Consumer research platform Attest has released new data on the marketing trends that will shape 2023.
The research is found within its third annual UK Consumer Trends report which tracks sentiment and behaviours ahead of the new year.
Divided sentiment amongst consumers and three key worries weigh on their minds
The data reveals that a slim majority of British consumers (46%) are feeling positive; by contrast, 30% feel negative as they head into the New Year.
When it comes to what’s stressing the nation out, their biggest worries for next year are unaffordable energy bills (59%), followed far behind by the war in Ukraine (7%) and increases in petrol prices (6%).
Key findings for the marketing industry include:
Britons want brands to reassure and also expect marketing to get political
Perhaps influenced by ongoing economic uncertainty, Britons want to be told everything’s going to be alright; with an 11.4 point uplift from last year in the number of consumers who want to hear reassuring messaging from brands (to stand at 45%).
Overall, humorous messaging is slightly more popular (at 49%), but consumers also want to hear and see motivational messages from brands in 2023 (at 40%).
Poverty and /inequality was the top issue people want brands to address (45%), an 11.4 point increase from last year’s findings, pointing to a broader awareness of those struggling with the cost of living crisis. This is followed by climate change (41%), racism (31%) and animal welfare (28%).
Meanwhile, just 16% of Britons believe brands shouldn’t address political or societal issues.
Rampant consumerism is going out of fashion, with discount shopping on the rise
Frugality is cool for 2023. The research found that 40% of consumers said they are buying fewer things and consuming less – that’s an 8.5 point increase from last year. Meanwhile, 44% of consumers will sell their unwanted goods, meaning the pre-loved market could be booming next year.
Shopping at charity and discount stores will also be a big trend in 2023, with 35% of consumers saying they’ll be hunting for a bargain in these shops to combat the rising cost of living. The environmental effects of fast fashion have been in the spotlight lately and it seems to have had an impact also. A net -23.5% of consumers say they will buy fewer fast fashion items in 2023.
TikTok is taking off for brands and email marketing remains strong
The number of consumers who engage with brands on TikTok has increased by 7.4 points since last year to 27%. Overall, engagement with brands on social media has increased by 7.8 points to 83%.
However, the ever-dependable email remains an invaluable channel for brands to reach all age groups, with “once a week” being the preferred cadence for mailings. The percentage of consumers who don’t want to receive marketing emails at all is just 10%.
Virtual reality also sees growth, but streaming subscriptions suffer
Ownership of virtual reality (VR) headsets is growing; a quarter of UK households have one (at 25%). A further 25% of Britons who don’t have a VR headset state they plan to get one, highlighting a developing opportunity within virtual worlds for advertising.
Yet subscriptions appear to be a casualty of the rising cost of living, with 62% of consumers cancelling one. TV streaming services were the most likely to be axed (at 22%), showing the challenge facing brands in reaching consumers on the right channel, especially with platforms like Netflix opening up advertising options.
"Tectonic shifts in expectations, perceptions, channels and value"
Jeremy King, CEO and Founder of Attest, said of the research: “As we enter the new year, Attest’s research finds the British consumer in an important and high-value state of flux. Inflation and economic uncertainty appear to weigh heavily on their minds, reflected in the want for brands to provide a mix of humour, inspiration and motivational messages for 2023.”
“Changes to fundamental behaviours are afoot also. Frugality is on the spectrum between necessary and contemporary. This research paints a picture of consumers trying to react to worsening economic conditions - with tectonic shifts in expectations, perceptions, channels and value - meaning brands now more than ever need to be on top of the changing needs and wants of consumers to succeed.”