Sustainability and Hybrid Commerce: Consumer Trends 2022

GfK study sees sustainability as this year's the top trend - here are the main topics for retailers, manufacturers and consumers

Gfk study on sustainable consumption trend 2022
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Author: GfK

  • GfK study shows that sustainability will remain the most important trend in 2022
  • FMCG and food products rely on green glamor without sacrifice
  • The magic word phygital as the new omnichannel of retail

Another Corona year is coming to an end. But how does the pandemic affect consumers, their values ​​and buying behavior ? And which trends will shape the year 2022? GfK experts look back and provide a data-based outlook on the topics retailers, manufacturers and consumers will deal with in 2022.

Sustainability is and will remain the most important trend: 74% of Germans are worried about environmental pollution, 69% fear climate change. Over two thirds (68%) demand that companies behave as environmentally conscious as possible, for example by using environmentally friendly materials. Especially for younger millennials social sustainability is also becoming an increasingly important factor.

“The number of 'Glamor Green' consumers is growing,” says Petra Süptitz, consumer insights expert at GfK. “Sustainability is very important to this target group, but they are not willing to sacrifice. Instead, 'eco' means a new coolness: glamor greens wear shirts with eco-statements, post on social media about sustainability topics and buy products that combine a conscious lifestyle with joie de vivre and status. "

Glamor greens are becoming an increasingly important target group for companies. At the same time, the proportion of people in society who would like to act more conscious, but do not know exactly how, is increasing. This is where companies can position themselves by offering this group information, support and the right products.

Fast moving consumer goods: glamor greens are turning the market upside down

The trend towards sustainability is also reflected in the area of ​​fast moving consumer goods. Vegan 'plant food' was the most important in 2021 food trend in this market. Meat and cheese substitute products recorded a 44% increase in sales this year; vegetable milk substitutes increased by 36%. Organic food recorded an increase in sales of 14% - albeit starting from a significantly higher base than other product groups. Organic has arrived in the mainstream market and will continue to gain market share in 2022.

Gfk study on sustainable consumption trend 2022 Vegan Food

“The changes among market participants that we were able to observe in 2021 are interesting,” comments Robert Kecskes, retail expert at GfK. “We often observe a triangular constellation among the manufacturer brands: market leader, traditional main competitor and newcomer. The newcomers are currently putting the established brands under great pressure. This trend is carried by the glamor greens. Since the new brands embody the interplay of responsibility and lifestyle, they are very popular within this target group."

Addressing different target groups with specific strategies is crucial for success: Values ​​such as sustainability and social responsibility should be communicated specifically to the target group. Digital measurement methods such as the GfK Brand Architect can be used to trace which messages are the most important buyers for which customers, so that your own messaging can be adjusted accordingly.

Technology products: Sustainability as a growth opportunity in a stable market

The market for technical consumer goods will develop stable to slightly positive in terms of sales in 2022. However, the growth comes due to higher prices, not from units. The higher average prices will be influenced by three trends in the next year: premiumization, increased prices due to a lack of availability and generally by inflation.

There are growth opportunities for sustainable products: “Large household appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators, have raised the market's growth rates in 2020 and 2021. This market has growth opportunities in the area of ​​energy efficiency, since sustainability is also playing an increasingly important role for technical products”, says Alexander Dehmel, an expert on market data at GfK. However, the market development is also related to the development of the pandemic: Will there be further lockdowns? Will stationary retailers continue to lose ties with consumers?

Gfk study on sustainable consumption trend 2022 retail online

'Phygital' is the magic word in retail

Another result of the corona pandemic is affecting the retail industry . Online commerce grew 56% during the pandemic. Omnichannel retailers even exceeded this with growth of almost 80% and a higher conversion rate than pure online retailers. “During the pandemic, 83% of all consumers changed their shopping behavior. Even older people have explored online shopping ”, comments Oliver Schmitz, expert on trading topics at GfK. "The future of commerce is clearly phygital."

Source:

GfK Consumer Life is the most comprehensive and longest-running consumer trend study in the world. It is conducted annually with over 30.000 consumers in more than 25 countries and provides detailed information on all aspects of people's lives, including their desires, personal values, future worldviews and worries, lifestyles and consumer behavior and much more. Here it goes to GfK study.

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