That time of year has already come again, hasn’t it? It’s a common saying, packed with earnest intentions and fervent determination. Now more than any other time of year, consumers are keen to explore new options and eager for the next best thing, the absolute hottest products that the market has to offer – and they’re looking for you to deliver them.
It’s an intimidating position that you’re in. What’s hot and new doesn’t just change from year to year or even season to season anymore. With the advent of the internet and apps like TikTok, what’s trending can change in a matter of days.
Alas, we have good news for you: what’s trending may be fleeting, but the making of a trend is a little more enduring. Why are consumers making the choices that they are? What motivates them, inspires them, invigorates them? The answer to all these questions and more comes down to understanding consumer trends. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a grasp on the trends you can expect to see this year, which will, undoubtedly (as trends always have), affect what will be trending – and set you on track to position yourself as 2024’s newest trendsetter.
Let’s dig in!
Probably not what you want to hear . . . but expect consumer spending to slow
It’s no secret that the past few years have been an economic rollercoaster. In 2022, we saw a rise in “revenge spending” – the spending spree phenomenon that naturally occurred after nearly two years of social distancing, financial uncertainty, and pent-up savings.(1) According to this same source, the spending spree continued into 2023, but in 2024, it seems things will begin to taper off. With inflation and economic uncertainty afoot, Forrester predicts that consumers will become more mindful of where and how they are spending, meaning that products with a slightly lower cost and higher perceived value will likely be highly sought after. Think “more bang for your buck.” Armed with this information, we’ll work to build campaigns that make sense and will help you continue to build brand equity even through the lull.
Increasingly Younger Buying Base = New Buying Behaviors
Millennials now hold the most purchasing power – and in the next 10 years or so, Gen Z is expected to take over the economy.(2) The shifting age of the core buying base in all markets isn’t a trend so much as it is our new reality; but what this means for their buying habits is certainly a shift from trends you may be accustomed to with older generations.
Though Millennials and Gen Z differ in many ways, there are some key areas where they share similarities. According to this post by SalesForce, both have been hit hard by inflation, and consequently, spend much less than previous generations.(3) Salesforce continues by pointing out how, regardless of the reduced spend, these generations enjoy doing a significant amount of their shopping online compared to other buyers. As a point of differentiation, however, Millennials are more inclined than Gen Z to indulge in traditional shopping experiences as well. Finally, 69 percent of Millennials and 63 percent of Gen Z feel emotionally connected to the brands they buy, which is why being a company and brand people can trust is so important!
Put all these factors together and what does that mean for you? It means that the new generations of buyers will likely expect higher quality products (less money to spend means being more selective), that eCommerce solutions and robust online marketing efforts are paramount, and, as the SalesForce article concludes, you need to be able to provide unique purchasing experiences that show you value these buyers as individuals.
Is sustainability still a thing? Yes! And it’s a hotter topic than ever!
We’ve mentioned this on our site before, here …but listen, it’s for good reason. Fortunately for our planet, the sustainability craze isn’t going anywhere. Business Wire revealed that a whopping 60 percent of consumers globally rate sustainability as an important factor when making a purchase.(4) Additionally, more than one-third of the market is willing to spend more on products or services that are sustainable.
Let’s put this in simple terms: if you’re not committed to sustainability, that decision can make or break your sales, brand loyalty, and brand endurance. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, excluding sustainable options from your product offerings and marketing tactics is not just cheating the planet or even your customers, who will simply go somewhere else. In the end, you will only end up cheating yourself. When you need help sourcing sustainable and earth-friendlier products, and also creating messaging to put on these products to help make them meaningful to the recipient, you need to have a conversation with us!
The more things change, the more things stay the same.
If “new year, new me” is the saying to live by for the consumer, perhaps this is a concept you can take comfort in as you navigate the year ahead. As we covered, what’s trending can change at the drop of a hat; and even trends, though far more tenacious, ebb and flow over a longer period of time. But what remains constant is that the latter informs the former – consumer and social trends are the foundation of what will be trending.
Basically – take heart and be empowered! The list above is a jumping off point for what trends to expect in 2024 and how to answer them, but over the course of this blog, you’ve unwittingly gained something even more valuable – an understanding of how to take cues from consumers and answer them in your product offerings and marketing strategy. New and trending products aren’t for everyone. Your brand story is unique to you, which means sourcing products that help you tell that story most effectively. In some cases, this might mean that a sticky note and pen combo with a great message will be far more effective at keeping you top of mind and creating revenue opportunities. Or maybe a budget-friendly water bottle is the way to go. Our strength is learning about you, your clients, and their competition to make sure that you’re putting your best brand forward in ways that make sense for who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. This knowledge and partnership will not only get you through the new year, enabling you to deliver what’s hot and new in the current moment, but for many more years to come, too.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your mark and go get ‘em, trendsetter.
Check out our collection of top trending products HERE.
Contact us today to set up a call with a dedicated member of our team to discuss how you can position yourself as a trendsetter in 2024.