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Future of Shopping (Part 3): Three Contexts Shaping Purchasing Habits in 2022

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Marketers hoping to better predict consumer purchasing trends should first consider the factors influencing buying behaviour today. The ever-changing context of the modern consumer includes emotional and practical forces that impact them to choose brands and products accordingly. In this blog, we will break down three contexts influencing purchasing habits and how marketers can reach consumers where they are.

1. Pandemic Uncertainty Leads to Nostalgic Comforts

The pandemic has caused Canadians to live in a constant state of uncertainty for more than two years. To combat the uncertainty, many consumers are turning to the comforts of nostalgia and thus, triggering the return of retro retail. Consumers have bought more vinyl records, started binge watching 80s and 90s sitcoms, and even found new joys in old technology, like landline telephones.

Valentina Stoycheva, the author of The Unconscious: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications said, “In times of trauma and overwhelming stress, it’s a natural instinct to feel nostalgic and rely on those feelings for comfort and a sense of normalcy”.

Brands hoping to appeal to these nostalgic consumers should consider what role their product plays in the retro retail realm. Superette Shop, a modern cannabis store in Toronto, was designed to resemble a retro grocer. It brings consumers back to a time when they may have first tried cannabis, evoking all the memories and fondness they had for it. In New York, the Rockefeller Center transformed their infamous skating rink back into a roller-skating rink for the first time since the 1940s. Consumers rejoiced in the nostalgic joy of skating loops to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. As these examples show, brands who stay true to their specific roles in the nostalgic realm tend to be most embraced by the public.

2. Demands for Personalization Fuel Bespoke Subscriptions

It’s no secret that personalization has become table stakes for the modern consumer. Twilio Segment report states that 85% of businesses say they are providing a somewhat personalized experience to customers, but only 60% of consumers agree with that. With this gap in expectations, consumers are taking personalization into their own hands through bespoke subscriptions.

Subscription platforms such as Patreon, Substack, and Onlyfans enable consumers to choose exactly what they want and support that creator directly. This elevated form of personalization lends itself to the soaring success of each of these services.

Brands looking to satisfy these elevated personalization needs should create bespoke curations of their own goods. Brands of a larger size who are unable to be this nimble in customizations can find alternative routes to incorporating personalization. Heinz UK lets consumers order personalized bottles and cans of their products that feature the name of the consumer or their gift recipient. It allows a mass-released product to feel intimate and unique. Dispatch coffee, a smaller brand, enrolls a personalized subscription plan that allows consumers to reflect their unique personality through their coffee.

3. Multigenerational Homes Spark a Need for Shared-Shopping

Amidst rising real estate prices, inflation, and a multitude of other factors, many families are shifting to multigenerational homes. In simple terms, this means combinations of kids, parents, and grandparents all living under one roof. Multigeneration homes saw a 37.5% increase from 2001 to 2016 and are expected to increase further when 2021 census data is released.

In regards to shopping, this means that often times, there will be multiple people contributing input to one purchase. This input could be monetary or it could simply be opinion and preference.

Brands looking to accommodate multigenerational homes will implement shared-shopping capabilities. Apple Family Sharing is one example of allowing multiple points of access to a single service. Each family member has a unique profile and can enjoy the service in their own way, all under one bill. Out of Milk is an app that allows each family member to contribute to a grocery list so that all opinions are heard. A hierarchy of purchase approval is available so that the weekly grocery delivery does not include ten boxes of chocolate chip cookies. We expect systems such as these applied in other categories like home furnishing, travel accommodations, pet goods, and more.

We make it our business to stay on top of cultural, demographic, political, environmental, and economic trends so we can support our clients in translating these complex systems into actionable business strategies. With a deep understanding of these trends, we help organizations and brands create an aligned view of the future so they can act boldly and with conviction. Learn more about our Disruption Audit or email us at


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