The hopes and dreams for 2021

This New Year’s Eve was probably like any other (to some extent…). A night filled with hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Bad habits to end, good habits to adopt. New resolutions… to break …

Uncertainty rules the day

But other than the obvious, 2021 is different. Normally, the first few weeks of January are spent diving into, and participating in, fruitful discussions and predictions for the coming year.

But with only a handful of “trends to watch” in our inboxes, it’s clear that it’s challenging to predict the future without knowing when the pandemic is ending.

 

Patience is a virtue… but we’re running out of it

Despite already having an efficient vaccination rolling out, the speed of the mutated virus and current economic uncertainty is shaking consumers’ confidence.

Our recent consumer study showed that people were patiently constrained in 2020, but with new lockdowns being imposed acrossEurope, a dawning frustration is building up. While the vaccination brings hope, the waiting accelerates impatience for the world the get back to (a new)normal.

Christmas Break – literally!

According to Mintel, the hopes of a vaccine and the end of lockdown boosted our sense of escape and acceptance of indulgence over the holidays. Mintel’s 16 December report showed that the proportion of people who say they were cutting back on non-essential spending had fallen to 33% (the lowest level since they started tracking this metric back in April). 

But as Boxing Day arrived, the willingness to shop was hit hard, suggesting that the thrill of discount spending has waned… for the time being.

According to retail experts Springboard, an estimated £2.7 bn was spent by UK shoppers onBoxing Day, and Barclaycard stated people spent an average £162 online – that's down from £3.7 bn and £186 last year (sky.news).

 

Pent-up demand

The Boxing Day numbers clearly indicate that the concern over the pandemic's economic toll still mounts. Yet, the lack of physical access to retailers is also likely to have reduced the thrill of a good deal, as online shopping gives a less emotional experience. Meaning that consumers are more likely to resist impulse-buying and other temptations in a digital context when there is less sensational stimuli.

As the results of ourOctober-study demonstrated, this pent-up demand is growing. When added to the latest lockdown, we can only predict that the pressure is building ready for whatever comes next.

 

Revenge spending is the new post-pandemic fever

Another trend to watch is the so-called "revenge spending"phenomenon that took place in China, the US, and even Europe during 2020, as consumer groups diverted money to luxury items, when previously they would have splurged on overseas vacations and restaurant dining.

Will this continue in 2021 as overall consumer confidence relies on successful vaccinations? Revenge spending is unlikely to grow as we plan for summer vacations, but may continue for celebrations like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

 

A New Normal

As the world hopefully starts to revert to normal, at some point in 2021 our behaviour is likely to continue to change and adapt. Although we’re likely to welcome old habits and certainly will continue to tailor to our needs, what worked before might not work now or in the future.

Consumers’ attention has shifted as the internet has swept in to help us manage our lives more effectively, slowly, but certainly, changing the way we behave. Where brands used to tailor for busy consumers’ on-the-go moments, many urban dwellers are staying local or re-locating to the suburbs, changing our needs and a brand’s ability to fulfil them.  

In a world still in a stage of uncertainty, one thing is certain; 2021 is the year of hopes and dreams for a healthy future.

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