As we enter a new era driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), winds of change are sweeping through the landscape of consumer behaviour. We’ve embraced a world where the lines between the real and the virtual are blurring, where social interactions are mediated by screens, and where information flows at the speed of thought. This article explores the most impactful consumer behaviour trends and offers insights into the evolving expectations of the modern consumer.
First, let’s understand what constitutes a trend. For one, trends reflect a deep shift in society, culture, or technology. Trends are not isolated phenomena; they have a clear direction or momentum and generally spread through social networks, strongly influencing others’ behaviour. Trends directly impact consumers' motivations and expectations, affecting their purchase decisions and brand interactions. A prime example is the phenomenal rise of streaming services, which has led to a surge in cord-cutting and on-demand content consumption.
Here are 3 trends that have significantly impacted the way people consume and interact, and will continue to shape consumer behaviour in the coming years:
The convergence of media, content, and technology: Technologies like AI, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are opening new possibilities for immersive storytelling and brand experiences. This convergence is also impacting how we engage with news, entertainment, and social media, enabling greater interactivity and personalisation. Brands are using AI-driven algorithms to customise content and experiences for individual users and drive more relevant media consumption. For instance, Spotify uses AI to curate personalised playlists and offer features like ‘Discover Weekly’, which provides a weekly mix of new music based on each user's listening habits. The platform also uses AI to personalise their ‘Release Radar’, which highlights new releases from artists and genres the user enjoys. This approach has made Spotify one of the most popular choices for music streaming worldwide.
The dominance of short-form videos: Today, short-form video platforms have a strong global presence, attracting users from diverse demographics and cultural backgrounds. Given the limited attention span of consumers, these bite-sized videos are a great way to pack a lot of information into a short duration. Moreover, they are easy to watch on mobile devices and can be consumed on-the-fly, during commutes, breaks, etc. According to the Sprout Social Index, 66% of consumers find short-form video to be the most engaging type of social media content. In fact, Instagram Reels have over 2 billion monthly active users globally. What’s more, the platform’s shoppable posts are enabling seamless product discovery and purchase leveraging the short-form video format.
The expanding creator economy: Platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have empowered creators to monetise their work directly. This has fostered a diverse content landscape where individuals can build successful careers by creating innovative, relatable content. These digital creators often respond to comments, answer questions, and participate in discussions freely. They also tailor their content to the specific interests and needs of their audience, which makes consumers feel more connected, valued, and willing to engage. According to Nielsen’s recent Trust in Advertising study, 71% of consumers trust opinions and product placements from influencers over traditional advertisements. With the global creator economy set to reach $104.2 billion by 2025 (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub), marketers will need to form long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with influencers and creators to reach their audiences and stay relevant.
In conclusion, the consumer behaviour landscape is in a state of constant evolution. Technological advancements, changing social values, and shifting economic realities will continue to mould people’s digital preferences and actions. In the words of renowned futurist Alvin Toffler, 'The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.' Yet, within this whirlwind of change lies the essence of opportunity. For marketers aiming to lead rather than follow, embracing these ever-emerging trends is not merely a choice, but a strategic imperative for growth.