More traditional companies, such as Walmart, have also thrown themselves into the Metaverse, seeking to reach a younger audience, creating virtual spaces that offer interactive content and exclusive entertainment for their customers.

Have you ever thought about your brand also entering this world?

In Short…

After two difficult years, consumer behavior and priorities have changed, and 2023 promises to be the year we will see consolidation for most of the trends started in 2022.

Therefore, it is essential that brands generate a sincere connection with their audience, really ensure data security, and deliver high-quality, inclusive and diverse digital content with incredible experiences for their consumers wherever they are.

Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!


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