The future we envisioned only two years ago hasn’t changed, but it’s become the present faster than expected. This year, we’re drawing attention to three examples of this great acceleration:

  1. The values-based consumer becomes a large and viable segment. In 2019, we could already see that shoppers’ personal values — for the planet, for their society, and for their relationships — were playing a bigger role in who they bought their products from. The past two years have moved this consumer mindset to the forefront. Forty-four percent of UK adults today tell us that the sustainability of the materials and processes companies use had a significant impact on their choice of a cosmetics or beauty product. In France, it’s 48%, and in Germany it’s 47%. For 2022, we predict that these values-based consumers will play a more significant role in a business’s strategy and product decisions. Leaders will take inspiration from fast-growing companies like France’s Aroma-Zone, whose DIY and all-natural beauty products grab the attention of consumers. 
  2. Pandemic-driven convenience becomes shoppers’ everyday expectation. For years, we’ve seen how consumers have redefined convenience around their new smartphone-driven capabilities. Two years ago, around one in five UK adults told us that they researched a clothing product with their smartphone; this year, it’s more like one in 3.2. The past two years brought consumers a whole slew of remote, digitally enabled innovations in how they get and use stuff. And they’re not keen to let them go. The majority of European consumers have changed their shopping habits in their minds — for the better. For 2022, we predict that consumers will prefer brands that maintain the digital conveniences they introduced during the pandemic and shun brands that revert to the old normal. 
  3. Greater direct sales become a force for marketing renewal. The pre-pandemic narrative on e-commerce was steady, with low double-digit percentage growth across most categories. By that scale, Western Europe saw about three to four years of e-commerce growth in 2020 alone, as growth for that year was in the higher double-digit percentages across most categories. This acceleration has brought brands’ online direct sales efforts from the margins right up to board-level imperatives. Leaders want to know how — given the move to Anywhere Commerce — their business can maintain its market share and margins when competing against savvier direct-to-consumer startups. For 2022, we predict that this challenge will hit the CMO’s desk as an imperative to take greater responsibility for the entire customer experience. The next big battlefield for brand strategy will be how the brand supports its onsite shoppers. 

As a marketing leader in Europe, you should see 2022 as a crucial transition year for your strategy. Join our complimentary webinar, where we discuss these shifts and more.

To understand all the major dynamics that will impact European businesses next year, download Forrester’s complimentary Predictions guide.