It has never been more difficult, nor more important to stay one step ahead of evolving consumer habits. As we finally emerge from the global pandemic, in which digital transformations ensued in weeks rather than years, we appear to be on the precipice of a global recession.

There’s little doubt that marketers have another challenging year ahead as they try to grow revenue and build lasting relationships with their customers set against constricted consumer spending.

The impending recession is going to bring acute monetary concerns for many consumers and as a direct consequence sweeping changes in purchasing behavior. 60% of consumers are very pessimistic about both the rising cost of living and economic out. 50% plan to make less impulsive purchases this year, with most doing more research (50%), waiting for sales (47%) and relying on loyalty benefits (46%) when purchasing from their favorite brands. 

It’s factors like these that are why we have commissioned our fourth consecutive annual study, surveying over 6,000 global consumers to find out the trends and attitudes in personalization, privacy, messaging, advertising, brand loyalty and the rising cost of living. 

The Consumer Trends Index 2023 is here to furnish marketers with the data and analysis to plan and forecast for the year ahead with strategies rooted in relationship marketing — understanding every consumer as an individual and connecting with them on the right channel, with the right message, at the right time.

When it comes to driving sales, email is comfortably the most effective channel for brands to connect with consumers. More than half of global consumers (52%) have made a purchase directly as a result of an email they received in the last 12 months — a 4% uplift on the previous year. There is also growing adoption of SMS as a medium for receiving offers and incentives, with a quarter of consumers (25%) buying something directly from SMS — a 4% jump on 2022. Of course, marketers need a strategy that leverages all channels, but as brands own their database, not only are email and SMS converting, but they are also comfortably the most cost-effective, too.

108% — When it comes to driving sales, email outperforms banner ads by 108% 

Brand loyalty is on the increase, and despite the gloomy economic outlook, a staggering 59% of consumers are prepared to pay more to purchase from their preferred brands. Over two-thirds of consumers (67%) cite the loyalty program of their favorite brand as critically important to winning their lasting loyalty, with merely 7% of consumers thinking this is not important.

Earning this customer loyalty demands more than just rewards. Marketers should be leveraging value exchanges that go beyond the generic and drive deeper engagement through emotional loyalty. The heart of loyalty is not merely the cheapest price point, but a brand that fosters community, recognizes the customer as an individual, and delivers personalized recommendations that reflect this. 

43% of consumers are more likely to engage in a loyalty program this year than last— an 8% increase since 2022

The numbers in this blog are just a teaser of what you can expect to find in the 2023 Consumer Trends Index. This time of flux and disruption is one of great opportunities for marketers committed to building lasting relationships with consumers.