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Consumption in 2022: statistics, trends, growth sectors

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Several recent Market Research projects allow us to anticipate consumer trends in 2022 and changes in purchasing habits. First, Covid, then the war in Ukraine, has profoundly changed our habits and, in turn, the products we buy. The current economic and geopolitical situation adds a layer of complexity. More than ever, it is necessary to rely on concrete statistics to project ourselves into the future.

Statistics: the impact of Covid on buying habits

  • 46% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for committed brands
  • 15%: the average extra cost accepted by customers for a responsible brand
  • 17%: the average extra cost accepted by customers for a responsible food brand
  • 40% of consumers buy in bulk
  • 83% of consumers want brands to make concrete commitments
  • 78.9% of consumers try to buy local products
  • 78.4% say they favor products that promote animal welfare
  • 46% of employees are concerned about telecommuting
  • 2 to 3 days/week: structural telecommuting
  • Click and collect: +13 points between 2019 and 2021 (41% of French consumers use it)
  • Compared to 2013, 50% of the physical store traffic could have disappeared within 5 years
  • 50% of online shoppers bought a second-hand product in 2021
  • Saving money is the primary motivation for 80% of second-hand buyers

Towards a more responsible consumer?

The Covid crisis was a catalyst for local and organic consumption. While the organic craze subsided in 2021, this should not obscure the underlying change in behavior. In 2021, 78.9% of consumers said they try to buy locally. Favoring short circuits is a form of responsibility. It is not the only one. The same market research indicated that 78.4% of consumers prefer to opt for products that promote animal welfare.

Is the consumer becoming more responsible? Beyond the declarations of intentions, it is essential to note that 40% of consumers have already taken the habit of buying in bulk. Initially reserved for convinced early adopters, this type of distribution has been democratized. Even in the luxury sector, “refilling” is in fashion (see the example of the new Clarins store here).

Even if its effects are still not very concrete in our daily view, the war in Ukraine marks the end of globalization (see here our research on business morale). The return to shorter supply chains is unavoidable and will contribute reinforce this eco-responsible spirit among consumers.


Within 5 years, 50% of the traffic in physical stores could have disappeared.



E-commerce and physical commerce

The human being is, of course, full of contradictions. Despite all his good intentions regarding responsibility, predominantly environmental, he has never been so keen on e-commerce. The number of people visiting physical stores in city centers has fallen by 38.7% in 8 years, and shopping centers by 29.4%. We estimate that within 5 years, 50% of the traffic in physical stores could have disappeared.

The continued growth of e-commerce

Consumerism will not have disappeared in the meantime since electronic assets will have simply replaced physical purchases. France thus gained 1 million cyber-buyers in 2020, according to the Observatoire des Usages internet de Médiamétrie. In 2020, 800,000 new cyber shoppers joined the ranks.

While the market share of food e-commerce stagnated in continental Europe at below 5% (with the notable exception of the UK), it reached 9% in France in 2020. The figures for 2021 should logically show an increase above 10%. Purchasing habits have changed permanently, and there is no way to reverse the trend. For those launching a physical store, success will come down to 3 factors:

Food: switching to cheaper alternatives

Food inflation, already evident in retail prices, is expected to impact the restaurant industry. Increases in raw materials will have to be passed on, which may affect the patronage of mid-range establishments. Already weakened by confinements, restaurant margins will be under even more pressure in 2022.

Logically, the consumer’s choice should shift to cheaper alternatives (as in the food retailing industry, see our analysis here) or to spacing their expenses. Establishments practicing 100% online from a “dark kitchen” should do well in this context. Their fixed costs are much lower, and the price/pleasure ratio could turn to their advantage if the generalized impoverishment of the population is confirmed. However, in the coming months, we will have to watch to see if the uberization of delivery is not called into question in a general way, which would stop the development of this sector and related sectors.


In 2022, all the ingredients are there for the second-hand sector to experience a dazzling development.



Second-hand products, the stars of tomorrow’s commerce

The French Federation of Distance Selling (FEVAD) research reinforces our long-established belief that the second-hand sector will be the star of tomorrow. The figures are eloquent and concern all second-hand items (see here the statistics for luxury second-hand). Among the cyber-buyers (80% of the Internet users over 11 years old):

  • 50% have opted for reconditioned or second-hand products (2021 figures);
  • 80% are motivated by the prospect of saving money
  • 51% buy second hand to access a product that would remain inaccessible when new

In 2022, all the ingredients are in place for this sector to experience a dazzling development:

  • Massive decrease in purchasing power due to inflation
  • Increase in the price of new products due to a shortage of raw materials
  • Scarcity of new supply due to the disruption of production chains

In 2020, the DIY sector had grown by 13%



DIY and home comfort

In 2020, the DIY sector had grown by 13%. In particular, online sales had doubled compared to the previous year. 2021 is going to be another outstanding year for the sector. Kingfisher, the British DIY giant, has announced a 6.8% increase in turnover for 2021.

2022 should still be an excellent year for the sector. First of all, inflation and the decline in purchasing power will intensify DIY practice and make the use of tradespeople rarer. International players such as Leroy Merlin (present in more than 10 countries) are not mistaken. They are massively orienting themselves towards customer training, and their business model is evolving towards services (courses, coaching, putting people in touch with professionals, rental).

Taking care of your home (kitchen, garden, …) will therefore still be one of the significant trends of 2022.

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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