Plotting out the Next Normal
From the empowered Stakeholder Consumers to the on-pause Experience Seekers, consumer trends continue to shift along the path of the pandemic. Which newly learnt behaviours will become energised or habitual? And which can we expect to hibernate?
To shine a clear spotlight on how trends are likely to be impacted under prolonged COVID-19 conditions, we’ve devised a global, pandemic Trends Map to track the evolving landscape for our clients.
Using signals from our Trendspotter network and relevant data insights, the Trends Map gives a clear snapshot of which trends and core consumer needs will be boosted, which will be held back and which will be impacted over the long or the short term. We also detail how you can take action, so you can plan scenarios for the new future of your operating environment and customer base.
Energised trends include:
Cool to be Kind – compassion as key to consumer happiness and purpose; brands challenged to promote kindness
- Despite recent social and political fault lines, kindness was ingrained and, indeed, aspirational amongst many consumers before the pandemic. In 2019, 44% of global consumers said that they strongly feel they “go out of my way to help others”. In 2020, 38% of Gen Z aged 12-19 selected being a good person as one of their top three future aspirations. The collective crisis has only increased collective compassion. Future acts of kindness will depend on the severity of the economic downturn. But we can expect demonstrative compassion to remain a key measure of status, long after the pandemic has waned.
- The lesson for brands? 37% of global respondents “have recently started using a new brand because of the innovative or compassionate way they have responded to the virus outbreak”, according to the pandemic-focussed Edelman Trust Barometer. As consumers and brands prepare for a return to buying and selling, building your brand around the ethos of kindness could cement the loyalty of your existing customers – and help you acquire new ones.
Everyday Exceptional – need for unscheduled, everyday celebration; brands can use this booming event calendar to drive customer engagement
- Consumers are seeking – and sharing – reasons to stay positive, occasions to anticipate, and ways to have fun in extraordinary circumstances. Google searches for “virtual birthday” and “virtual party” have shot up. And #DressUpFriday started trending on Twitter in the UK from April. But doing so demands creativity – be it drive-by parades, virtual events, revisiting old memories or partying in smaller groups.
- The lesson for brands? To support consumers in staying motivated and positive, help them find small wins to celebrate and support gifting.
Meanwhile, other trends are paused, for example:
War on Waste – consumers reject wasteful consumption; brands invited to find solutions for waste-free living
- Pre-pandemic, waste was an issue high on the consumer agenda. However, more online shopping and virus avoidance means many consumers are using more packaging and disposable items. In that sense, the War on Waste trend is definitely on pause. However, efforts to reduce waste at home have grown among many consumers, as they look to make meals last longer and reduce shop visits. The impending threat of a recession will ensure waste avoidance remains a key concern.
- The lesson for brands? Offer waste-avoiding solutions that chime with other critical needs, including money-saving and hygiene concerns. Promote a less-is-more mindset.
In all, 29 trends are regularly plotted and updated on the dynamic Trends Map. So our clients can clearly see beyond their current strategy to seize the signals, directions and frameworks for success.