2023 Online consumer trends

Brands will need to create a more authentic connection with their audience through meaningful content.

Is your business staying up to date when it comes to the latest online consumer trends?

There has been a clear shift from consumers who are seeking control and want more authentic content as well as to feel a sense of belonging. Here's a detailed look at the top 2023 online consumer trends to watch.

Online consumer trends

Seeking Control and Power

Power to the consumer! In this uncertain world, technology is offering a way for consumers to take control, allowing them to participate in shaping the future of the brands they love. The relationship between consumers and systems is changing, affecting brands and organisations. According to a report by Accenture, these small shifts will alter power dynamics with more opportunities being provided to the consumer.

Authentic Connection

Due to the cost of living crisis, consumers are cutting back on non-essential expenses, resulting in a phenomenon dubbed the “Great Cancellation”. With non-essential expenses at a premium, social activities will be one of the first non-essential expenses dropped, exacerbating loneliness and leaving consumers searching for other ways to make connections. Brands that find ways to connect with people in a real way and meet their need for connection will thrive. We’ve already seen this with the increased popularity of apps such as BeReal, a social media platform that features real and authentic content. The app has gained popularity with over 10 million daily active users.

Raw Content

With communication becoming more authentic, people are preferring raw and unedited content. This type of content has become the norm following the pandemic with high-level productions less feasible. Brands are still grappling with the popularity of this trend, with some embracing it and others sticking to polished aesthetics. The most popular advertisement in the 2022 Super Bowl advertisement was Coinbase which was simply a QR code bouncing around the screen, which was then scanned 20 million times within a minute.

Algorithmic Angst

Increasing mistrust in algorithms and the fear of manipulation is leading consumers to seek out new platforms for connection and trust. Single-function platforms that bring like-minded individuals together are becoming more popular. Discord is an example of a platform that has risen in popularity due to consumers seeking a more genuine connection with others are having a shared interest.

Social Media Fatigue

To promote healthy social media usage, brands should incorporate mental health into their social strategies and encourage a healthy relationship with social media. Cosmetics brand Lush UK, for example, quit social media in 2019, launching its ‘anti-social media policy’.

Influencer Marketing

The global influencer market size was $16.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow in 2023. Utilising micro-influencers and virtual influencers, who are receiving higher rates than real people are gaining momentum. Virtual influencers are artificially generated social media characters and are growing in popularity. Prada tackled the virtual influencer beast in 2021 with the creation of Prada Candy. Candy is a computer-generated personality, a virtual muse for the fashion house’s perfume of the same name.

By 2024, 30% of influencer marketing budgets will be allocated to virtual influencers.

Digital Tribes

With the abundance of consumer data, sophisticated audience segmentation has become possible. The formation of "digital tribes" based on shared attitudes, behaviours, interests, and influences can be revealed through the analysis of social data. Age, gender, education, income, and location are no longer the sole focus, as attitudes, behaviours, interests, influencers, and actions are now prioritised.

Interested in finding out more?

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