7 Trends To Watch in 2022

Knightsbridge Park (1)

No industry exists in a vacuum—and real estate is no different. The trends that define so much of what happens this year will impact almost every sector of the business world. Don’t know where to start? Worry not: Knightsbridge Park’s strategy team summarized seven key trends you need to know across the spectrum of real estate, tech, social media, advertising, and consumer behavior.

1. Crypto + Real Estate = The Future?

Some forecasters predict that the most critical real estate story of 2022 will center on the rise of digital currencies. In fact, there are almost 10,000 different digital currencies today (as of January 2022), and new iterations appear all the time.

The term “digital currencies” refers to money that exists in the digital realm. You cannot touch or hold it, much like the dollars that sit in your PayPal account. “Bitcoin,” “digital wallets,” “ICOs” (initial coin offerings), and many other terms associated with cryptocurrencies have already crept into the parlance of our industry. 

Real Estate Relevance

More and more, sellers and agents are listing homes for sale with a Bitcoin price or a hybrid version where both US dollars and Bitcoin are accepted. This trend appears to have emerged in part as a marketing tactic to generate more buzz in the short term.

Typically, it’s luxury high-end listings that advertise a Bitcoin price because many of the prospective buyers already have digital currencies and are attracted to investments like real estate that will allow them to convert their Bitcoin into something concrete.

Now, we see the rental market is also shifting to adapt, with some landlords accepting rent payments by Bitcoin. Last April, LA-based real estate firm Caruso announced its partnership with Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange, to begin facilitating rental payments. For Rick Caruso, Founder and CEO, digital currencies offer the potential for a host of value-added experiences for tenants. “We envision a myriad of opportunities where we can better engage our guests and enhance their experience on properties like introducing blockchain-enabled rewards and enabling cryptocurrency payments,” he said.

So, now (before someone asks you, “Do you take Bitcoin?”) is certainly the time to tap into your network and find those who know how digital currencies work in real estate transactions.

2. Customer Service & CX (Customer Experience)

The pandemic has brought “customer service” (and what it actually means) under the microscope once again. As companies continue to adjust to all manner of operational challenges, it is predicted that the market will reward brands that help alleviate stress. Moreover, a recent report by Forrester claims that around six in 10 US consumers believe that companies should have figured out how to handle pandemic-related disruption by now.

Real Estate Relevance

In 2022, residents and tenants will continue to demand the same high levels of customer service from the places where they work and call home. Virtual concierge services, a type of AI that is typically used to provide assistance to residents, will also become more in demand. They can be used for a multitude of functions, from checking in and out of hotels to booking an experience for you and your loved ones. In addition, digital software like HqO and Equiem—which enables customers to control and personalize the lighting or temperature in their workspace, for example—will become much more commonplace.

3. For Influencer Marketing, Small Is Beautiful

The “world’s first neuroscience study on influencer marketing” has claimed that the medium is “277% more emotionally resonant when compared to TV ads.” Influencer marketing also scores high on recall and is judged to be 87% more memorable than TV ads, according to the 2019 study.

The reason behind the stats? In contrast to their experience of TV ads, consumers do not see influencer marketing as an interruption of their entertainment content. And it’s widely reported that consumers are more likely to act when brands provide an experience that takes them on a journey—one that goes beyond a static product post. Influencers provide the perfect vehicle for these narratives.

Moreover, studies increasingly point to the fact that investing in nano-influencers (1,000-5,000 followers) or micro-influencers (under 25,000 followers) will yield a better return. These creators with smaller followings will become the “A-listers of the influencer marketing world” (Ogilvy Insider Intelligence Social Trends).

Real Estate Relevance

Consider expanding your frame of reference—thinking creatively about specific types of influencers who share some values with your real estate property (e.g., similar aesthetic, lifestyle, target audience, etc.).

Look beyond those activations that rely on the usual beats of the year and instead think strategically about your goals for influencer marketing. Hint: contact the team at Knightsbridge Park to find out how we can help.

4. AR Is Set to Soar

AR (augmented reality) technology is going to be one of the key innovations for many businesses in 2022. In fact, according to Insider Intelligence’s Tech Trends to Watch in 2022, the number of mobile AR users is expected to grow to 3.5 billion this year.

Real Estate Relevance

AR allows potential buyers to tour a property via their smartphones—providing an immersive experience almost as real as an in-person tour but with greater convenience and better time savings. Agents can also use AR to tweak the design of a room on a virtual tour to align with the specific preferences of prospective buyers.

Though many commercial and residential real estate professionals already use drones and immersive Matterport footage to promote properties, we expect the adoption rate of these tools to grow exponentially. You can expect to see more instances of 3D technologies being used to capture compelling visuals—not only for marketing materials but for buyers and tenants who want to thoroughly inspect properties before purchasing or even renting.

5. Higher Spend on Social Ads

Despite historically low budgets, marketers are spending more on social ads, according to research studies by Hootsuite, a leading social media company.

However, more than half (51.4%) of the marketers that were surveyed said they plan to increase their paid social spend in 2022. Where do they plan to allocate these resources? While the majority of the marketers disproportionately pointed to Instagram last year, the investment in Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn has caught up this year. 

Real Estate Relevance

For real estate marketers, gaining a competitive edge through holistic, all-encompassing social strategies will be a key driver of success in 2022.

Not surprisingly, creativity will be of equal importance as real estate brands compete for top-of-mind awareness—particularly in the sea of sameness that’s prevalent in much of the social media marketing served up today—prioritizing increases in social budgets for both ad design and ad spend.

6. Consumers Crave Control, Seek Meaningful Experiences

The widespread uncertainty of the last two years has compelled consumers to question every aspect of their lives—from how and where they live and work to what resources they can reasonably allocate to recreation, fitness, and even annual holidays. “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 Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends for 2022.

And yet, beyond feeling “like they’re in the driver’s seat,” consumers more than ever want to feel special. In this age of hyperindividualization, we can expect to see those brands that respond to consumers’ unique needs with quick and easy solutions rise to the top. Creating meaningful connections between brands and consumers will be more important than ever before.

Real Estate Relevance

Broad mass marketing strategies for real estate brands will only take you so far this year. Campaign messaging will need to be constantly reevaluated over the next 12 months to ensure brand communications are aligned with consumers’ desire for coherence, transparency, and flexibility.

Clarity about all the components of what’s on offer—what’s included and what’s not, the key features, and overarching benefits—enables consumers to ascertain value and determine whether brands are delivering on what they promised. 

7. Omnichannel Engagement & Social Media

Today, almost two-thirds of consumers (64.5%) receive breaking news from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram instead of traditional media sources. According to software company HubSpot’s 2022 Social Media Trends Annual Report, omnichannel engagement will continue to change the way consumers interact with social media.

Real Estate Relevance

As consumers are no longer loyal to just one channel, creative concepts and content strategies that work across all platforms are better positioned for success.

Brands that publish content that is consistently honest and informative, while placing a premium on entertainment value, have the opportunity to win consumers’ hearts and earn their trust over the long term.