5 Consumers Trends in 2021 To Define The Age of the Customer
Although Covid-19 vaccinations couldn’t have arrived any earlier this 2021, mankind’s resolve showed us that life still must move on undeterred by any toilet paper crunch. There is optimism about the economic recovery with the spotlight on how consumers are spending their money.
Not surprisingly, consumers have found new priorities in the way they spend their money, from going out less often to putting a cap on discretionary spending.
While the pandemic has forced some established consumer and brick-and-mortar brands to close their shutters for the last time, others are finally seeing the fruition of e-commerce – or online sales – in particular. The uptick in online sales marks a dramatic shift in consumer behavior worldwide, with more and more people relying on online marketplaces. With large consumer demand for everyday essentials to retail tech driving online sales, global digital sales channels recorded 22 billion monthly visits in June 2020 alone.
In the Age of the Customer, brand stakeholders are constantly on the edge of their seats to find out what’s the next big opportunity to turn heads and beat competitors to the punch. We’ll get you closer to that goal by unpacking these 5 consumer trends to define consumer spending in 2021!
Bonus: Discover how to optimize web and social media monitoring in a pandemic-ridden age, and supercharge consumer insights for your company.
1. Stay-At-Home Industry Boom 🏠
Our homes have traditionally been sacred grounds for rest and respite, away from the hustle and bustle of work. Covid-19 has proved that it is indeed possible to disenchant that notion by intermixing both work and home environments – convoluting the meaning of “knocking off from work”.
Though it may seem like there is hardly enough space at home to keep our work off the dining table, consumers would still like to enjoy the luxuries of home comfort and entertainment when they can. This means upgrading our home spaces, be it through functionality, tech features, or interior design.
Consumer spending on smart home systems worldwide is expected to rise to USD $157 billion by 2023
Supplementing the online home shopping experience is necessary in this digital age to mediate the common conundrum of uncertainty consumers face before committing to a purchase, be it buying something unnecessary or at least trying it first. Home brands looking to improve their services would first need to address the most pressing pain points, whether by offering virtual consultations with interior designers or providing Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payment solutions (your modern-day equivalent to interest-free installments).
2. Push For a Greener Future 🌱
In a collective effort to achieve a sustainable future, consumers are making a statement for industry leaders – particularly retail and manufacturing enterprises – to do more to address climate and environmental issues. A survey conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund highlighted that more than 93% of business leaders believe consumers are more likely to hold them accountable for their environmental impact.
Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X make up a large majority of global respondents who feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment
With regards to sales, businesses must envision better corporate social responsibility to affect more trust in consumers, especially when it comes to making a lasting impression on the younger generation of spenders. Brands who invest in sustainability are more likely to see a growth in their bottom line, as a growing number of consumers – more approximately eight in 10 – value sustainability, out of which 70% would go so far as to pay a premium of at least 35%.
While Covid-19 continues to loom over us, one thing is certain. Brands who champion this environmental push, understand that their consumers value social causes in their purchasing decisions. And it can be no better than to do good by Mother Earth and her inhabitants!
3. Health is Wealth 💊
In 2020, consumers found an impetus to practice a healthy lifestyle. With Covid-19 still surging across the globe, it pays well to cultivate a strong immune system to fight back against the virulent disease. In fact, a recent ADM OutsideVoice℠ research found out that 77% of consumers want to reach more health-conscious decisions in the future.
Innovations in the food and beverage industry will be guided by more demand for healthier and sustainable alternatives with consumers pointing the way for brands to bring plant-based options mainstream. Besides, by listening to key conversations on the impact of Covid-19 on the food and beverage (F&B) industry, brands can identify key consumer preferences, add value to their existing products, and innovate accordingly.
For example, with working adults having more time for accomodate meal preparation in their morning schedules due to the rise of work-from-home arrangements, brands could strategize their product messaging based on well-prepared breakfast meals, as opposed to a typical grab-and-go meal.
In the wellness industry, consumers are paying more attention to not just their physical shape, but their mental state too. As work becomes ever more stifling and anxiety-inducing at home for some, people are adopting more positive practices to enrich their lives. Whether it is through starting their day with meditation or incorporating more mindful eating, self-care is the aim of the game at the end of the day. The new normal for brands in sportswear retail has seen an uptick in traffic on content that provides consumers with access to home workouts, yoga sessions, and webinars on advocating mental wellbeing.
The difference in the volume of mentions between physical and mental health conversations on social media.
Fitness wearables and technology has picked up in recent times, but more than ever with Covid-19 in the backdrop. Brands are leveraging this trendy gadget to their advantage by gamifying fitness, accommodating to the needs of both the fitness enthusiasts and the homebodies. Gamification introduces game mechanics into an existing routine – such as taking brisk walks – with the intent to boost motivation and increase overall engagement. Consumers love this aspect of leveling up and getting rewarded, be it in social validation or monetary gains.
4: Live-streaming Will be a Conduit for E-Commerce 🤳🏻
Although physical shopping was disrupted for most parts of the year, businesses have found new ways to bridge the distance with consumers.
In the absence of in-person events, live-streaming has proven an apt medium for redefining customer experiences. This includes enabling customers to purchase products via live broadcasts. Enterprising e-commerce brands such as Shopee and Lazada are leveraging the power of celebrities and influencers to host large-scale, seasonal campaigns like Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) and 12.12.
Shopee’s live-stream featuring Singapore celebrity actor Gurmit Singh in his Phua Chu Kang persona, who fronted multiple Shopee campaigns, including the 12.12 mega sale. This partnership enabled the brand to resonate with local communities and deepen engagement through a hyper-localized approach.
As this demand for new experiences continues to expand beyond 2020, brands may want to explore this trend by mixing sales with entertainment to increase the content value for consumers tuning in..
5: Mining Consumer Data Strategically 📊
It comes as no surprise that social listening has emerged as the modern gateway to the customers’ door. Social listening enables brands to tap into a goldmine of consumer-rich data by using insights analyzed from a plethora of sources, including social media, review websites, and RSS feeds. This allows marketers and market researchers to attain salient customer feedback ethically in addition to improving business verticals to more meaningfully impact their target customers.
Digimind Social is capable of generating social data from multiple sources and visualizing platforms that are serving the biggest volume of conversations around your chosen topic.
Listening Closely to Your Customers 👂🏻
It is not enough to be in the know but to stay ahead of the curve in your respective market. Adopting a social listening tool like Digimind Social can enable your brand to develop informed strategies based on consumer behavior, embrace key trends in the market, and most importantly close gaps in your customer journey.
With these consumer trends under the spotlight, being aligned and adapting to fast-moving consumer preferences is key to thriving in 2021 as digital transformation comes to scale. By listening to consumer conversations, you are closer to accurately predicting current expectations and future needs – reducing the risks that come with business experimentation.
Written by Jared Silitonga
Jared is a member of the APAC marketing team at Digimind. Digital marketing is his first foray into the industry and what he really loves is working for tech-driven companies. Catch him in other shenanigans on Instagram @jarrds.