Consumer buying behavior, which never stagnated and evolved, took center stage in 2020 as companies sought to keep up with a range of impacts driven by both global and national events of this unique year.
Several important trends emerged. As more employees work remotely and people spend more time at home, e-commerce sales shot through the roof. Applications like Zoom and social media became de facto communication tools for co-workers, families, and friends as they got used to flexible home and work arrangements.
With fewer "outside sockets" – i.e. Gyms, social events, concerts, and vacations – available in the near future – we expect these and other trends to continue developing in 2021:
1. Health is paramount
As health concerns took on a new meaning in 2020, vitamins, supplements, and telemedicine have exploded, allowing a more flexible, personal, and proactive approach to this category. With more time for video conferencing, people could get a good, long view of the hours of video conferencing each day and prioritize their health and appearance.
Health and wellness apps like Calm got a strong response from consumers in 2020 and will continue to grow in 2021. It doesn't matter whether someone is working remotely, homeschooling their kids, or working on laptops from their kitchen tables, people still want to put their best foot forward. Home fitness machines like the peloton had long wait times because they couldn't produce or ship products fast enough, and the demand for subscription-based training platforms and remote personal training also increased. In the fitness market, we've seen a significant 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 complemented by elective surgeries and the introduction of online makeup platforms such as L’Oréal's Signature Faces. The younger generations, however, want an authentic and unfiltered aesthetic in which they can also feel immersed in the brand. Gen Fers are looking for more authentic influencers who, according to F-Trend TrendSight, are not inhibited to reveal their complex personalities and their honest and vulnerable lives.
3. Home is where the heart is
During the pandemic, there was a huge focus on household related consumer products. Whether you're remodeling your kitchen with new appliances or just learning to cook for the first time, people have re-focused on everything that can be found at home, in the family, or in the food. The house has become an education center, an office space – sometimes for two parents – and an entertainment center for all ages. As a result, home repairs and services have exploded as people took pride in their homes and their safe surroundings. Oven ready meals or boxed grocery delivery to cook at home with your family created a fun learning experience to deviate from the norm and increased family engagement.
4. Direct shipments and roadside pick-ups are retained
These widespread practices provide customers with a contactless option that avoids queuing in line or searching for items in the store. For consumers, on-demand, convenience, and customer-friendliness have become the norm. For businesses, it provides another channel for engagement and the ability to optimize the customer experience, which can lead to repeatable behavior and increased brand loyalty. Obviously, there have been tremendous profits from companies that have delivered direct to the home, including Amazon, which grew its sales by half a trillion dollars in 2020.