By Rieva Lesonsky

Mintel recently announced its four key trends set to impact North American consumer markets over the coming year. It believes Americans and Canadians are facing uncertainty these days, and as a result consumers will be “attuned to consumer trends across transparency, value, self-care and automation.”

Each week this month, we’re going to take a closer look at one of Mintel’s four top trends.

Trend #2: The Value Equation

Mintel says household budgets are top-of-mind for consumers, who are “weighing a variety of value factors” before they make a purchase.

Carli Gernot, Manager of Trends, North America at Mintel, says businesses have to balance the concerns of budget-minded customers and values. Mintel research reveals that while we’re all feeling a bit uncertain (see last week’s TrendCast), we’re optimistic about our financial state. In fact, 43% of Americans say their “economic situation is ‘healthy.’” However, as a whole, we’re still spending cautiously.

Along with the focus on budgets, Gernot says, “value matters just as much to many consumers, and for a significant portion, it’s the most important factor in their shopping decisions.”

But she adds, “Tighter budgets will cause many consumers to re-evaluate whether their go-to choices are worth the cost.” Your business needs to respond accordingly.

And don’t think it’s all about online shopping. Consider where your customer base lives. Gernot points out that “a large proportion of rural and low-income consumers don’t have home broadband,” so they aren’t seeking good deals online. If you live in this part of the country, understand that “the physical still matters for many consumers,” Gernot says. “As economic uncertainty continues its hold on the North American consumer base, [businesses] that develop low-cost alternatives are set to enjoy increased attention from those looking to save in the coming year.”

You can download a free copy of Mintel’s North America Consumer Trends 2018 report here.