5 Consumer Trends to Watch in 2021

By | December 28, 2020

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. 

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne Advertising, an award winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years. Hawthorne has a legacy of ad industry leadership by being a visionary in combining the art of right-brain creativity with the science of left-brain data analytics and neuroscience. Jessica’s role principally involves fostering long-standing client relationships with the company’s expansive base of Fortune 500 brands to develop highly strategic and measurable advertising campaigns, designed to ignite immediate consumer response. From strategy, creative and production to media and analytics, Jessica is committed to premium quality and innovation throughout all agency disciplines. You can find her at Hawthorne’s website: hawthorneadvertising.com, connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @hawthornecastro.