By Christine Pelosi, Information Specialist, 4A’s Research, [email protected].
The start of a new year brings reflection on the past and a look towards the future, making it just the right time to predict what trends will make an impact. Read on for the seven trends we predict will be big in 2020.
In the new year, customer experience will be a competitive advantage for brands who have successfully incorporated it into their marketing strategy. Consumers expect to receive a more customized experience and are willing to share personal data to get it. In trade they want the following:
- Expert service and support
- Product availability
- Seamless experience.
Forrester agrees that customer experience will flourish in the new year. Its Predictions 2020 report states “innovative, customer-delighting experiences to come to market that combine technology, creativity, and deep customer understanding.” Forrester predicts that companies who don’t focus on customer experience will face the consequences: customers will take their loyalties elsewhere.
- Forbes, 5 Trends Shaping Customer Experience in 2020, December 2019
- Microsoft, Retail Trends Playbook 2020, February 2019
- PwC, Experience is Everything: How to Get it Right, March 2018
Micro-influencers Will Reign
Consumer trust in influencers is decreasing, but micro-influencers will continue to have an impact. Micro-influencers feel like close friends and are authentic people who have connections with specific brands, as well as a social media following.
The benefits for brands working with micro-influencers include access to a niche market audience, high consumer trust, approachability, less expense, and higher engagement rates.
- Adweek, 8 Advertising Trends Experts Predict Will Die Out in 2020, December 2019
- FTC, Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers, November 2019
- Forbes, 5 Influencer Marketing Trends that Will Shape 2020, December 2019
- Hubspot, Micro-Influencer Marketing, July 2019
- Sprout Social, What are the Advantages of Micro-Influencer Marketing?, August 2019
Conscious Consumption Starts with You
Sustainability is impacting buying decisions as consumers become more conscious of the amount of waste they create.
The secondhand apparel market and rental services are growing rapidly. Trends in plant-based eating, zero-waste grocery stores, reusable packaging, and cutting back on air travel all show that consumers are taking on the responsibility of changing their own habits to effect change, instead of looking toward brands and companies to do so.
- Fast Company, A Coalition of Giant Brands is About to Change How We Shop Forever, with a New Zero-waste Platform, January 2019
- Los Angeles Times, Flight Shame: Airlines are Under Rising Pressure to Cut Their Carbon Emissions, August 2019
- Pinterest, Top Trends to Inspire and Try in 2020, December 2019
- Smithsonian Magazine, Rise of ‘Zero-Waste’ Grocery Stores, February 2019
- ThredUp, 2019 Resale Report, March 2019
- Wall Street Journal, Can Zero-Waste Grocery Stores Make a Difference?, March 2019
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect Jan 1. Other states are introducing similar privacy laws that will go into effect throughout the year, while some businesses are deciding to apply the CCPA rules nationwide.
Consumers are still willing to give up their data for convenience and better experiences, but they expect companies to protect the data they provide and be transparent with how they use it.
The 4A’s Government Relations team created this great outline on what agencies need to know to successfully navigate CCPA.
- Accenture, See People | Not Patterns, October 2019
- PwC, Top Policy Trends 2020: Data Privacy, November 2019
Fight Over “Meat”
Would it be wrong to say that 2019 was the year of plant-based foods? This trend will still be going strong in 2020—Impossible Foods just debuted plant-based pork, Impossible Pork, at CES.
The debate on the actual definition of meat and dairy products and labeling requirements will come to a head in 2020. The debate has been going on for years; we’ve already seen lawsuits from both sides on product labeling in states across the country, as well as Europe. The concern over making sure consumers know the difference between meat/dairy and plant-based will heighten as alternatives become more and more popular, plant-based brands continue to innovate, and restaurants and groceries use it to lure in younger consumers. The outcome will have a huge impact on how brands in this space name and market their products.
- New York Times, You Call That Meat? Not so Fast, Cattle Ranchers Say, February 2019
- New York Times, Fake Meat War, July 2019
- Washington Post, What’s in a Name? The Battle Over Alternative Meat, Milk, and Rice Labeling Rages On, April 2019
In 2020, we’ll see the rise of burnout: chronic workplace stress that’s not successfully managed. The World Health Organization put the spotlight on burnout last May when it included it in their International Classification of Diseases. The always-on work culture, toxic bosses, bullying, harassment, discrimination, and lack of time for personal lives all contribute to burnout. To help change this burnout culture, the 4A’s teamed up with Made of Millions to open up dialogue between managers and employers on mental health.
Workers will look to brands for solutions to help manage workplace stress. Check out how some brands like WPP Health, Microsoft, and even Ikea are releasing solutions to burnout in creative ways from Trendwatching.
- The Atlantic, Workism is Making America Miserable, February 2019
- LinkedIn, 20 Big Ideas That Will Change Your World in 2020, December 2019
Technology, specifically excessive social media use, can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. The rise in single-person households is also a contributing factor. Loneliness impacts a person’s health, both physical and mental, and is an issue across generations.
Exercise, volunteering, sleeping better, even going into the office help alleviate loneliness. This will come off as counterintuitive, but technology can also help combat loneliness. Apps can help bring people with common interests together. There are robotic companions that provide emotional support and even hold conversations. Opportunities exist for brands from a variety of industries to provide solutions to help combat loneliness in innovative ways.
- Solo Living, Healthful Apps for When You are Feeling Lonely, April 2019
- Vox, Big Business of Loneliness, April 2019
- Wall Street Journal, On-Demand Grandkids and Robot Pals to Keep Senior Loneliness at Bay, February 2019