The global media intelligence provider released analysis of US consumer trends for the coming year. Those trends—toward smart technology, bespoke convenience, consumer rights, and progressive gender—are relevant across the industry.
Smart technology that’s merely adjacent to a useful product will do little to increase sales. Consumers adopt digitally enhanced products more readily when the tech adds to the products’ value or benefits. “Smart devices…appeal to consumers because they save time and money but they also promise convenience and control,” according to Mintel.
Both consumers and brands are eager to gather data digitally. Tech that facilitates data collection also allows for real-time communication with the end user.
Plum Perfect, an app that suggests cosmetics and fashion products based on user photos, adapts over time based on the data consumers share via photo uploads and interaction with the platform. “Our engine learns not only the user’s preferences but other purchasing patterns to make better recommendations,” according to the product’s terms of service.
Here and now
Consumers expect service on-demand, be it online or in person. And, they expect interaction with a brand to have an individualized feel.
Smart brands are responding with pop-up shops, customized products, subscription services, mobile commerce and more.
Clinique’s pop-up skin lab, opened this month in London, suggests this consumer trend extends beyond the US. The shop offers personalized skin consultation and customized product on the spot. “This is an extremely exciting time for Clinique, which sees us entering a new wave of digital innovation and customer experience,” said Janet Saunders, vice president general manager.
“Shoppers also are open to new formats, with 32% of US facial skincare users interested in products that can be purchased on the go, such as through a vending machine or kiosk,” the trend report revealed.
Responsibility and accountability
Consumers are more curious about product ingredients and more loyal to brands that support their political issues and demonstrate social responsibility.
The recent move from household products company SC Johnson to list product-specific fragrance ingredients on their site comes in response to consumer interest.
"In 2015,” Zegler predicts, “companies globally will increasingly be forced to apologize, admit their mistakes and show a human face. Companies also may find themselves more eager to consult potential customers on their products, promotional campaigns and company policies."
Consumers concerned about the effects of Bisphenol A have already effectively been using social media to overwhelm the messaging from brands and government agencies, according to a recent Commetric study.
"In 2014, 'clicktivism' forced companies to revise marketing campaigns, to reformulate ingredient statements or to simply acknowledge consumer sentiment," explained Jenny Zegler, Mintel's trends analyst.
His, hers, theirs
How brands approach gender will be increasingly important in 2015: “Marketers need to show that they understand consumers' modern perceptions of gender, namely that consumers are much more complex than the social constraints built around them,” according to the report.
This bodes well for the men’s grooming sector. And companies, from manufacturing to retail, that approach women consumers as diverse individuals will win out.