If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. That being said, looking ahead to see what trends experts across industries are predicting to have a significant impact can help you uncover opportunities to expand your business, generate new revenue streams, and prepare for potential disruptions.

At Innovationedge, we’ve been tracking data and gathering insights to identify how these trends may influence consumer trends over the next year. Here’s our forecast for 2023:

Trend #1: Channel Diversification

In recent years, the digital direct-to-consumer model has dominated the playing field, serving as the foundation for many new organizations and startups.

However, McKinsey & Company points out that “mounting digital marketing costs and e-commerce readjustments have put the viability of the model into question.”

To build resiliency, brands need to diversify their channel mix by supplementing direct-to-consumer transactions with wholesale and third-party marketplace options. Look for ways to expand your reach and your customer base this year by exploring new channels for growth.

Trend #2: A Shift in Consumer Spending

While factors like disposable income level and savings will change how individual consumers are impacted by economic turbulence this year, we expect to see a decrease in discretionary purchases, especially luxury items.

Consumers will be looking for bargains and discounts, which will generate a higher demand for resale and rental items.

Companies that invest in customer loyalty programs and change their business models to provide a wider range of payment options may be able to adapt to this shift without diluting their existing brands, but we also expect to see an increase in businesses and platforms that focus on more sustainable, cost-effective options.

Planned obsolescence may become a thing of the past as consumers place a heavier emphasis on purchasing items they can easily repair to save money in the future.

WGSN predicts we may even see companies provide repairability ratings for their products and offer subscription services for expensive purchases, like appliances and electronics, to provide ongoing repairs for a monthly fee.

Related: 7 Upcoming Megatrends To Tap Into

Trend #3: Social and Sustainable Accountability

With access to more information than ever, customers and consumers today have the ability to hold brands accountable, especially when it comes to social and sustainability issues.

Long gone are the days of simply updating a brand’s logo or marketing materials to appeal to ethically conscience shoppers.

Today, consumers can spot greenwashing a mile away and they’re not afraid to scrutinize the actions (or lack thereof) that companies take.

Clear communication backed by credentials, certifications, and facts will be necessary for organizations to maintain and gain consumer trust moving forward.

It’s crucial for companies to show that they are making meaningful changes while abiding by the emerging regulatory requirements we’re seeing across industries.

This may involve rethinking product designs, exploring more transparent marketing campaigns, diversifying teams and creating more accessible work environments, reassessing wages and benefit packages, and developing more inclusive in-store and digital shopping experiences.

Related: Supporting Teams & People During the Great Attrition

Trend #4: Regional Focus

Rising geopolitical uncertainty is making it more challenging for organizations to determine where to invest their resources this year.

To add to this, concerns about our economy and climate are taking a toll on consumer confidence, which means we expect many companies to play it safe this year by re-prioritizing their regional growth opportunities and tailoring their strategies to focus on the geographies they operate within.

Organizations will need careful planning to navigate the recessionary risks and uncertainties 2023 has in store.

Take the time to revisit your company’s vision and make sure there’s alignment around key functions. 

Then, focus on attracting and retaining top talent, elevating your current team members, and incentivizing C-suite roles to execute on priorities, like adopting new commerce channels, improving sustainability initiatives, and accelerating in the digital space.

Related: A Year in Review: Three Trends That Defined 2022

Trend #5: Enhanced Digitization

As regulations around consumer data increase, audience targeting is becoming less accurate and more expensive.

That means it’s time for brands to get creative with their digital marketing campaigns and explore new channels.

In 2023, expect to see more companies testing out ad campaigns in the metaverse and expanding their reach across media networks to increase ROI.

Investing in customer loyalty programs and applications can also provide your organization with valuable first-party data that, when used correctly, can help them deepen customer relationships.

Finally, expect to see brands focus on initiatives that allow them to gather zero-party data—or insights their customers and consumers voluntarily provide. Look for opportunities to encourage discussions with your audience and listen closely to what they have to say.

To start, consider implementing surveys, polls, and interactive quizzes as part of your digital marketing program. Depending on your organization, you may also consider hosting live events, virtual Q&As, or round tables to get authentic feedback from your audience in real-time. 

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