How the last 2 years have shaped audiences’ thinking, behaviour and habits
by Hayley Fox, Head of Insight Innovation, Global

Hayley reveals key consumer trends driven by the needs for security, connection and meaning. 

14th April 2022 Read time: 5 minutes Watch time: 41 minutes

In the last two years, audiences’ behaviours have changed, preferences have shifted, and attitudes have varied. As the world emerges from the pandemic, marketers are keen to understand audiences’ behaviour based on their needs. Recognising these needs and how they are driving trends equips brands with the tools to connect with audiences authentically and with empathy.

Hayley Fox, Head of Insight Innovation at Global, joined the What’s Possible Community to share insights from the award-winning, Audience Insider tracker on what audiences are currently thinking and feeling and how brands should be reacting.

The tracker acts as a barometer of what the nation is thinking and feeling every week. Marketers can get free access to this dashboard by clicking here.

Keeping up with the Consumers

Global’s survey incorporates the views of more than 22,000 people. They have prepared a report on these views that has uncovered some key consumer trends underpinned by consumers’ needs for security, connection and meaning, inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Hayley admits that while they were hoping to focus on the higher placed needs (connection and meaning) on the pyramid in their latest report, security is still front and centre of consumers’ minds.

As we are beginning to feel the financial aftermath of COVID, combined with the impact of the war in Ukraine, we are back to focusing pretty much all our attention again on the most basic but important need of security,” Hayley said.

The ongoing COVID effect

The past two years have caused much disruption in people’s lives. COVID, Hayley believes, has been a mass behaviour disruptor and is universally recognised as a significant life-altering event.

She quotes Richard Shotton, a behavioural specialist, who revealed that consumers are 2.5 times more likely to switch brands after having experienced a disrupting life event.

In February 2022, Global ran a survey about consumer habits, delving into how they live their lives, and future intentions. They found that three-quarters of the nation say their lives have changed because of the pandemic, and one-third of those expressing their lives have changed forever.

This has culminated in consumers shopping online, hybrid working, prioritising family time and protecting their mental health.

In April 2022, Global ran another survey that included a question on the rising cost of living.

They found that 86% of the nation said the rising cost of living would impact them – with 53% saying it will impact them a lot. A vast 65% indicated that they are changing the way they live their lives.

Consequently, the nation is wondering how continuing disruption will affect their wallets. 69% believe the financial impact of Covid will last for 12 months or more.

On the question of what has become more important over the past month to consumers, they responded: family (49%), mental health (42%), financial security (42%), physical health (38%), and happiness (38%).

Moreover, consumers are looking to protect their wallets and ensure they get value for money on any purchases. 47% of the nation say they are cooking from scratch and making more meals at home to save money. And 67% of the nation report that they subscribe to a TV subscription in hopes it will bring them joy.

How brands should react

Hayley concludes that their data is clear – the nation’s attention is focused on things that help them meet their needs. As a nation, security is the primary goal right now. She also suggested a few ways that brands can meet this need for security.

  • Send out factual yet reassuring comms (demonstrate compassion)
  • Be a trusted advisor. Hayley reports that 6 in 10 consumers want brands to help them make wise spending choices.
  • Play the long game: help consumers to make small changes now to foster loyalty & make more significant gains later
  • Reward loyalty: immediate discounts, not points
  • Prove your value: shout about multi-purpose
  • Understand the hierarchy of sacrifices for your customers
  • Keep top of mind: Habits are changing, and new ones are being formed.