Board Converting News, February 8, 2021

Consumer Trends (CONT’D FROM PAGE 20)

for others around you. A resurgence of advocacy has surged as people demand positive change, for themselves and for future generations. “There is an opportunity for brands to take a lead in addressing these issues, and they may risk being seen as a hindrance if they fail to do so,” said the report. “In a world forced to go digital, the reliance of global social move- ments on digital platforms accentuated – in some new and uncomfortable ways – the extent to which technology can be used unethically. This has raised consumer concerns and demands for more equitable access to digital tools and literacy alongside more ethical tech usage standards. Brands are, therefore, in a unique position of power to be a guiding source of influence — if led with trust and trans- parency. Consumers are more tech-savvy than ever before and brands have an opportunity to use technology to connect with consumers and rally around causes that are important to them. This puts pressure on brands, in ways that are unprec- edented, and the only way for brands to respond is to be clear about their values and brand positioning. Consumers more saliently see and understand the es- sential needs of their immediate physical community, and they are seeking brands that leverage resources to offer positive impacts readily felt on local and regional scales. And while digital capabilities will continue to be crucial in CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

itude and shift the conversation away from aesthetics and body image.” Collective Empowerment Another clear trend witnessed over recent years is con- sumers push toward equity and equal rights for all people. Consumers are utilizing technology, including social me- dia, to form virtual communities in which they trust those around them, as they do not always feel they can trust the government and long-established brands. These consum- ers very much want to support companies and brands that align with their core beliefs. “The conscious consumer is evaluating more closely the brands from which they shop,” said the report, “ex- panding the definition of what an ethical company entails and demanding their voice be heard.” Twenty percent of UK consumers say they often shop with a retailer that supports a cause they believe in; 6 per- cent do so always. Nearly 50 percent of Brazilian consum- ers agree that they are prepared to boycott companies who behave unethically, and 72 percent of U.S. consumers agree that they are concerned about corporations abusing technology. The pandemic, while creating an incredible sense of isolation, conversely also made consumers understand that they need to be more community minded as the only way to battle the pandemic was to show greater concern

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February 8, 2021

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