Consumer Pulse

October 12 2020
Consumer Pulse
We’re seeing trends move at lightspeed in our industry, but what consumer trends are solidifying that you should be taking note of? 2020 has brought on a lot of pain and discomfort to the world - from our ongoing health crisis to social crises all the way to an economic crisis.
Ani WellsOctober 12 2020

We’re seeing trends move at lightspeed in our industry, but what consumer trends are solidifying that you should be taking note of? 2020 has brought on a lot of pain and discomfort to the world - from our ongoing health crisis to social crises all the way to an economic crisis. We’ve been through a lot this year, to say the least, and it’s showed us how quickly consumer demands can change based on the current events in the world around us. As consumers realize these trying times may be sticking around for longer than we had hoped, we are desperately craving feelings of comfort and safety, and it is absolutely crucial for brands and retailers to face these new expectations by creating purposeful digital brand experiences and solidifying trusting relationships.


A survey from EY’s Future Consumer Index reported that 40% of US consumers see authenticity and honesty in brands as extremely important when making a purchasing decision. So be honest, be emotional, be real, and be authentic. It is pretty logical when you break it down. Authenticity breeds trust and trust builds a loyal fan base. But, as more and more labor investigations are exposed to the public, consumer feelings of distrust with brands continue to grow. Labor and supply chain issues are human rights issues, which is why they tend to resonate with consumers more. 50% of people in every country say that fair conditions and wages for workers are very important to them and only 21% of consumers reported trusting brands. Consumers are also starting to hold brands accountable for their actions and it is becoming expected that you follow certain standards. One way to prove this and solidify trust with consumers is by implementing traceable supply chains through blockchain technology. Some other creative approaches out there are live camera feeds within factories, like Fashion Images Overseas. Consumers are demanding more transparency and goodwill missions from brands and it is extremely exciting to see how businesses can change our societies for the better. This is a critical time for retailers and brands, as trust will be one of the top factors that impact where consumers choose to put their money.


We definitely saw consumers’ initial relief when lockdown measures and laws were being lifted, but we’ve gotten settled into our new reality, trying to control what we can to secure our futures. Many of us have nightmares about the 2008 crash or watched their parents struggle through it. And the uncertainty of what the future holds only fuels our increasing concerns about the economic outlook and our own financial well-being. This has consumers prioritizing saving and reassessing their spending. 48% of people say they will be shopping less frequently and when 16.6% of consumers believe their incomes will be decreasing, can you blame them? As consumers evaluate what is truly important to them and reevaluate their values and spending habits, they will be buying less, but better by spending money on things that make them feel good or feel like they are contributing to something good.


Comfort is king right now, which is why consumers appreciate a stripped-back version of “beauty” and also part of the reason oversized silhouettes and minimalism are very prevalent right now. Instead of the traditional glossy depictions of aspirational / unattainable lifestyles spanned across magazines and digital billboards, people are looking for relatable moments of everyday life in a non-overly edited way. We come back to the idea of authenticity here and being real with your customers. When automated responses or invitations are sent, it automatically creates feelings of distrust and makes the consumer feel they are not truly being heard or appreciated. We are all human and since we are living in such a hyper-digital world, consumers place a lot of value in brands that make them feel human. However, 37% of American consumers noted that their online shopping habits will increase! Online customization and personalization can add that special touch while new tools like virtual reality, streaming, video conferencing, and digital collections, are blending the physical-digital world offering a new way of engagement for brands and retailers. A perfect example of this is Calik’s Mobile app which offers another touchpoint to serve existing clients and engage with new customers through thoughtful content. But always be sure to have a human-centric approach to your digital initiatives.


How many emails have you received in the past months that start with, “I hope this email finds you safe and well”? Safety has become our top concern, while the health and wellness movement also continues to grow. Consumers are feeling anxiety, denial and hope all at the same time, and are starting to realize that their health and happiness really depend on our interactions with other humans. Brands that are building communities or a sense of digital closeness are creating loyal customers that put their trust in them, making them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. When you have a community of support, you feel safe and you feel appreciated, and that makes our future consumer happy. Now is the time to engage with your current customer base and create long-lasting relationships. There are many approaches you can take to creating community, but some examples include creating private Instagram accounts where only the most loyal customers follow, creating Facebook groups, or creating a brand “lifestyle” that consumers can buy into. These decentralized retail / brand concepts can bring a mix of community, entertainment, and shopping together so you are everything your customer needs. The wellness movement has taken off as a means of entertainment turning to self-care for fun quarantine activities but this trend also presents an opportunity for the denim industry. New fabrics that prioritize our health and the wellness of our planet will be of extreme interest to the consumer like hemp, essential oil-infused fabrics, recycled contents, and more natural fibers. As we’re living through these challenging times, we have really started to realize the impact we have on the planet and the people. The pandemic has taken us through a rollercoaster of emotions, which has impacted what we want and the way we shop. And with the speed at which we are seeing change, it is important to have your finger on the pulse of the consumer. Consumers drive our industry and they decide what’s in and what’s not. The times are changing quickly! Will you keep up with the pace?

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