Three Trends That Made 2022

Throughout the past year, we’ve collected, synthesized and disseminated over 200 trends to help Ayzenberg Group’s clients understand and navigate the ebbs and flows of today’s ever-changing, culturally–driven media landscape. From fashion fads to technological breakthroughs and from social media crazes to global events, we used various listening tools to identify and flag the greater underlying themes throughout the year. Below we’re sharing three of those standout trends for brand marketers from 2022 including the exponential impact of Generation Z, widespread brand collaborations and TikTok’s takeover of the entertainment world.


With Gen Z reaching adulthood, demographers and marketers are already discussing how this cohort might differ from their predecessors in terms of priorities, behaviors, spending patterns and values. With 68.6 Million individuals, Gen Z is coming of age. They want to be heard and they are bringing their purchasing power with them.

A recent study from Publicis and Vevo showcases how Gen Z mostly engages with TikTok in the morning, YouTube in the afternoon, and content on-demand through connected TV (CTV) services at night. Also, this generation is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google

At a glance, Gen Z is more likely to purchase from brands they follow on social media—free delivery is a major incentive, while coupons and discounts are important—and 26 percent use social media to make purchases. Lastly, Generation Z is socially conscious and this has an impact on what they consume, how they consume it and from whom they are consuming. These behaviors differ from their generational counterparts as Generation Z has grown up with a high level of access to digital devices like computers and smartphones. Now, they have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and know how to use it. With sustainability, political support, conservation and community in mind, brands must recognize that this generation demands authenticity and transparency. The best way to adapt to that is to be attentive to the massive changes and meet them where they are, and follow the path of their shifting demographic power.


Collaborations are nothing new, but how they were harnessed in 2022 showcases the power of partnership. The lines between industries blurred, and creatives from different fields worked together to create unique pieces that changed verticals. 

A prime example of this was McDonald’s and Cactus Plant Flea Market. Collaboration between a fast food and fashion brand isn’t something you see every day, but the collaboration brought a buzz to both brands. The collab sold out at most locations, and the toys associated were selling for thousands on eBay. It brought new audiences to Cactus Plant and nostalgia—not to mention people, back to McDonald’s for a surprise and delight. 

Lastly, Duolingo and HBO Max teamed up for their House of The Dragon series to create an app that taught audiences the fantasy language spoken in the show. This activation aided in the show’s record-breaking premiere with 10 million viewers on HBO. Collaboration should be a mutually beneficial experience. Being data-driven and having a pulse on culture set brand collaborations above the rest.


What resonates with Gen Z and what doesn’t? With one-fifth of Generation Z spending more than five hours per day on TikTok and nearly 40% of people in Gen Z saying TikTok videos are where they go to learn about and buy new products, it’s no wonder other apps are swiping at short-form video features, resulting in a sea of ambiguity between platforms as content is shared and reshared.

Short-form videos (long-form now as well) drew people in and kept them there for elongated periods. Gen Z is using the app to search and shop, frequently searching for “hauls,” “reviews,” and more, which fuels the app as a search engine. The searches led to Scrub Daddy, a sponge, being revived, with online store revenue reaching $500,000 because of the app accounts debut. The short video bites allow for funny skits and dances, but also the transmission of trends, opinions, facts and discourse. Lastly, among other things, it helps keep users aware of new music they may otherwise not have found. Songs seeing a resurgence include Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag and Kate Bush’s 1985 “Running Up That Hill,” which was popularized again due to Stranger Things, but assuredly helped by TikTok in its ascension of the charts in 2022. 

Other apps like Instagram and YouTube have attempted to duplicate the powerhouse app. Still, both seem to be missing the magic sauce because they are losing the essence of themselves and attempting to duplicate and fit into the confines of one another. The efforts showcase that the best features keep applications afloat. Whether it be the sharability, the endless scroll-like features, or even the simple user tags—and despite the clones—there is really only one TikTok. It infiltrated how we shopped, shared information, found and listened to music and so much more. The mixture of these elements helped create a new social window into the lives of others. No matter what happens next with the app, the long-lasting effects will continue to ripple outward into the greater media ecosystem. 

Why Embedded Finance Could Transform Social Commerce

With over 4 billion views of videos under the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, the potential for social media platforms to shorten the sales funnel for brands is evident. However, payments technology—and consumer trust—present a challenge for brand marketers amidst an $80 billion-dollar opportunity.

Social Commerce’s Surge Has A Notable Hitch – Payments And Consumer Trust

According to a recent report by Insider Intelligence, over half of American consumers will have purchased through a social media platform by the end of 2022. According to the report, consumer spending in the US via social commerce will likely reach $80 billion by 2025—and global spending will reach $1.2 trillion. With 92 percent of consumers stating that they discovered a new product on social media and 40 percent of consumers reporting that they actively search for products while interacting on a social platform, the opportunity for brands to benefit from a social commerce storefront is significant. Results can be impressive—for example, a two-hour live shopping event on TikTok resulted in more than a week’s worth of sales at a brand’s flagship retail store. 

In addition, social commerce appeals to the consumer segments that shop the most. For example, millennials and Gen Z. An October 2022 survey reveals that 78 percent of Gen Z and 70 percent of millennials reported that they are likely to purchase directly from a social media platform in the next 12 months. One reason for Gen Z’s and millennials’ high levels of engagement with social commerce is their reliance on influencers as they make shopping choices. A recent survey revealed that over 70 percent of consumers who regularly watched influencers’ live streams were likely to buy products that they recommended. 

More than half of millennials and Gen Z have purchased based on a social media influencer or content creator recommendation. That means coveted demographics are looking for product purchasing guidance, interacting with influencers’ product-focused content, and are willing to buy—all on the same platforms. And many social commerce consumers want to become repeat customers: a 2022 McKinsey survey found 75 percent of live shopping event attendees wished to attend another virtual sale.

But there’s a hitch: 43 percent of consumers who would not purchase via social media said they distrusted the platforms with their payment information. 

How Trust And A Payments Infrastructure Drive Social Commerce Sales

According to a Mckinsey report, more Gen Z consumers purchase directly online via social and creator platforms. A Forrester survey quoted by the McKinsey survey shows 61 percent of Gen Z adults made an in-app social media or creator platform purchase, up from 53 percent in 2020.

That growth—and consumers’ willingness to buy directly on social platforms, may be boosted—or hindered—by how user-friendly and trustworthy payment processes are for shoppers. For example, in China, where social commerce has exploded in recent years, the integration of seamless social shopping and payments made it simple for social media consumers to shift purchasing to social channels.

“Over the years, mega-platforms such as Alibaba and Tencent have used the trust they built among Chinese consumers to create a sprawling digital ecosystem and enable the rapid growth of social commerce,” the report reads. “Creator content, product discovery, community sharing, and digital-payment infrastructures are all integrated into a seamless one-stop-shop digital universe.”

While there are certainly differences between Chinese and American shopping behaviors, one point of symmetry is the significance of influencer culture to consumers’ shopping interests and the opportunity user-friendly digital payments present for brands.

“Just as the arrival of Alibaba’s Taobao Live in 2016 ushered in a new type of e-commerce, social-commerce adoption in the United States is being driven by social media and content creation platforms (such as Pinterest and TikTok) adding new shopping capabilities,” according to McKinsey’s Social Commerce: The Future Of How Consumers Interact With Brands. “These tech-enabled features allow platforms to process transactions and, in doing so, gain access to first-party customer data and expand their ability to offer value to advertisers.”

According to the report, the ability to securely manage transactions through a platform provides benefits to brands and platforms. “Instead of merely targeting consumers with top-of-the-funnel awareness campaigns, social media platforms can now draw a much more direct line between advertising impressions and verified sales.”

But gaining that first-party data from consumers requires gaining consumers’ trust, something complicated by social media’s slew of recent controversies regarding data privacy.

While a recent survey showed that 47 percent of consumers stated that they “strongly distrusted” social media platforms concerning their financial or banking data, they held high trust for traditional banks. A payment tool tailored to social commerce provided by a bank may offer a solution for social media platforms and brands attempting to boost social shopping adoption.

Enter embedded finance: a trending shift in payments strategy among retailers that may address some consumers’ reluctance to trust their payment data to a social platform. Embedded finance typically means a nonbank, such as a retailer or a brand, offering customers financial services, such as providing access to a digital wallet or branded Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payments. FinTechs often offer embedded finance services in collaboration with banks for their brand or retailer clients. For example, a brand or retailer selling in-app or via a live-shopping event could offer shoppers customized payment options through the bank or FinTech and assure customers that these services must comply with strict financial data handling regulations governing financial institutions.

According to a recent survey of European retailers presented by Finextra: 

Seventy-four percent of the retailers surveyed currently offer embedded financial products or services to customers, and a majority, 56 percent, plan to roll out new offerings over the coming 12 months. Retailers surveyed cited a range of reasons for creating or planning the integration of embedded finance options, such as creating a new revenue stream (41 percent), increasing customer loyalty (40 percent) and improving customer brand satisfaction (38 percent).

Per a recent report by Bain & Company, financial services embedded into e-commerce and other software platforms accounted for $2.6 trillion—approximately 5 percent—of all US financial transactions in 2021. According to the report, these transactions will likely reach $7 trillion by 2026.

Read the full McKinsey 2022 Global Payments Report

The Intent Economy: Why Social Commerce Is More Important Than Ever

In 2012, Harvard professor David “Doc” Searls predicted that the marketplace would thrive or fail based on its ability to bridge the gap between customer intent, commercial user experiences and consumers’ need for data privacy. Ten years later, we revisit his speculations in the age of social commerce. 

How Social Media Became An Intent Map

Searls quite accurately predicted the future of social commerce in his 2012 book, “The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge.”

“Each customer will come to market equipped with his or her own means for collecting and storing personal data, expressing demand, making choices, setting preferences, proffering terms of engagement, offering payments and participating in relationships—whether those relationships are shallow or deep, and whether they last for moments or years,” Searls writes. “Those means will be standardized. No vendor will control them.”

While consumers have yet to be in complete control of their data, social media companies, in many aspects, are. When consumers opt-in to social media, they deliver a trove of search and behavioral data to social platforms, a practice that has drawn the federal government’s attention for years. According to a recent study, the average app may contact as many as 15 domains, with 12 of those connections initiated with unknown third-party domains.

That data allows these platforms to perform most of the functions that Searls described above only via predictive algorithms. Surprisingly, social apps contacted the fewest URLs. Part of that may be because social apps have access to exceptional first-party data. Platforms today serve as a proxy for customer intent, translating consumer behavior into insights that allow brand marketers to target their audiences effectively. But there’s a hitch—even on social media, banner ads still have low click-through rates

Today, brand marketers are shifting spending to platforms that deliver content that consumers enthusiastically engage with and share. TikTok, the social media platform with the highest user engagement, has an average watch rate of approximately 16 percent. That engagement is all the more valuable to brands, as TikTok’s dominance in user engagement means it has somehow hooked into consumer intent and leveraged those insights to deliver $2.5 billion in consumer spending in 2021.

According to TikTok, consumers are engaging with content and regularly taking action. That means brand marketers can leverage insights from TikTok (or other platforms) to determine consumer intent and shorten the distance between intent and purchase through social commerce—provided the platform’s regulatory and privacy concerns are addressed.

The Social Commerce Opportunity For Brand Marketers

As cookies become a thing of the past, social platforms’ first-party data will be key to finding a way to identify intent and shorten the sales funnel. Social commerce meets brand marketers’ needs on all fronts, allowing them to gain access to insights drawn from first-party data and making it easier for brands to drive sales through a native environment.

One simple way to do this is to partner with creators on platforms like TikTok. Approximately 67 percent of users surveyed said that TikTok inspired them to make a purchase, and creator partnerships on TikTok saw a video view-through rate increase of 193 percent for brands, per Hootsuite. According to eMarketer, U.S. social commerce sales will likely reach $45.74 billion by the end of the year, with more than half of the country’s adults making a purchase via social media.

The key reasons that social media users did not make a purchase through a social media platform range from a preference to make purchases directly from the brand to a need for clarification about the security of payments. For brand marketers seeking to capture consumers on social networks, solving payment concerns and developing branded e-commerce experiences will be key to engagement as social commerce grows. But brands shouldn’t forget, as Searls points out in his original article on the concept, that the Intention Economy is more than transactional: “Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect. Those virtues, however, are earned by sellers (as well as buyers) and not just “branded” by sellers on the minds of buyers like the symbols of ranchers burned on the hides of cattle.”

For Searls, an avowed data privacy advocate, ad tech and media must focus on something deeper than fostering clicks. Businesses should craft their outreach based on customer intent—the needs and preferences that users share willingly. While Searls is a harsh critic of all things ad tech, his words may offer some insights for marketers.

“So, what can we do?” Searls writes. “The simple and difficult answer is to start making tools for individuals, and services leveraging those tools. These are tools empowering individuals with better ways to engage the world’s organizations, especially businesses […] Build some of those and we’ll have an intention economy that will do far more for business than what it’s getting now from the attention economy, regardless of how much money that economy is making today.”

Being A Data-Driven Agile Leader With Stacey Pool, CMO At Noodles & Co.

As a world traveler who loves to learn, Stacey Pool embodies the “growth mindset.” With over twenty years of experience in consumer marketing, she has held a variety of leadership roles across multiple industries and has a strong track record of utilizing guest insights to deliver strong business results.  

In this episode, Stacey and I discuss the brand refresh she is leading at Noodles & Co. with digital initiatives and data components. Stacy knows it is people that fuel it all and has learned that being a balanced leader requires you to be able to adjust quickly to changing needs.

 In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of broadening your skill set and being an agile leader
  • The way digital and physical engagement intersect
  • How Noodles & Co. is using data to improve both the guest experience and profit margins

 Key Highlights

  • [03:45] How did Stacy end up as CMO at Noodles & Co.
  • [07:00] How lateral moves helped Stacy in her current executive roles
  • [09:00] The importance of agility and cross-training in leadership
  • [10:45] What Stacy learned from her transition to the food industry
  • [13:20] Noodles & Co. overview and differentiators
  • [15:20] The new brand positioning Stacy brought to the company
  • [18:25] The 100-day action plan and how it had to be adjusted
  • [21:00] How Noodles & Co. is approaching the digital transformation
  • [24:00] The data world Noodles is trying to build
  • [26:50] How data storage and usage have evolved
  • [28:25] How Stacy approaches the people side of the business
  • [32:10] The two experiences that shaped who Stacy is as a person
  • [33:50] Why people should give themselves more grace
  • [35:15] The importance of CDPs for marketers
  • [37:22] The work Stacy is doing with Community First and other brands to watch
  • [40:15] The threat of the unknown and the need to pivot quickly

Resources Mentioned:

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

New CMOs Join Sprouts, McAfee, Hertz And More

We’re taking a look at recent chief marketer appointments at businesses including Sprouts Farmers Market, Starz, McAfee, Hertz and more—as well as a departure at Best Buy.

Alisa Gmelich Appointed New CMO at Sprouts Farmers Market

With more than 25 years of experience in brand development and marketing strategy in the prepared foods market, Alisa Gmelich is set to join the Sprouts Farmers Market team as their new senior vice president and chief marketing officer, leading the company’s marketing, advertising and customer engagement initiatives.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Alisa to the Sprouts team,” President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Konat told The Produce News. “Her experience in building brands and growing customer engagement will be instrumental in shaping Sprouts’ marketing strategy to support our expansion and deepen loyalty with our customers.”

Before taking on this new role for the chain grocer, Gmelich held various marketing positions at Auntie Anne’s, IHOP and Burger King Corp., taking on projects with local and national impact, from directing sales to menu innovation.

“I am extremely humbled to join Sprouts, a brand that I’ve long admired for innovation and purpose,” Gmelich told The Produce News. “Providing communities access to healthy, affordable foods is more important today than ever before, and I look forward to helping the brand connect even further with customers nationwide in meaningful ways with the products they need and desire.”

Best Buy’s Frank Crowson Steps Down As CMO

Earlier this month, Frank Crowson stepped down as Best Buy Co.’s chief marketing officer after working in that capacity for the electronics retailer since May 2020, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Crowson held a senior executive position at the company for three years prior to becoming CMO, utilizing customer data to help brands tailor their marketing strategies and reach consumers.

“My focus and accomplishments centered around building the Best Buy brand through customer obsession,” Crowson wrote in his LinkedIn profile, “driving traffic through digital, data-driven marketing, and consistently driving profitable growth of retail media.”

Prior to leading Best Buy’s marketing operations, Crowson worked in similar roles at Guitar Center and Target Corp.

Best Buy has yet to announce a replacement, though Chief Customer Officer Allison Peterson is reportedly now in charge of producing “meaningful differentiation and brand love” among the retailer’s customers.

McAfee Corp. Hires Deirdre Findlay as New Senior VP, CMO

McAfee Corp. announced the appointment of industry leader Deirdre Findlay as senior vice president and chief marketing officer earlier this week. The seasoned marketing executive comes to the San Jose-based computer security software company from Condé Nast, where she led marketing efforts for brands including Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Over the course of a 25-year career, Findlay has worked with several brands, including Google, eBay and Stitch Fix, to expand their digital marketing enterprises, even leading the first integrated brand campaign for the personal styling company.

As McAfee’s new CMO, Findlay will reportedly supervise the company’s worldwide marketing and communication efforts, driving growth and advancing brand reach globally.

“The ability to enjoy life online safely and confidently is made possible because of McAfee,” Findlay said in a company press release. “To be part of this mission-based company and make an impact in the daily aspects of people’s lives globally motivates and inspires me. The need for comprehensive online protection has never been greater. I’m excited by the opportunity to help unlock even more value for our customers and partners by building richer and more immersive experiences with the McAfee brand.”

Wayne Davis To Take On CMO Role At Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

Building on more than 20 years of industry experience, veteran marketing and sales executive Wayne Davis is set to assume the CMO mantle at Hertz Global Holdings Inc. starting Jan. 3, 2023, where he will lead the company’s Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty brands’ marketing strategy.

“Hertz is an iconic brand with unlimited potential,” Davis said in a press release from the vehicle rental company. “I’m excited to get started with a talented marketing team to bring even more breakthrough ideas to the marketplace and connect Hertz with our consumer, corporate and rideshare customers.”

Prior to taking on this new role, Davis worked in marketing, sales and business development across multiple industries, with the last four years spent growing GE Appliences’ Café brand, which reportedly more than tripled in size under his leadership, becoming one of the fastest growing brands in the appliance industry.

“I am delighted to have Wayne join our leadership team at this exciting time for Hertz,” said Stephen Scherr, Hertz CEO. “Wayne’s brand-building experience and expertise in data-driven marketing analytics is a powerful combination, and I am excited about the vision he will bring to Hertz as we transform our business through electrification, shared mobility and a digital-first customer experience.”

Starz Hires Former Netflix Marketing Executive Jimmy Hilburn For CMO Position

Former Netflix marketing executive Jimmy Hilburn recently became Starz’ newest CMO as the network fills various senior positions, including senior vice president of publicity, events and awards and executive vice president of direct-to-consumer. In his new role, Hilburn will reportedly oversee all marketing, media, publicity and creative teams at the company.

Before leaving Netflix, where he worked for more than eight years, Hilburn held senior marketing positions, working on the streamer’s stand-up comedy brand, as well as international originals and several hit shows, including “Bridgerton,” “Ozark” and “Narcos.” Prior to Netflix, Hilburn worked at AMC, where the assisted in launching shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead.”

Rhea Ghosh Becomes Cosynd’s First-Ever CMO

Rhea Ghosh will take the lead on all communications initiatives and consumer brand marketing at copyright protection service Cosynd after being promoted to the newly created CMO position. Building on a decade’s worth of experience working with entrepreneurs, brands and creators, Ghosh will also supervise the company’s advocacy initiatives within its partner network, which includes CD Baby, the American Association of Independent Music, the MLC, Repost by SoundCloud, Symphonic Distribution, BookBaby, DiscMakers, AdRev, Soundrop and BeatStars, among others.

Ghosh joined Cosynd in 2020, and prior to that, she was the global head of marketing at Downtown Music Publishing, overseeing all its marketing and communications strategy worldwide.

Additionally, Ghosh also helped launch New York Music Month, an annual festival celebrating music’s impact in the state, as well as Sound Thinking NYC, a program designed to introduce women to careers in the music industry.

“Rhea is a true gem and we are so fortunate to have her take on such a significant role at Cosynd,” said Jessica Sobhraj, CEO of Cosynd. “She is a natural connector, innovator and a real advocate for creators with an impressive track record of meaningful contributions to our industry. Her extraordinary ability to build bridges across communities and generate successful outcomes adds tremendous value for our partners and ultimately the millions of creators that they serve.”

Martin Burke Named Patisserie Valerie CMO

With 15 years of experience marketing hospitality, food service and other fast-moving consumer goods, Martin Burke, former marketing director at Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, joins Patisserie Valerie and sister brand Bakers + Baristas as their new CMO. Burke will oversee marketing for the company’s stores, tea rooms and cafes across the U.K. and Ireland, as well as its e-commerce platform.

“His impressive marketing track record, expertise in e-commerce and passion for the industry means he is perfectly placed to drive the two brands forward, and we look forward to seeing where this leads us,” Patisserie Valerie and Bakers + Baristas group CEO James Fleming told British Baker.

Before taking on this new role, Burke had worked at Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate for 10 years, handling the brand’s marketing and consumer insights. He’s also held similar positions at Warner Bros. Entertainment and PlayStation.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can move in new and exciting directions, not just with our stores, but across our e-commerce channel to deliver innovative and delicious hand-crafted products to our customers nationwide,” Burke told British Baker.

The Majority Of Consumers Are Gaming During The Holidays

A recent survey by YouGov reveals that families are gaming to reconnect with distant loved ones, connect with kids and keep stress to a minimum.

Games Are Helping Distant Friends And Family Members Bond

According to the survey, which Xbox commissioned, 58 percent of consumers surveyed stated they use multiplayer gaming to connect with distant relatives and friends who can’t make it back home for the holidays. That can be important for families and friends who won’t be traveling this year. A recent study found that 43 percent of Americans will not be traveling to see loved ones this holiday season, and 40 percent won’t participate in any large gatherings either. The reason millions of Americans are staying home isn’t just because of a fear of COVID or other public health concerns; 37 percent state it is because of concerns over inflation, according to a recent survey by Deloitte. That means consumers who can’t be there in person with friends and family will likely spend a lot of time online and will likely invest in ways to make virtual interactions more engaging. Recently, Microsoft began testing a family plan option for its popular Xbox Game Pass in Columbia and Ireland. The family pass would allow a subscription to be shared with up to four people. 

Consumers Are Using Gaming To Deal With Holiday Stress 

According to a recent survey, with 64 percent of us concerned about our finances this holiday season, it isn’t surprising that families want to escape stress together through gaming. The YouGov study revealed that 54 percent of consumers use gaming to deal with holiday stress, and there’s a good amount of science behind that answer. A 2020 survey showed that games can produce positive stress release and allow social interactions which, although virtual, can deliver powerful benefits. Those interactions can not only help relieve stress for adults, but they can also help younger people deal with the stress of isolation when away from friends, according to University of Saskatchewan computer science professor Regan Mandryk, who directed the research in 2020.

“When (kids) can’t (interact) physically, they can do that right now in a game like Minecraft that allows them to build together, to be creative, to express themselves in the way that they feel most natural to express themselves.” In addition, researchers have seen positive results as therapists have used games such as Minecraft as a stress-relief tool for several years, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

Learn more about gaming during the holidays.

Personalization Will Drive Consumer Shopping In 2023

According to recent studies by Twilio and Nielsen, consumers are curating their shopping experiences according to their in-the-moment demands—convenience and choice. Retailers who want to achieve customer loyalty amid the uncertainty of 2023 will have to do the same.

Consumers are looking at shopping and the economy as a whole. According to a Nielsen study, 81 percent of US consumers are reevaluating their priorities or new priorities concerning how they shop. Personalized shopping experiences top the list. As a result, consumers are taking more control over their shopping journeys.

According to survey data from Mckinsey, consumers learned how to curate their shopping experiences during the early days of the pandemic, choosing shopping channels and brands that offered the most value for their time and money. Seventy-five percent of consumers found new brands, stores, or websites to rely on at the start of the pandemic. Moreover, a majority—60 percent—anticipate that they will keep shopping with those new merchants when the health crisis ends. But consumers are doing much more than looking for new brands or using multiple shopping channels to get the prices and value they want. Instead, they now wish retailers to intuit their needs and offer them the same kind of personalized shopping journeys that they’ve been creating for themselves.

Personalize It (Just Don’t Ask Me How)

According to the Twilio report, 49 percent of consumers would become repeat customers if merchants offered personalized shopping experiences. Yet, only 40 percent said they trusted brands with their data and believed the company would use it responsibly. That means retailers must either intuit customer needs or hope to induce them to share their preferences for shopping experiences. But even that may be a challenge, since only 47 percent of companies surveyed can personalize communications, based on consumer behavior, in real-time. Moreover, the lack of personalization is more than an inconvenience for consumers. According to the report, 62 percent of shoppers surveyed said a retailer would lose their loyalty if they encountered an ”un-personalized” shopping experience.

Consumers Spend More When Shopping Experiences Are Personalized

The value of personalization is evident for retailers, 80 percent of whom state consumers spend 34 percent more on average when their shopping experiences are personalized. But finding out what consumers want when only a minority trust retailer with their data is a challenge.

What It Means For Marketers:

According to Twilio, marketers need to hone in on first-party data to gain insights into customer preferences and develop intuitive shopping experiences. 

“Due to regulatory changes and subsequent moves from tech giants like Apple and Google businesses are facing a “now or never” moment to build a strategy for collecting, managing, using, and protecting first-party consumer data in a responsible way,” the report reads.

Read the full report.

Trend Set: Analyzing Gen Z’s Spending Habits, Media Consumption

In this week’s roundup from Ayzenberg’s Ashley Otah: how brands can engage Gen Zers and the impact TikTok may have on the journalism industry.


Consumer habits and desires are rapidly changing, as noted in Snapchat’s latest report, which outlines Gen Z’s spending power, as well as how and why they consume digital content. Among the key findings, 63 percent of Gen Zers surveyed favor brands that have fair labor policies and approximately three-fourths say that they are loyal to companies that speak to social change. Also of note, a need to stay up-to-date is a big driver behind content consumption by Gen Z, with members of this generational cohort seeking content that aligns with their values and lifts their spirits. The numbers indicate that this demographic demands change—a great finding to bring into the new year.


A pair of giant Vans on wheels took to the streets of New York for the shoe manufacturer’s latest activation with popular NYC influencers in tow. The oversized replicas, designed after Van’s latest additions to their MTE collection, surprised many and gave fans and passersby alike a chance to get up close and personal, enter the shoes and even check out what the inside would feel like. The pop-up highlights the power of experiential marketing and thinking outside the (shoe) box.

Striking Findings From 2022

More Americans are getting their news on TikTok, especially a growing number of adults, according to Pew Research Center findings from this year. A third of U.S. adult TikTok users say they regularly get their news there, up 22 percent from two years ago, contrasting the steady decline in consumption documented on other platforms like Facebook—though Instagram has also seen a slight boost. This information can help brands and consumers understand the trajectory of journalism and the future of the industry.

Why ‘Account Of The Year’ Estee Lauder Chose TikTok To Reach Gen Z

Estee Lauder is a legacy brand often associated with older generations—that’s changing as the brand engages Gen Z with a TikTok-focused strategy.

TikTok was recently named Estee Lauder Account of the Year, an honor that reflects the company’s embrace of the platform as a tool to introduce the 76-year-old brand to a new generation. The platform boasts one billion monthly active users spending an average of 850 minutes daily on the app, and is beloved by Gen Z.

But Estee Lauder didn’t buy ads and hope for the best, which was vital to their success, as Gen Z loses interest in ads—even the engaging ones—after 1.3 seconds, according to a recent report.


Why Estee Lauder Chose TikTok 

Gen Z is now more likely to look for products on TikTok or Instagram than Google. According to a recent survey, 72% of Gen Z consumers follow influencers on social media, and 52% trust influencers’ advice on the products and brands they should use.

Estee Lauder’s TikTok campaign was launched in 2021. The campaign collaborated with TikTok creators such as Liane Valenzuela and Mireya Rios, who have a combined following on the site of 14.8 million.

In an interview with Digiday, the social media and content manager for Estée Lauder Lubna Mohsin, stated the brand chose TikTok to reach new audiences in the highly competitive EMEA market because it gets the brand in front of a prized demographic: Gen Z.

“Whilst Instagram is key to engaging our core audiences and deepening our relationship with existing and new consumers, we wanted to push the boundaries in new ways and reach new people,” Moshin stated in the interview. “Naturally, we looked beyond what we were already doing. In TikTok, we saw a unique opportunity to recruit a new, larger audience with a younger demographic.”

TikTok’s Engagement Data Reveals Its Impact

According to Kalindi Mehta, Vice President of Consumer Foresight and Predictive Analytics, Enterprise Marketing & Data at The Estee Lauder Companies, brand marketers need to be careful to recognize foresight when looking at campaign results. What’s working now may not work in the near future – and that can be a challenge when translating insights into strategy.

“You can’t just go by data,” Mehta stated in a Forbes article. “The more rigor you put into building foresight by linking data to meaning to wider [cultural] influences, the more depth you bring to your foresight, the more likely you are to head in the right direction.”

When campaigns go well, it can lead marketers to stick with what they know, rather than looking at new options that may perform better.

“Because we get digital results so quickly, marketers become addicted,” she said. “We see immediate feedback in terms of clicks or short-term sales, so if you’re a marketer who’s nervous about spending your money, and you’re seeing that it’s working right now, you tend to keep your focus there.”

While brands may initially lean into Instagram, newcomer TikTok may actually deliver greater engagement through influencers, per an Upfluence study. While Instagram is highly effective, TikTok is a challenger that’s delivering on Gen Z engagement, said Mehta.

According to  Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok soared above other social media platforms for per post user engagement. 

  • Micro-influencer engagement rates: 17.96% on TikTok, 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube.
  • Mega-influencer engagement rates: 4.96% on TikTok, 1.21% on Instagram, and just 0.37% on YouTube.

TikTok’s popularity is predicted to continue rising among Gen Z, per Statista. And that means that legacy brands like Estee Lauder will likely continue shifting spend to the platform.

View Estee Lauder’s TikTok account here.

The State Of Retail Fashion Marketing In 2023: Mapping Marketers’ Biggest Opportunities

2023 may represent uncertainty for many industries, but for retail fashion brand marketers, the consumers are still swiping right on sustainable luxury retail brands.

First, The Bad News: Most Fashion Brands Are Not Feeling Too Hopeful

According to The Business of Fashion-McKinsey State of Fashion 2023 Survey, the vast majority—84 percent—of industry executives in fashion expect zero growth or a decline in market conditions in 2023. That’s a significant shift from the 2022 survey when 91 percent of executives predicted market conditions would improve or remain the same. That’s not surprising; Inflation has taken a brutal toll on fashion brands, with the Ukraine conflict complicating European fashion retailers‘ struggles to move products amid a global economic downturn. 

Fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara closed hundreds of stores across eastern Europe due to the conflict, and price hikes didn’t help European consumers return to old-school “retail therapy.” While many fashion brands like Zara and H&M showed sales growth in 2022, most are seeking to cut costs. H&M recently slashed 1500 jobs to meet its savings goal—approximately $190 million—for 2022. According to the survey, about 64 percent of European fashion brand executives expected marketplace conditions to worsen.

According to the report, retailers are also readying themselves for lower spending among the drivers of fast fashion: young people. “We see [younger and less affluent] customers spending much more cautiously on discretionary items and often waiting for promotions before buying,” said Richard A. Hayne, chief executive officer of retail group Urban Outfitters in August 2022.” That’s not surprising, but it could spell trouble for US retail brands that increased the number of discounts offered on products by 36% in 2022 over 2021, per the report. 

With more than 97 percent of survey respondents saying they anticipate the higher cost of goods sold and the costs of selling, including general and administrative expenses, in 2023, further discounts may cut into profit margins. And that’s if they can get budget-conscious consumers shopping. 

“Seventy-six percent of Gen-Z and 79 percent of Millennials reported that they are dipping into their savings, taking on more credit or taking on additional jobs to manage their finances,” the report reads.

According to the report, three-quarters of retail fashion brand executives plan to raise prices to cover costs. This a move that could scare away a critical demographic—Gen Z—who are now looking to sustainable fashion options as cost concerns mount.

The Good News: Sustainability Is So Hot Right Now

According to The Business of Fashion-McKinsey report, retail fashion brands in the sustainability space, or those developing sustainable options, have the best opportunity to capture new audiences. 

According to the report, sustainable clothing options, like resale and clothing rentals, are booming – and new business models are taking hold at brands like Lululemon, Dr. Martens, and Patagonia, among others offering resale in recent years through their own services or third parties.

“Resale revenue is expected to grow to $47 billion by 2025, from $15 billion in 2022—11 times faster than apparel retail overall, albeit from a lower base,” the study reports.

The luxury market is still robust and leading the way in counterintuitive market trends are brands like ThredUp, meeting luxury buyers’ desire for name brands and affordability. Luxury shoppers are the outliers for marketers—driving up luxury brand revenues against inflationary pressure.

“According to McKinsey’s analysis of publicly listed companies, the luxury segment’s top-line grew 27 percent in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021,” the report states. Luxury groups like LVMH and Kering reported double-digit growth for the first nine months of 2022 and have increased their revenue projections.” 

What It Means For Marketers:

Businesses will likely need to raise prices, and there is a limit to how much discounting is sustainable for retail brands. As retailers face competition from more sustainable alternatives—like digital resale outlets like ThredUp—marketers must be creative in reimagining how they appeal to key demographics like Gen Z. That means getting ahead of the curve and matching marketing strategy to consumer priorities creatively, whether it is through clothing trade-in campaigns designed to get Gen Z back into physical stores or luxury brand sustainable eCommerce.