Liquid Thinking

Changing consumer behaviours - part 2

How changing consumer behaviours affect brand design and innovation, Part 2

17th February 2021

Following on from last weeks part 1 of 'How changing consumer behaviours affect brand and design innovation', we left off talking about consumers demands for RTD, coffee, and 'good for you' products.

However, consumers aren’t just looking for nutrition to support their physical health, but also, they’re trying to manage their mental health. Looking after emotional needs during prolonged periods of isolation and heightened stress around the pandemic. According to Innova’s Markets Insights’ annual Top Ten Trends for 2021, 44% of consumers surveyed globally said they are taking action to support their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Consumers want to feel valued and special right now. Brands need to inspire and motivate people more than ever. They need to engage with their consumers and bring elements of fun and positivity through their products and branding. We’ve seen many brands offer free products or discount codes to essential workers over the last few months, showing support and gratitude for their work throughout the ongoing pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

Similarly, consumers appreciate brands who are showcasing support for political and social movements. For example, Nike launched marketing campaigns last year that included the ‘Don’t Do It’ anti-racisms ad, which 60% of respondents for an Ace Metrix study found empowering. Nike also released inspiring tributes to Kobe Bryant and the Williams tennis sisters in 2020. As mentioned earlier, with people spending more time on social media, that means more people will be sharing campaigns like this to their friends and followers. With this being one of the main ways your brand or product can be seen right now, creating powerful, funny or emotive branding and marketing campaigns is crucial to your success story.

Which leads us onto the way consumers are digesting and interacting with brands. Whilst social media and online were always a big part of a business’s marketing and brand plans, this has increased significantly over the last year. Consumers are seeing products through the lens of a screen more often than in real life. Therefore, how you appear visually and communicate verbally online is imperative. The fight to be seen is stronger, and brand loyalty isn’t as crucial to shoppers anymore. Data from Attest shows that a quarter of Brits have said that they have taken up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic - with 22% having shopped with a new brand, and another 22% having started a new skill, we can see a willingness to try something new, which opens up a plethora of opportunities for brands. Both those that are fighting to keep their consumers, and for those that are recruiting new ones.

Consequently, innovation and marketing teams alike have been putting their heads together to find new ways of getting into the hands of the consumers, where they’ve physically had to close their doors. Many businesses have started delivery services and ‘make it yourself’ versions of their products. Since the pandemic, 19% of people have also signed up to a new subscription service.

We’re also seeing a rise in direct-to-consumer. 20% of people aged 18-40 prefer to head directly to a brands website, rather than using a marketplace or multi-brand retailer. This also entails with a rise in support for small businesses. With so many businesses struggling right now, consumers are paying more attention to smaller boutiques that they’re finding through google searches and social media.

There’s lots of new demands from consumers, however we can’t neglect the old ones. They’re still there, and they’re still strong, but consumers are definitely expecting more from brands – and they’re not afraid to tell you if you’re not quite doing it right! As much as they’ll share the good, they’ll share the bad and the ugly too! So make sure you’re listening to your consumers - they want to engage and they want to try something new. Whether that’s a new flavour, an updated packaging concept, or even a new design aesthetic.

We’ll keep our ear to the ground, and make sure you check out our Trailblazing Trends reports each quarter to see what the top things consumers are searching for online, and what we think this could mean for businesses.

Interested in finding out more about what this might mean for you and your business?

Please contact us at or 0207 101 3939