Your customers don’t buy like they used to. Gone are the days when TV ads ruled supreme. Nor do we scour the Argos catalogue for the latest hot products, or trudge through the yellow pages when we need our lawns cut. Nope – in 2022, there’s been a big shift in how we buy what we buy, and for a savvy business owner like you, it’s important to get a foothold on the buying trends of 2022.
Today, we’ll dive into the varying buying habits of different generations, and give you some quickfire tips to make sure you’re giving each of your customers exactly what they’re looking for. Let’s take a look!
Different buyers have different names – who knew?
First up, let’s start with some definitions. Gen this, millennial that – it can all get a tad confusing. In marketing, we group different buyers into different categories – it’s one of the ways we make our communications more relevant. Let’s briefly define the categories we’ll be talking about, and then we’ll get to the juicy stuff.
Gen X – Born between 1965 and 1979/80. Gen Xers represent a large portion of the buying market, so we’ll look at how they like to buy in the summaries below.
Millennials – You’re classed as a millennial if you were born between 1981 and 1996. Again, millennials have slightly different buying preferences than the other groups, so it’s important to get your marketing nailed on for how they like to buy.
Gen Z – The new kids on the block, born between 1997 and 2012. This generation has grown up with the internet, so they buy differently from someone from Gen X for example.
If we mention any of these below, refer back to these definitions. Don’t worry, we get confused too, especially as different sources give different age ranges and dates! Shall we get onto the important stuff now?
Influencers really do influence – even more than our family and friends!
The people we follow on social media play a big role in our buying decisions. They’re usually super niche accounts with a massive online following, and they tend to have an area they specialise in. We listen to them, too! Yep – a Youtube channel talking about cats all day can influence the food we buy for our pets. I guess it makes sense – you’d rather take cat advice from a cat expert than your friend who doesn’t have any pets. It’s all about trust, and we tend to trust people who know what they’re talking about.
In fact, 61% of consumers trust an influencer’s recommendation, which is a whopping 23% more than they trust branded social media content. We trust these people with our lives, and that’s why so many marketers are adding influencer marketing into their online strategy. Oh, and we ought to mention that influencer marketing campaigns typically see a 5x return on investment – minimum! Not bad, not bad.
Gen Zers love finding new products online, but still, have a soft spot for buying from the store
Online or offline – Gen Zers aren’t fussy. They’re happy to trawl through the internet looking for cut-price deals and new discoveries but equally, they love heading into a physical store so they can get a feel for an item in person. Keep this in mind if your audience falls in the ‘Gen Z’ category – show and tell online, and make sure they can come to a physical store to see your products for themselves.
A quick tip: Gen Zers typically find new products on social media, so keep your online presence visible, consistent and engaging if you want more Gen Zers queuing up for your products.
Gen X would rather hit the shops
As for Gen X, they’re big fans of visiting the store. They’re open to finding products online, absolutely. When it comes to pulling the trigger on a buying decision though, they want to taste, touch, feel, talk, browse and really see your products up close and personal. If you’re targeting Gen X, having your own store is a smart move.
If that’s not possible, get creative and collaborate with other businesses – put your products in as many stores as possible, and give your customers what they want: the ability to see your products in the flesh.
A quick tip: if you’re looking for Gen X leads online, over 40% said they prefer paid ads and sponsored content to other forms of marketing, so keep that in mind when planning your marketing strategy!
People still love to use Search Engines, no matter what the generation
Although there has been a big increase in product discovery within social media platforms such as Instagram, interest and Tik Tok, the likes of google still dominate. These are the figures across all age groups.
Source: Hubspot The Top Shopping Trends of 2022 & Beyond [State of Consumer Trends Data]
Although Gen Z and Millenials are starting to be influenced by the communities associated with a brand, price is still a major influence.
Across the ages, you can see the importance of price 78% of Gen Z, 74% of millennials, 74% of Gen X, and 73% of Boomers report price as one of the most important factors when making that all-important buying decision.
Millennials focus heavily on price, so make sure you’re keeping things as competitive as you can. They’ll shop around for the best deal, so over-charging will lead to disgruntled customers and lost sales. Worth thinking about!
Our mobile phones are how we shop
In 2021, an absolutely gigantic 72.9% of all eCommerce sales were purchased via mobile. It’s quick and easy, and more often than not, one or two clicks are enough to have our order secured and the postman on his way.
For us, that means one thing: our site needs to be unbelievably mobile-friendly. If you’re not optimised for mobile, you’re losing customers. There are a billion and one websites out there, so we can’t afford to give your customers a reason to hop off your page and onto your competitors.
Price matters, but it’s not everything
Price is important. – that goes without saying. It’s worth pointing out that other factors come into play though, and to get a real understanding of what drives your target market, you’ll have to carry out detailed research. Speak to your customers, find out what they’re looking for, and analyse consumer trends so you can really understand what drives their decision-making.
Some consumers are more inclined to buy from businesses that donate a portion of their profit to charity.
Others only care about the quality, and the price takes a backseat.
Another segment of the market might refuse to even look at your products if you have poor reviews, whereas others still might be more interested in being part of a group or a community that you offer on the side. Research is the only way to find these things out, so spend as much time as you need getting to know your customers intimately.
Trends to keep an eye on
In an ever-changing marketplace, what works today might be redundant tomorrow. And as frustrating as that might be, it’s something we have to watch out for. Here are some trends for this year and beyond that will help you stay ahead of the curve:
Tik Tok will dominate: Tik Tok was downloaded more times than any other app in 2021: a colossal 656 million downloads. If you’re trying to reach Gen Z and millennials, it’s a platform worth exploring. If you are wondering what Gen Z viewing habits are, check this report out from Google.
Influencer marketing is going nowhere: 90% of marketers say they’ve used influencer marketing, and the numbers look like they’ll keep growing. Could it work for you and your business?
Social media shopping is going to the moon: 130 million Instagram users click on shopping posts each month. That’s a big slice of the ‘customer pie’ so if your target demographic is active on Instagram, think about including social shopping in your marketing plan.
The metaverse takeover: JP Morgan thinks the metaverse market will smash through the $1 trillion barrier. More and more of us are living online, and the metaverse is going to be a big part of that. It’s worth keeping an eye on.
How we buy has changed, and if history is anything to go by these changes will continue year after year. Hopefully, you’ve been able to see some of the buying trends of different demographics, but always keep one thing in mind: research is your best friend. It’s the only way to know what your customers want, and we’d go so far as to say it can determine whether you sink or swim!