4 Trends That Are Driving and Inspiring Consumers Right Now

As we approach the second half of 2024, these are the four key trends to put on your radar (and build into your brand strategy for H2).

Halfway into 2024, we’ve already seen legislative action against TikTok, the rollout of Meta AI on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, and the continued rise of endlessly scrollable video formats. These developments—and much more—are reshaping the social media landscape and influencing how brands can engage with their audiences. To help make sense of it all, Acorn’s leading business strategists share their forecasts for the season and explore how brands can capitalize on these emerging trends (and see beyond them).

Tis’ the Season for Travel

Multi-generational trips were a major trend for Summer 2023 as families looked to reconnect post-COVID, and 2024 will be the same. In fact, 87% of families with at least one child are prioritizing leisure travel this summer. Leisure travel could translate to many things: glamping and outdoor adventures, cost-efficient stays, close-to-home road trips, and #RVLife.

No matter the type of trip, crafting a foundational ‘travel system’ has become essential for families with young children. Think: pre-set itineraries, packing lists, and hacks that make travel as seamless as possible. Busy parents are looking to family-focused influencers for ‘quick get’ content that gives them information and inspiration for their trips. Baby and childcare brands have a prime opportunity to partner with these influencers to naturally integrate their products into content that meets families where they are and keeps their vacations stress-free.

Gold Amongst the (Fashion) Clutter

It’s no secret that Gen Z has radically upended consumer culture as we know it. Vogue Business reported that 71% of Gen Zs want the “gold” amongst the clutter (read: seeking inspiration and discovery beyond traditional advertising) and are open to discovering new brands. Millennials are equally actively seeking style inspiration on social media. Influencers, therefore, play a pivotal role in curating styles and trends with content like #GRWM and try-on hauls. “These content formats not only encourage engagement and potential product purchase but also increase visibility for unique styles and brands that resonate with similar aesthetics,” says Adrianna Harrison, Senior Business Analyst at Acorn. Brands can tap into these niches by working with micro-influencers and lower-tier influencers that may have smaller, more dedicated audiences pining for fashion finds.


Pets are Family, Too

Health-conscious dinners. Lavish toys. Extravagant birthday parties. Vacations. This is a typical day in the life of more and more pets owned by Millennials. The stats speak for themselves:

As full-on pet parenting becomes the norm, brands have a unique opportunity to collaborate with pet influencers to highlight care tips, travel hacks, and sustainable practices through trends like #PetTok #PetCare #FurBaby.

Recently, Acorn helped pet brands at Walmart celebrate National Pet Month by tapping into popular pet parents on Instagram and TikTok. We produced paw-some content that drove trial and conversion, plus we got to watch cute dog videos and come up with our best pet puns.

@grizzlythehuskybear #AD It's National Pet Month at Walmart, and we're celebrating with one of our favorite products - Zuke's dog treats! At only 2 calories per treat, they're ideal for taking on our outdoor adventures as a tasty reward that Grizzly loves. You can find these delicious, quality treats at an Everyday Low Price at Walmart, online or in store - link in bio! #zukepets #PetTok #PetCare #FurBaby ♬ Get Ready - SUPER-Hi & NEEKA

The Year of Snack Savants

Foodie and recipe trends for the rest of 2024 are being driven by creativity and convenience, echoed by the majority of Millennials and Gen Z identifying as Snack Savants. Consumers are loving eccentric snack combos and looking to social media for inspiration that tantalizes their taste buds while making use of what’s already in their pantry. Rightfully, influencers are shifting from hard-selling to seamlessly integrating products into their content, providing a more genuine showcase for viewers of items in-use. “When influencers use product testimonials, it builds a layer of credibility within their content. Pairing genuine messaging with current trends showcases the brand’s reliability and gains the attention of their audience,” noted Harrison.


Current Trends 🤝 Lifetime Customer Value

As we approach the halfway mark of 2024, these standout trends provide an important window into the values that are currently influencing the customer journey: the importance of family connections, sustainability, and authentic content.

The emphasis on sustainability goes beyond using eco-friendly materials. Many consumers are looking for brands, products, and services that align with their values, extending into all facets of their lives and, perhaps most importantly, with their pets. Family connections are also a priority, with many seeking experiences and products that enhance and support quality time with loved ones. And finally, the desire for authenticity isn’t just about influencers using a casual tone. In 2024, social platforms serve as a playground for genuine connection and transparency, with 73% of users saying it’s easy for strangers to connect and bond around shared life experiences on TikTok.

Here are three ways to strategically tap into today’s top trends and build a strong foundation for brand growth in 2024 and beyond.

  1. Future-proof relationships.
    • 78% of consumers (and 88% of Gen Z) agree a brand’s social media presence has a larger impact on whether or not they trust a brand compared to a year ago. When brands prioritize transparency and authenticity on social media, they can build more resilient customer relationships.
  2. Anticipate future customer needs.
    • Understanding the values that drive today’s trends can enable brands to anticipate future consumer needs. Take Patagonia, for example. The outdoor clothing giant built a loyal following by embracing sustainability long before it became a mainstream cultural value.
  3. Build brand advocates.
    • When brands champion the values that are most important to their customers, they position themselves as advocates for their customers’ well-being. This can foster a sense of community and shared purpose, turning satisfied customers into loyal brand ambassadors (67% of consumers are more likely to stay loyal to and advocate for a brand they trust).
    • Acorn worked with Kimberly-Clarke to forge The Parent Club, an ambassador program featuring a diverse group of parenting influencers to produce real content that speaks to the shared challenges and triumphs of parenthood, including how their journey is supported by trusted brands.

Want to know more about today's top trends or learn how you can leverage them for your brand? Reach out to us at info@acorninfluence.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Written By

Lola Behrens

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