What Consumers Want in 2023

Looking forward to the rest of the year, what tone will you use in your direct mail pieces and emails?

After analyzing 240 million data points on U.S. Internet users, GWI, an audience-targeting company, has some suggestions. It found that the uncertainty and unsettledness over the last few years have profoundly impacted consumers’ psyches. They crave simplicity, authenticity, and an emphasis on healthy work-life balance. 

Here are three trends to watch: 

1. Consumers are toning it down. 

There is still plenty of luxury buying, but consumers are becoming more modest overall. For example, GWI found that more consumers are using budgeting apps (+9% year over year), and thrifting is hot. The percentage of buyers agreeing with the statements “I am influenced by what is cool and trendy” and “I want my lifestyle to impress others” is down -11% and -9%, respectively. Even car purchases are becoming more modest. The percentages of consumers using their vehicles to express their personality and status have dropped -9% and -14%, respectively while having a car that is cheap and easy to maintain is up +7%. 

2. Work-life balance is coming back. 

When asked to rank what is most important in their work life, survey respondents cited salaries, benefits, and paid time off as their top four priorities. However, “work-life balance” comes in at number two. More than one-third of respondents said that “being present for family and friends” is their most important goal, up +7% from last year. Many are becoming homebodies: Some of the fastest-growing personal interests for Gen Zs year-on-year are handicrafts (+16%) and books/ literature (+15%). 

3. Concerns about social justice and environmental issues continue to grow. 

American consumers, especially younger ones, not only want to do the right thing, but they want their brands to do the right thing, too. They want more than lip service—they want to see action. This includes offering paid leave for women’s health issues, for example, and in the area of racial and gender injustice, reviewing hiring policies. More than two-thirds are concerned about the global impact of climate change and want to see real action on the ground.

What is the mantra for 2023? “Be a good human.” The world is weary of unrest, and consumers are, too. Keep your messaging simple and focus on the good stuff. Need help getting there? Contact your HBP representative.

Source: Data were taken from GWI “Consumer Trend Report 2023.”