5 trends for small businesses to watch in 2022

From prioritising happiness, to taking action on climate change, and getting real on social media, here are five key consumer trends that are set to grow in 2022.

Consumer behaviour is constantly changing, and it can be hard for small businesses to keep up. That’s why we’ve compiled the most relevant predictions from the experts at Forrester, WGSN, Mintel, and Google, and highlighted how small businesses can embrace them in 2022.

1. The pursuit of happiness

Saying the past two years have been difficult is an understatement. Some people have lost loved ones, others have lost jobs, and everyone has had to adapt to a new way of doing things – from social distancing to remote working. So it’s not surprising that people are looking to enjoy life a little more in 2022. 

“I’m looking for brands that make me happy, make me relax, and that put me in a good mood to help me escape,” one person told Forrester’s Market Research team.  

To tap into this trend, consider how your business can improve your customers’ mood and mindset – whether by selling physical goods for self-care, such as comfort food or at-home spa kits, or by creating opportunities for them to spend more time with family and friends. 

2. No more digital divide

COVID-19 has permanently changed the way consumers interact with companies, raising expectations for seamless omnichannel offerings across all age groups. In 2022, Forrester believes the majority of people will see the world as all-digital and the divide between offline and online will disappear. 

To avoid getting left behind, you should invest in your website on a regular basis. You can use hummpro to pay for software solutions that will enable people to browse your products and services, ask questions, place orders, and make bookings without leaving their couch. 

3. Social media gets real

As the next generation of internet users becomes more aware of the negative impact that unrealistic filters can have on body image and mental health, WGSN predicts they will start to present more raw and transparent representations of themselves online, driving the rise of the ‘filterless feed’ in 2022. 

With this in mind, you should place a strong emphasis on authenticity in your marketing, especially on social media. If you work with influencers, be sure to choose ones who are relatable rather than aspirational. You don’t want to send a message that customers need to change who they really are to align with your brand. 

4. Ethics become an expectation

In recent years, businesses have become increasingly outspoken on topics like modern slavery and gender equality, but it’s no longer enough to say you’re ethical. In 2022, consumers will expect brands to take measurable, transparent, consistent actions, and honestly acknowledge where they have room for improvement, according to Mintel. 

As a small business, you may not have the resources to publish an annual CSR report or hire a diversity expert like Kathmandu and David Jones, but you can still meet consumer expectations by sharing a list of your suppliers on your website, or partnering with charities that align with your values. 

5. Climate change is top of mind

As climate change becomes more of a concern for people, Google predicts consumers will choose to support brands that make it easy to go green by incorporating sustainability into the products and services they sell. 

“Individuals already have so much to consider when making purchases, they don’t want another level of research related to sustainability,” Jenny Fernandez, Human Truths Insights Lead at Google Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said.

To appeal to these consumers, consider reducing your carbon footprint by switching to a green energy provider, or offsetting your emissions. While you might face higher upfront costs, you can gain some breathing room in your cashflow by using hummpro to pay for your business expenses.

Consumer trends and expectations are constantly changing, but with access to interest-free finance from hummpro, you can invest in the tools and technology you need to keep up.

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