Never stagnant and ever evolving, consumer buying behaviors took center stage in 2020 as companies tried to keep up with a string of impacts driven by both world and national events of this unique year.
Through it all, several key trends began to emerge. With more employees working remotely, and people spending more time at home, ecommerce sales shot through the roof. Applications like Zoom and social media outlets became the de facto communication tools for co-workers, families and friends as they acclimated to flexible home and work arrangements.
With fewer “outside outlets”–i.e. gyms, social events, concerts, and vacations–available in the near term, here’s how we expect these and other trends to continue to evolve in 2021:
1. Health is top of mind
With health concerns taken on a new importance in 2020, vitamins, supplemental products and telemedicine have exploded and enabled a more flexible, personal and pro-active approach to the category. With more time on videoconferencing, people were able to take a good, long look at themselves for what could have been hours of video conferencing a day and were able to prioritize their health and appearance.
Health and wellness apps like Calm have resonated strongly with consumers in 2020 and will continue growing in 2021. It doesn’t matter if someone is working remotely, homeschooling their children, or working on laptops from their kitchen tables, people still want to put their best foot forward. Home gym equipment like the Peloton had long waiting periods, since they could not produce or ship product fast enough, and demand for subscription-based workout platforms and remote personal training also increased. In the fitness market, we saw a major increase in new health micro-tracking features across fitness and wearable brands.
2. Consumers will always want to look and feel good
The normal beauty regime was supplemented by elective surgeries and the rollout of online makeup platforms like L’Oréal’s Signature Faces. However, the younger generations want an authentic and unfiltered aesthetic where they can also feel immersed in the brand. Gen Zers are searching for more authentic influencers who are uninhibited to reveal their complex personalities and honest and vulnerable lives, according to F-Trend TrendSight.
3. Home is where the heart is
Throughout the pandemic, there’s been a big focus on consumer products that have anything to do with the home. Whether it’s remodeling your kitchen with new appliances or just learning to cook for the first time, people have had a renewed focus on anything home, family and food. The home has become an education hub, an office space–sometimes for two parents–and the entertainment center across all ages. As a result, home repairs and services have exploded as people took pride in their homes and safe environments. Oven-ready meals or a boxed food delivery services that could help you cook at home with your family, created a fun, learning experience to deter from the norm and increased family engagement.
4. Direct shipments and curbside pickup is here to stay
These widely adopted practices provide customers with a mobile-first, contactless option that eliminates waiting in line or searching for items in store. For consumers, the on-demand, convenient and customer-friendly is now the norm. For businesses, it provides another channel in which to engage and an opportunity to optimize customer experiences that can lead to repeatable behavior and increasing brand loyalty. There have obviously been huge gains with companies that have shipped direct to home, including Amazon, whose revenues increased by half-a-trillion dollars in 2020.
5. Esports will continue to gain ground
Online, interactive communities like esports continue to expand and wade into the mainstream. Expect to see an increase in eSports programming on linear TV that will reach new, incremental audiences and casual gaming fans while giving advertisers another option to raise awareness with an otherwise “unreachable” young, male demographic.
The exponential growth and adoption of e-commerce combined with opportunistic buying and have all led to condensed and shifted consumer journey. Also, the increasing user generated video content to launch and support brands, driven by the rise of Tik Tok, will expand further with YouTube, Facebook, IG, Twitter and Snapchat. This expanded video landscape will shift consumer engagement. As the traditional sales funnel has shifted, smart marketers are rethinking how they approach, engage with, and sell across all generations of customers.