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Mintel Identifies Key Consumer Trends

Market research firm Mintel has identified four key trends set to impact North American consumer markets over the coming year.

In the year ahead, Mintel has predicted, companies will speak out to prove that they’re trustworthy as consumers reprioritize who and what they believe in. In addition, brands will find a greater opportunity in aligning their efforts with value and to prioritize bargain-hunting consumers. With tumultuous news at their fingertips, consumers will focus on self-care as they seek to better themselves going forward. At the same time, technology will finally catch up with human preferences through voice- and visual-based devices and software.

Carli Gernot, Mintel manager of trends, North America, said, “As consumers grapple with news that may or may not be ‘fake,’ with corporations acting in ways that foster mistrust and with organizations voicing beliefs and philosophies, more consumers will reprioritize who and what they trust in 2018. Today, trust has become one of the strongest drivers in how consumers choose products, services, and which organizations and politicians to support. Product innovation that meets the changing needs of apprehensive consumers can build or redeem trust, including adding more information to packaging or incorporating livestreams of production methods. In the year ahead, brands will need to court consumers with transparency, honesty and facts.”

Gernot noted that budget-minded consumers are weighing multiple factors in each purchase decision, and brands are making these individuals a priority.

“While it’s true that values matter, brands are similarly clear about the importance of value when appealing to lower-income or merely budget-focused consumers,” Gernot said. “Consumers, on the whole, are feeling a bit more positive about their money, although they are still cautious with spending. Tighter budgets will cause many consumers to re-evaluate whether their go-to choices are worth the cost and brands need to be able to respond accordingly.”

As for personal wellness, Stacy Bingle, consumer trends consultant at Mintel, said, “Interest in self-care and preventative health has been building for decades, but a combination of strong forces is bringing these topics into the spotlight. Fake news, global terror threats and sociopolitical unease are impacting consumers’ well-being. This is motivating many to incorporate proactive wellness methods into their daily routines. Emerging concerns that affect various groups will require more personalized pathways to health in the coming year. The opportunity is ripe for brands in any sector to develop their support roles for the growing number of consumers seeking to better themselves and get ahead of health concerns.”