trend highlights: what's hot in consumer land right now?

by: Sarah Kneebone

This is your perfect coffee break roundup of the most important consumer trends in Australia right now. We've pulled together five trends we KEEP seeing crop up in the worlds of consumer goods and retail.
Read, digest and ruminate over how you can leverage these in your business, and when you're done, we'll be on hand to help you get the insights you need to move forward.

Create meaningful experiences.

Rising demand for personalised, convenient and hassle-free shopping means retail businesses must focus on creating meaningful experiences to satisfy consumers.

This is particularly true for the upcoming generation of young consumers who tend to prioritise experiences over “things” because they’re more shareable. They also value the relationship/community element and crave the freedom and flexibility that is associated with less stuff, more experiences.

To PLAY with this trend, retailers should try the following strategies to provide a holistic approach to shopper satisfaction: 

  • Create a seamless omni-channel experience
  • Become more of a 'go-to' or 'one stop shop'
  • Experiment with innovative and engaging store formats
  • Become an accessible source of inspiration
  • Make shopping hassle-free and convenient
  • Add value through human connection and expertise
  • Drive loyalty through initiatives and programs

These strategies are what help your business become more than "just a store". This way, your store is a source of entertainment, inspiration and education.Consumers enjoying the newest trend

Healthy routines.

Although focusing on health is nothing new, consumers' definition of what constitutes a healthy life has changed over time. It has moved from acute “pop a pill” style treatment towards more long-term, sustainable practices. It has also moved from mainly physical evaluation towards a more holistic balance including mental, emotional and even spiritual development or self-actualisation.
Being healthy is no longer about restricting calories and slogging away at a diet but instead using food as individualised, medicinal nourishment. This healthier relationship with food provides the opportunity for rebuilding community, family time and connection in our increasingly disconnected world.
Here are some ways your business can become part of consumers' healthy routines: 
  • Develop a portfolio of niche brands to achieve mass personalisation at scale

  • "Fail fast, learn lots, win big" by prototyping, getting feedback from consumers and iterating rapidly

  • Help consumers self actualise by supporting them in making healthy, ethical product decisions

  • Collaborate with complementary health brands to create a halo effect and build presence in this space

It's time to move away from conservative risk aversion and make a habit of being flexible and open-minded. It's time to work on building an efficient innovation process, sustainable production practices and a collaborative network that enables you to make the right PLAY.

Healthy routines and natural environment
Natural products.

Natural food products are experiencing epic growth right now. The organic industry is estimated to have grown to $2.4 billion this year – an 88% increase from 2012.
Two thirds of Aussie households are already buying organic, and growth should continue aggressively due to building consumer consciousness, an ageing population, increasing rates of chronic disease and a strong Chinese export market for “clean” Australian produce.
We’re seeing an explosion in niche natural products. Take drinks - whilst soft drink consumption tanks in the wake of the low sugar trend, healthy options are all seeing growth with Kombucha drinks growing seven times in the past 2 years.
Here are the four key drivers behind this lifestyle shift towards more natural products: 
  • Millennials - the largest healthy eating consumer group in Australia

  • Food as Medicine - people are searching for wholesome and functional foods to optimise their health

  • Personalised Nutrition - food is becoming less of a commodity and more of a personalised decision

  • Social Consciousness - people want to make a positive impact on the world by making conscious purchasing decisions
Healthy and sustainable food


Sustainable living.

Everyone's talking about sustainability but is your business acting on it?

Woolworths recently demonstrated a commitment to sustainability in their Double Bay concept store (you can read our full write up on this HERE) featuring a coffee cup recycling facility, trolleys made from recycled milk bottles and a wide array of local, organic, eco-friendly products.

We took the topic of sustainability to our online community of Australian shoppers.

By speaking to a nationally representative sample of over 500 people, we found a few key things that shoppers are looking for from brands: 

  • 87% agree that manufacturers should create packs from sustainable/easily recyclable materials

  • 90% claim that they would love to see extra recycling symbols that show how to recycle different elements of packaging. They believe that manufacturers play a key role in "proper" recycling

  • Consumers like packaging to state where the ingredients are sourced from

  • Consumers rely on packaging information and claims. "Made from verified sustainable sources", "recyclable", "made of recycled materials","reusable" and "responsibly harvested" are all strongly perceived as sustainable

  • Coles, Coca Cola and Woolworths are cited as brands that are good at creating sustainable and recyclable products or packaging. Follow their lead!

Online shopping.

Online is the fastest growing retail channel in Australia. According to Macquarie Bank, a whopping 60% of total growth in retail sales in Australia came from online retailers last year.

Consumers are increasingly shopping for things like media, personal care, food and fashion online. However, due to the radical differences between online vs. bricks and mortar, success in this space isn't easy.

Here's how you can leverage psychology and tap into your shopper's mindset to cut through: 

  • Impulse - increase success by making key nutritional information easy to spot, including multiple high quality images, taking advantage of promotional offers and ensuring websites are mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, come across as trustworthy, and offer guest checkout, where possible

  • Habit - in some cases, shoppers can be tempted towards product trial through competitive prices, ad repetition and promotions. However, you must ensure that the sensory experience follows through on the brand or product promise in order to achieve repeat purchase

  • Fear - the fear of losing something is felt particularly keenly by the shopper, especially in the "risky" online space. Therefore, it is vital to create a cohesive experience for every interaction with your brand to help build trust

  • Delayed gratification - people love the anticipation of delivery... it’s like Christmas! Turn the choosing, tracking and delivery of products into an emotional experience. Heart over head - emotions are the key to many purchase habits, not reason. Think about how you can create that special feeling

Online shopping trend Over to you. 

Feel like there's a lot to absorb and you don't know where to start? Fear not! The PLAY team specialises in this stuff and we're only an email or phone call 02 8097 0200 away.
If you're thinking about making a PLAY in any of the exciting spaces we've chatted about today, check out our free guide - innovation: harnessing the consumer perspective.
Download Innovation Quick Guide

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about the author

Sarah Kneebone

Sarah is PLAY’s go-to content writer with a passion for marrying creativity and communication with clever strategy. A former marketer with PLAY and for international brands such as QBE Insurance and General Motors, Sarah moved home to the UK to raise her little family and start a health coaching business. Luckily for us, she continues to share her talent for the written word with the team in Australia.

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