Report: Social media use at tipping point?


Environmental apathy, customizable avatars and a new way to use the internet are the top consumer trends to watch in 2023, according to a report from GWI. The directory Join the dots reveals how consumer behaviors are changing online and what to expect in 2023 as a result.

The report represents more than 950,000 consumers and offers thousands of data points on the behaviors and perceptions of internet users around the world. The results reveal how consumers change the way they spend, think and feel based on world events. The five key trends brands need to be aware of are:

  • Buy now, save the planet later – an expensive world forces people to rethink sustainability
  • You, me and my avatar in Web3 – develop online identities and pave the way for inclusive and customizable self-expression
  • Live a little – where consumer candy budgets are headed in 2023
  • Seen on social networks – a new phase of e-commerce, driven by changes in the way we search for products
  • The global ebb – the time spent online by consumers has reached a ceiling

Jason Mander, Research Director at GWI, added, “Understanding consumers is more important than ever. We seem to be surrounded by crises right now, each of which has its own measure of severity, ie. GDP or global temperature. With our latest Consumer Trends Report, we offer insight into how consumers are feeling, the deeper impact and changing consumer behavior in the wake of global events. This report can help anyone, anywhere understand the current consumer mindset and uncover the trends that are set to dominate the coming year.

The major consumer trends to watch in 2023:

Buy now, save the planet later – Durability seems to be in play. We’re likely to see the economy point the finger for any sustainability setbacks next year, but the problems run deeper. GWI data reveals that in over 90% of countries surveyed, interest in news, politics, social issues and current affairs has declined since 2020, by 13% in the UK in particular. Consumers are struggling to find the head space needed to make ends meet and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.

You, me and my avatar in Web3 – 26% of internet users in the UK prefer to spend their time online. Recognizing the importance of user-generated content and avatar personalization will be a top priority for brands looking to thrive in these immersive spaces. This is very important for the 75% of LGBTQ+ people surveyed who want to be able to modify the physical appearance of their characters. With 47% of consumers interested in creating an avatar, with personalization of appearance and identity being a top priority, we’re likely to see brands step up their efforts to improve diversity and create inclusive settings. for their new “digital identities”.

Live a little – Consumers are still planning to make room for little luxuries next year. Clothing is the only category to appear in the top three choices across all generations and genders globally. And with quality being the primary purchase driver, we’re unlikely to see consumers downgrading their wardrobes just yet. As for specific retailers, the percentage of consumers buying from Versace has increased by 61% in the UK since the second quarter of 2021, Tesla owners have increased by 67% and those buying from TKMaxx, known for its designer brands, increased by 41% in the same period.

As seen on social media – We are entering a new phase of e-commerce, driven by changes in the way we find and buy products. Although searching for information is still the number one reason people go online, more and more consumers are now getting their information from social media, with the number of people searching for brand or product information in this way having increased by 43% since 2015. This is especially true. for Gen Z in the UK, with a 14% drop in use of the internet to find information and the percentage of Gen Z in the UK using search engines to get more product details , down 11% since 2016.

Time spent online has hit a ceiling – Has social media and the internet as a whole reached a tipping point? Data from GWI shows the average daily time spent online has fallen more in 2022 than any previous year, with the number of consumers saying they use social media less than before also up 17% since the second quarter of 2020. The data also reveals that the number of consumers citing social media as a source of anxiety has increased by 11% since the second quarter of 2020. As time spent online declines in the wake of the pandemic, it will be up to brands to foster a more positive and welcoming environment in 2023 if the numbers are to increase further.

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