Some truly historic events have taken place in 2020, but 2021 is now just around the corner. With numerous vaccines and a subsequent return to normality on the horizon, now is the time for optimism. Here are some of the top consumer trends for 2021 that will reflect social, economic and technological progress.
1. Online commerce and social shopping
It’s a well known fact that the pandemic has hastened the move to online shopping - global eCommerce retail sales are expected to hit $4.9 trillion by 2021. Social media platforms are also getting in on the action - this year saw the rollout of Instagram Checkout, which allows users to make a purchase without ever leaving the Instagram app. Expect to be buying just about everything online in 2021.
2. A push for circular economies
Climate change remains the single most important global issue of our time and sustainability has become a core consideration for many household brands. Companies like Ikea and Apple have already started to build a greater circular economic approach, allowing customers to exchange old products to help purchase new ones. But it will be how climate change influencers look to push their agenda onto society that will be the greater test to consumer-focused organisations.
3. The rise of flexible working
The events of 2020 have changed how people work, possibly forever. Working from home at least a few days a week has become the norm for millions of people across the globe, and with that comes a certain level of flexibility. Only time will tell whether the traditional 9-5 is a thing of the past but in the meantime we continue to expect increased flexibility within the working day. Organisations and commercial entities will need to start developing more flexible operations and products.
4. Chatbots and AI Persuasion
As AI software becomes increasingly sophisticated, it can learn more and more from online sales communications and customer enquiries. In 2021, this accumulated knowledge will be used to create smarter chatbots which will, in turn, impact customer experience. For example Amplify is a chatbot tool designed to provide an advanced ‘conversational AI platform’ that is already being utilised by Facebook, Whatsapp and Google AdLingo.
5. DDDM - Data Driven Decision Making
Data is the new oil, as the saying goes. Those companies that effectively harvest data can use it to provide customers with a more accurate, enriching experience. For example, much in the same way as Netflix or Amazon Prime operate, TripAdvisor can use the data gathered from previous searches to predict and suggest the types of holidays that will most appeal to that user. Utilising data to greater understand customer purchasing behaviour means marketeers can create more tailored and effective campaigns.