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Consumer Trends of 2020 That Changed Everything!

Submitted By: Natalie Roth-Charron

Image by Aamir Daniyal from Pixabay
Image by Aamir Daniyal from Pixabay

Its finally 2021 (phew, we made it)!

Looking back at your business goals for 2020 might make you cringe. For many of us, none of our typical objectives were “ticked” this year, simply because staying afloat was the main objective.

No one could have predicted the changes that were ahead.

Looking *all the way back* to 2019, analysts were suggesting three popular consumer trends that were likely to grow in 2020.

The top trends being hyped included:

1. Focusing on self care and mental health

2. Making the home “multifunctional” – so that one can eat, play, sleep and work in one place.

3. A continuation towards environmentally friendly products and lifestyles.

The addition of a pandemic created a surprisingly flourishing environment for these trends and sparked the strength of several additional markets that could not have been predicted at the time, as everyone was forced to conform to a “new normal.”

A sizable example of the “mindfulness movement” can be found in popular apps such as “Calm,” which was downloaded 20 million times in 2020 (Businessofapps.com). Everyone on earth was faced with challenging circumstances this year, so the stigma around seeking help for mental health has decreased, as it truly became a shared experience. Pair this with the Millennial and Gen Z tendencies towards self care and Calm boomed its way through 2020. The added benefit of being able to use these tools all without leaving the comfort of your bubble was a huge plus.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/leninscape-2892621/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2176668">Shahariar Lenin</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2176668">Pixabay</a>
Image by Shahariar Lenin from Pixabay

In addition to huge downloads of the Calm app and apps like it, this year saw a surge in audio and streaming in all forms. People were constantly searching for ways to pass the time in quarantine. The increase in digital streaming affected traditional Television viewing, as in a survey taken by TransUnion, 53% of consumers used streaming services in place of cable services (Globenewsservice.com).

Home improvement also became a giant trend this year. A movement towards enjoying ones largest purchase for more than just eating and sleeping was already on the rise and it was amplified when suddenly, we were required to stay home. Home Depot was deemed as an essential service allowing the store to stay open and offer curbside pickup. Net earnings for the second quarter of 2020 were recorded at $4.3 Billion. Another happy victim of this trend was lumber, which “booked a yearly gain of 120% in 2020 (tradingeconomics.com).”

The tiny home trend continued its popularity and growth in 2020, with a recent study showing 86% of first-time homeowners considering it as an option. For those with pandemic fuelled anxiety about costs of living, it is a fantastic downsizing option. A decrease in cost does not mean a decrease in technological advancements though, as many models include “smart technology” where all locks, lights, window tinting can be controlled through an app.

With the freedom (and necessity) of working where you live, one can have the luxury of being remote and still connected to the technological luxuries that are so engrained in daily life. Demand grew for highspeed internet in rural areas and this led to an increase in internet providers offering just that. This past summer, Bell “announced its plans to increase WHI download speeds of 300,000 homes starting with Atlantic Canada” (itworldonline.com).

Tiny homes also resonate with a simpler (hopefully translating into less stress), environmentally friendly lifestyle, which leads to our final trend.

Sustainability and businesses that incorporate environmental literacy into their plan has been trending for more than a decade. 2020 magnified the need for businesses and the environment to coexist more harmoniously, as wildfires in Australia, floods in Afghanistan and overall increased hurricane activity could no longer be ignored.

Lockdown forced the global community to minimize their footprint (most notably with less fossil fuels being burned) and people everywhere saw the immediate benefits (reports of clearer and cleaner water were worldwide, spanning from the Venice Canal to the Ganga River). Governments themselves became involved and in Atlantic Canada, a ban on single use plastic in October 2020 was instated. Companies that were proactive in this trend did so sooner, such as Sobeys who went plastic bag free on January 31st 2020 (globalnews.ca).

The trends discussed are no doubt fueled by a very different group than what the consuming world has previously been accustom to. Millennials and Gen-Z’oseers care less about industrialization and more about themselves, their neighbors, supporting local vendors and the environment around them. The mighty Baby Boomer age of “plastics” and “big box stores” is over (unless the plastic involved is for a protective face covering). The 2020 Pandemic exacerbated the growth of the technological and environmental revolution and altered the fabric of our social, work and home life. Fortunately for the businesses and industries mentioned above, the year was a good one.

Rose Wagner

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