Staff Reporters
Jan 5, 2022

We read a bunch of 2022 trend reports so you don't have to

We've distilled an inbox full of key trends and predictions for 2022 into an easy list of 15 points.

We read a bunch of 2022 trend reports so you don't have to

Many of the '2022 outlook' reports generated by the industry are full of blindingly obvious observations and predictions that are utterly predictable. No one has time to read that. Except, apparently, our editors, who have combed through a bunch of this year's reports on your behalf. We've curated the following easy-to-browse through list of 15 points that seemed worthy of note—either because they represent a consensus view or because they said something useful or interesting. We hope it helps you get your head around the year to come.

Consumers are serious about holding businesses accountable for climate change (seriously)
Source: Ipsos, Global Trends Survey 2021

Across 25 markets, the report found that almost two thirds (63%) say it is more important to them that companies do as much as they can to reduce harm to the environment than it is that companies pay the right amount of tax. Climate change as a crisis was identified in the report as the strongest global value, and brands will be expected to prioritise the environment or risk losing consumers.

We're seeing a ‘conscious decoupling’ of economic growth and climate change
Source: Dentsu, Creative Trends 2022: New Worlds Order

While the merging of brands and purpose is not new, smart businesses are transitioning from a product or consumption mindset towards a service-based, circular model. The report says: “Sustainable change will require radical collaboration and we are seeing businesses make commitments in alliance with policy makers and other like-minded, often competitor organisations.”

APAC companies will lag on sustainability
Source: Forrester, Predictions 2022 (APAC Edition)

In 2022, the number of firms in APAC that appoint a dedicated sustainability lead will be less than half of the global average, according to Forrester. For most firms in APAC, compiance and investor pressure are the only things pushing sustainability efforts—rather than strategic planning and risk management. "This shortsighted approach checks the box but will not materially affect climate change," the reports states. "Forward-looking companies will appoint a sustainability leader and create a dedicated funded function—or risk alienating empowered customers who see right through merely performative actions."

Trust and social good will be CMO imperatives
Source: Appnovation, Top Marketing Trends: 2022

Consumers are leery of marketing intent and expect brands and marketers to stand up when governments fail to meet increasingly high expectations they have been set. This analysis states that with this heightened set of expectations, marketers in 2022 can expect to focus sharply on building more trust with consumers on two fronts: ensuring their confidential data is secure and using their brand heft to advocate for issues that matter—at a time when silence can rapidly lead to consumer alienation.

A slowdown of performance marketing?
Source: Kantar, 2022 Media Trends and Predictions

The pandemic saw a boost in performance marketing spend, leading to stunning growth for brands. Kantar predicts increasing competition for performance marketing spend with the growth of social commerce, local retail giants becoming more sophisticated, ecommerce ad spend players, and metaverses gaining prominence. A rebalancing of spend across performance media and brand building campaigns is also in the books for 2022, according to the report.

Successful brands will reckon with the fluidity of identity and gender
Source: Dentsu, Creative Trends 2022: New Worlds Order

The report says that generation ‘also me’ is the most multi-cultural generation in history, and the generation most at ease with non-binary approaches to gender and identity. Relatedly, brands should consider identity truly ‘decentralised’ and in place of neat consumer archetypes, they must embrace tools and insights platforms that allow them to tune in and shape-shift with dexterity in order to meet the needs of their audiences.

APAC will see less workplace flexibility (and maybe that's OK) 
Source: Forrester, Predictions 2022 (APAC Edition)

Globally, Forrester expects that 70% of large firms to embrace some form of 'anywhere' work in 2022. But in APAC, more than 60% of APAC firms expect to bring the vast majority of workers back to the office full-time. Forrester also reports that 65% of APAC information workers are eager to return to the office. The report adroitly cites the prevalance of high-density living with extended families in APAC as a facrtor in this, with 58% of APAC employees saying they are less productive working at home, compared with 46% globally.

A new sense of identity for connected TV
Source: Fred Marthoz, managing director Asia, Lotame

Mobile is so 2021. Instead, this leader expects CTV to dominate the headlines for the foreseeable future. According to him, CTVs are predicted to grow, as more brands and marketers sense an opportunity in tapping one of the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising. He forecasts that more inventory will become available as identity and connectivity solutions come to the forefront. This shift, Marthoz predicts, will be driven even as social-media structure is shaken (with lower app monetisation expected to shrink business by 5-15% in 2022) and a feud for supremacy among identity solution partners continues, with an ongoing and prolonged demise of third-party cookies. 

Consumers will demand convincing on brand ethics
Source: Mintel, Global Consumer Trends 2022

Consumers have moved beyond simply wanting brands to ‘be ethical’ and are demanding to see measurable, transparent and consistent actions from the brands they choose to support, according to this report. "Brands need to ensure that ethical practices are not just a consideration but that they are a fixed feature of their business model and long-term strategies."

The next wave of transformation will arrive
Source: Forrester, Predictions 2022 (APAC Edition)

Digital sameness and falling returns on IT investments are forcing companies to work harder to demonstrate business value in crowded markets, according to this report. "This shift will establish a new era of transformation comprising human-centred technology initiatives that form a tight link between customer experience and employee experience, drive competitive advantage, and deliver a 3% to 5% net gain in productivity." 

The direct-to-avatar market will grow
Source: Dentsu, 2022 Media Trends: Reimagine Next

The rise of direct-to-avatar sales models is the biggest indication that we are moving into a time of metaverses, according to this report. "We see huge developments in this area—more brands, more drops, more partnerships, and more physical/virtual crossovers," the report authors say, citing brands that are emerging within games—without real-world products—such as The Fabricant, Tribute Brand and Hanifa. "If this is relevant to their audiences, brands should include virtual and in-game elements in existing campaigns," Dentsu advises. "Virtual should be part of an omnichannel strategy. Virtual worlds allow brands to do things that would not be possible in the real world, from in-game powers to virtual sub brands."

Western brands will court niche China marketplaces
Source: Forrester, Predictions 2022 (APAC Edition)

After years leaning on Alibaba/Tmall and for online sales in China, brands realize that these marketplaces "are as much enemy as friend—amping up sales volume at the expense of stealing a brand’s soul", according to this report. To fight back, western brands won't stop using these platforms, but will improve their own platforms and "follow the lead of some mature (often luxury) brands and spend 2022 vetting and courting niche marketplaces as well as mini programs via companies such as Douyin, Little Red Book, and WeChat".

Context will get more clever
Source: Dentsu, 2022 Media Trends: Reimagine Next

While contextual was traditionally quite straightforward—car ads on car pages—new ways of using AI to interrogate large data sets boost the potential for this to be much more sophisticated and accurate, this report states. For example, Facebook, Twitter and others are actively asking users to select topics they are interested in to help with contextual targeting, and other companies can take an existing audience-based campaign and reverse-engineer it to work out how it could have been targeted contextually.

Consumers will want to feel more in control
Source: Mintel, Global Consumer Trends 2022

"Feelings of precariousness and financial insecurity both created and exaggerated by the pandemic mean that consumers are looking for a sense of control," according to this report. And the continued spread of misinformation is not helping. "Therefore, consumers need clarity, transparency, flexibility and options to make decisions that suit their individual changing needs and circumstances," according to Mintel. "They want to know about ingredients—both what’s excluded and what’s included, and why—but also about efficacy to be sure that products deliver on what they promise."

Social will wear new colours
Source: We Are Social, Think Forward 2022

The rise of a wave of new tech from NFTs is deeply influencing consumers in previously unexplored ways, this report states. According to this report, there are five key trends for social-media mavens to dive into, including the rise of in-feed syllabi, with platforms being repurposed as “self-learning” offerings; the use of social to help brands connect more deeply with consumers amid the the rise of the 'vibe economy'; the transition of “second screens” into prime-time players in terms of viewing time; the need for brands to devise engaging material as content gets stale and social cynicism sets in; and the rise of a wave of new materials ranging from NFTs to Fortnite skins opening up all-new opportunities for brands and marketers.

Campaign Asia

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