Around the Wire: 5 Consumer News Trends to Know About
A look at consumer and retail news from PR Newswire in September and October that you might have missed.
By Carli Claar, Caitlyn Wojnarowski | Published Nov. 11, 2022
It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, impacting everything from the way we travel to how we work, and, of course, how we spend. The Cision team reads and tags thousands of press releases each month, and has become quite adept at recognizing the key trends influencing the way retail brands interact with their target audiences.
In a developing, post-pandemic consumer landscape, there’s been a noticeable uptick in brands looking to garner interactions with an ever more conscientious consumer base. A clear, increased focus on how a company “gives back” — whether centered around sustainability and efforts to fight climate change, or diversity, equity and inclusion — has been perhaps the biggest change we’ve noticed on the retail wire as of late.
Let’s unpack these and some additional noteworthy trends we’ve seen across the consumer wire in September and October.
Some of the Most Popular Consumer and Retail Releases:
Over the last two months, these consumer and retail releases stood out from the crowd with regard to overall views, engagement, and uniqueness:
- McDonald’s had a successful run of recent releases, from its fresh collaboration with streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market (I may or may not be the proud owner of a four-eyed Grimace figure) to a final farewell to the McRib.
- Another well-known fast food brand, Wendy’s, tapped into a creative, pop culture-inspired collaboration with Uber Eats on limited edition Rick and Morty-themed items.
- Kroger stood firm and pressed for better prescription drug prices, showing a strong commitment to its customer base, and announced a definitive merger agreement with Albertson’s.
- In August, the FDA finalized a rule improving access to over-the-counter hearing aids, which led several brands like Sony, Lucid, and Beltone to introduce their own commercially-available options.
- Mentos taught actual raccoons how to recycle. Seriously.
Consumer and Retail News Trends
Throughout September and October, we distributed over 5,000 consumer and retail press releases, taking notice of a few popular topics:
1. Fall Themes, Halloween, and Thanksgiving
Unsurprisingly, a recurring favorite this time of year is fall-themed retail copy. From PSL-infused products to Halloween and Thanksgiving, this trending topic is as enduring as ever in the months leading up to the 2022 holiday season.
Here are a few examples from September and October:
- Spirit Halloween Shares Top Trends for 2022 to Help Fans Embrace Their Halloween Lifestyle
- Boorito Returns to Chipotle Restaurants for the First Time Since 2019
- Hefty® Brings Fall to the Trash Can with Pumpkin Spice Trash Bags
- Protect Your Reese's Candy This Halloween with the Reese's Secret Stash Trick-or-Treat Bag
- Butterball® Offers New Spin on Daily Support, Inspiration to Stressed Thanksgiving Hosts
- They're BACK! McDonald's USA's Iconic Halloween Pails Will Return Oct. 18
2. Green, Eco-Friendly Products and Sustainability
With climate change and sustainability becoming an accelerated point of focus across the globe, more consumers and companies alike are looking to commit to a better future for us and our planet. More consumers are now factoring sustainability into their buying decisions, and brands are definitely taking notice — in September and October alone, 1,265 releases mentioning "sustainability" crossed our wire. This prevalent, positive post-pandemic trend spans multiple industries, and retail is no exception.
Some good examples:
- Sanuk Rolls Out 100% Plant-Based Veg Out Collection with Carbon Neutral Materials
- Smile Coffee Werks® Enhances Sustainability with Fair Trade and USDA Organic Certifications
- Tools to Build a Better Planet: BLACK+DECKER® Announces Retail Launch for reviva™, the Brand's First Sustainably Led Power Tool Line
- IKEA U.S. and SunPower Launch Home Solar Offering in California
- Paramount Consumer Products and Nickelodeon Announce Launch of Global Ocean Conservation and Sustainability Initiative SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change
- Whirlpool Corporation to reach 100 percent renewable electricity for U.S. plant operations
3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Another wide-reaching, post-pandemic societal shift has steered the retail industry as well — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). According to research by Deloitte: “Many consumer organizations have both a business and a moral imperative to go beyond the basics for advancing DEI: their market share and reputation depend on it.” Consumers are growing increasingly unwilling to engage with brands that don’t represent them or strive to foster a sense of inclusivity and belonging. Recognizing this strong preference, especially among Millennial and Gen Z consumers, is invaluable across all industries; highlighting the importance of DEI is a positive step forward for everyone.
Over the last two months, we’ve seen a wide variety of DEI-related copy from many well-known brands:
- Victoria's Secret Launches Undefinable Global Campaign Seeking to Inspire & Listen to Women Around the World
- Latinas in Tech Partners With Korbel® California Champagne to Celebrate Influential Hispanic Women in STEM With Luminarias NFT Collection and Metaverse Art Exhibition
- The Home Depot Expands Reporting on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Deforestation Efforts
- Toxic Beauty Standards are Causing a Public Health Crisis That Cost the U.S. Economy More Than $501 Billion Annually, New Dove Study Finds
- L'oréal USA Announces 2022 for Women in Science Fellows, Reinforcing Decades-Long Commitment to Women in STEM
- Saie Launches Industry-Backed "The Every Body Campaign" to Support Abortion and Reproductive Rights
4. Nostalgia and Creative Collaborations
Who doesn’t love a good throwback? Maybe it’s the way the world has changed so rapidly in recent years, but another emerging trend seems to have us longing for simpler times, with both brands and consumers taking notice. There appears to be a growing consumer interest in nostalgia and pop culture-related items, as well as creative or unexpected collaborations between two popular brands or media personalities. #TBT
Unique brand partnerships and nostalgia make for some engaging copy, as the examples below demonstrate:
- Trapper Keeper Brings Throwback Vibes to Organization with New Monthly Planner
- Fender Unveils American Vintage II Series of Electric Guitars and Basses - Faithful Recreations of its Most Iconic Models from the '50s, '60s & '70s That Inspired Music Culture
- Introducing the Holiday's Hottest Gift: The Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart Advent Calendar by BIC® EZ Reach® Lighters
- White Castle and Evil Genius Beer Company Partner to Bring a Limited-Edition Beer to Retail
- Pacsun Debuts Exclusive Capsule Collection with the Metropolitan Museum of Art
5. A Blending of Retail and Tech
Recent events have also fostered a further merging of tech and retail as e-commerce grows and thrives. From brands partnering to deliver a better customer experience with AI, to up-and-coming consumer items in consumer IoT, this trend is one we keep seeing as the retail landscape becomes increasingly more digitized.
Here are some examples of brands featuring new or novel consumer tech:
- Lowe's Unveils Industry-First Digital Twin, Giving Associates 'Superpowers' to Better Serve Customers
- Make Every Day Magical with the Launch of the New Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand™
- AI-Powered Litterbox System Offers New Standard of Care for Cat Owners
- Uber Eats Creates Industry-First Point of Sale Integrations with Toast and Clover
- SHEIN Builds New Community Destination Through SHEIN Exchange Resale Platform
- New PayPal Rewards Program Helps Consumers Save Money in Time For the Holiday Season
Consumers are becoming more mindful of the choices they make when it comes to how and where they spend their money, and this carries over to a collective social consciousness; the message a company sends about how it's giving back to society matters far more in 2022 than it did only five years ago. Companies that show commitment to “giving back” and follow societal shifts toward greater sustainability, social responsibility, diversity, and inclusion tend to glean more attention from journalists and consumers alike.
About the Authors
Carli is a Senior Content Specialist at Cision PR Newswire. Since 2015, she has worked with a wide array of PR, IR, and communications professionals, helping organizations and brands of all kinds deliver their messages more effectively. When she's off the clock, she can be found (or not found) hiking in the woods, singing and learning to play guitar, or listening to true crime and history podcasts on the couch with her partner Matt and their three fur babies, Troy, Marceline and Butters.
Caitlyn Wojnarowski is a Content Specialist at Cision PR Newswire and has a degree in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Akron. Since working at Cision, she has joined the CLEmpower and Industry Ambassadors groups, as she enjoys being involved inside the workplace. Recently, she has taken on a new adventure and moved to Long Island, NY, with her boyfriend Jeff. Outside of work, Caitlyn can be found exploring the nearest hiking trail, trying her hand at new recipes in the kitchen, starting the day at the yoga studio, or listening to Crime Junkies podcasts.