Understanding consumer behavior is elemental to brand and business strategy, and 2023 will be a whopper of a year for those challenged with fathoming the consumer mind. Unlike previous years, 2023 will be a jumble of mixed signals, reflecting a unique environment characterized by opposing forces: exuberance as the pandemic wanes, tempered by caution in the face of economic turbulence. In a nutshell, don’t expect consumers to be shy about spending in 2023. But expect them to be far pickier — seeking out fewer, richer experiences that blend the digital fluidity of the pandemic with the familiarity and intimacy of the times that came before.

Here are some of our predictions that describe how consumer behavior will shake out next year.

Despite Economic Gloom, Spending Will Increase

According to Forrester’s July 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey, the majority of online adults in the US (64%), the UK (59%), and France (55%) are anxious about the possibility of a recession. Consumers have banked significant savings during the pandemic, however, and household cash flow will grow by the second half of the year. While consumers will still signal caution, money in the bank will spur them on to greater spending.

Consumers Will Gravitate Toward Blended Experiences

The pandemic forced consumers to experiment with new ways of living, shopping, and interacting. Post-pandemic behavior will see a regression to old habits but in a way that optimizes the experience. Moviegoers will rush back to theaters to see the next “Avatar” while ordering their popcorn with QR codes. In 2023, consumers will blend newly gained digital fluidity with old-fashioned familiarity.

Less Will Be More, And Quality Will Trump Quantity

Consumers will reconcile their fiscal caution with their spending impulse by being highly selective about which brands and experiences to patronize. The goal: Squeeze maximum value out of each outlay (for example, consumers have become much pickier about which streaming subscription to keep). In 2023, consumers will continuously curate experiences, selecting those that deliver high value while abandoning those that do not.

For the full set of predictions, Forrester clients can access the full report here. Please request a guidance session if you have questions about this research or want to explore how your company can better incorporate these predictions into your strategy. If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2023. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2023 hub.