The year ahead for consumer trends, by BPG’s Satish Mayya

The pandemic has taught us new habits, but will see a resurgence in traditional media channels, writes BPG Group’s advisor, Satish Mayya

The Covid years have changed all of us – more mentally than the impact of the virus on the physical body. Our perspective and outlook on how we want to live life have changed big-time. The advertising and media world is reflective of these changes. While staying home for a significant part of the day was not out of choice, when we eventually stepped out we were still wary of wasting time out of the home; clear purpose of travel and optimising time out will be engraved for a long time to come. Similar changes will reflect on the media we consume and engage with, in 2022. Here are a few such predictions for 2022, reflective of some of the more profound changes within us:

1. Time management

When we were within walls, we realised how important it is to prioritise our tasks. Brands that allow us to do what we want to do and do less of what we don’t want to do will continue to find favour. We will see the continuous growth of e-commerce in times to come. Shopping at retail will be avoided to do more entertaining stuff.

2. TV: linear, or OTT?

Both would be the correct answer. The TV screen had its resurrection during the pandemic. Demand for content saw OTT and YouTube consumption go through the roof. We believe overall TV time will increase when we take linear, OTT and online video formats together. It’s the cumulative impact media planners need to address.

3. Sound is getting its due in the media world

Multi-tasking was a way of life during the pandemic. Work and home chores got purged, and in such a chaotic life, we started relying on audio media. Podcasts, audiobooks and online music saw a considerable increase. We see this trend going into brand engagement opportunities in 2022

4. Gaming and the meta-world

When reality gets hard, we tend to drift towards a parallel world. The pandemic has opened a less-known world, but we expect big movements to happen soon. Facebook’s efforts toward the metaverse have opened another level of opportunities. Readyplayer.me allows you to create and own your meta-versions. Brands operating in this space are something worth watching out for. Gaming took off during this time and is still a hugely underutilised area for advertisers. This year, an immersive brand experience through gaming, the metaverse or virtual reality is a space advertisers should consider.

5. Out-of-home is evolving and will be the highlight of 2022

A medium that changes with time always manages to sustain and grow. For a long time, the print medium tried to resist digital space but eventually embraced it and survived in a different avatar. UAE print titles’ online versions are some of the largest visited websites. Out-of-home is an area to watch out for in 2022; OOH has always been a darling of advertisers for its ability to drive awareness. Over the last few years, digital out of home (DOOH) has brought in contextual and audience targeting to the foray, making it even more exciting. 2022 and beyond will be the era of DOOH in transit media; it has got a lot of traction in the US, and it is now introduced in Dubai inside RTA taxis. Besides being contextual, targeted by profile and purpose of travel, it also allows passengers in a taxi to interact and engage with a brand on games, videos and promotions. It is making a ride productive in many ways. In the US, taxi screens have been around a bit longer and research has shown they three times more responses than popular social media.