The Ripple Effect – Consumer behaviour after a year of change
Consumer macro trends can often be traced back to a series of significant events. Anything from technological innovations, political movements or environmental concerns can accelerate or divert societal and consumer behaviour significantly – so we can use these events to predict future behaviour. Think about how rising obesity rates birthed the global Health & Wellness movement, or how the advent of smartphones spawned a data obsession.
The problem is when making predictions, you usually have some level of certainty, or experience of how things have played out before. And because the current situation is so – whisper it – unprecedented, it’s impossible to really gauge what’s going to happen next. But that hasn’t stopped me making some predictions based on the way people are acting now – just watch this space to see how they play out!
Working in not working out
The past decade has seen a fitness boom like never before – with more gyms opening than bars. But now, by necessity, we’re bringing activities into their homes that were once reserved for the outside.
From Joe Wicks bringing PE lessons to the UK to fitness subscriptions such as Crossrope or Peleton surging in popularity – we need to forget what we thought we knew about exercise being an out-of-home activity. When dining rooms are doubling up as dojos, and we’re literally climbing the walls of our houses, and it begs the question – how many people will go back to traditional workout spaces? And what will gyms have to do to entice people?
Stripping off the veneer
When your boss has seen your laundry hanging up behind you, and the world can see two months of grey roots, who’s pretending anymore? After one decade of Instagram filtered perfection, 2020 could be the catalyst for returning to real. Sales of non-wired bras and bralettes at Figleaves are up 40%, with independent lingerie companies that specialise in non-padded styles like Beija and Dora Larsen doing a roaring trade. When we return to the offices in our droves, will the comfort remain, or will we strap back into our armour?
From lockdown with love
In a time where showing love and appreciation for people can’t always be easily done, gifting companies are playing a more significant role than ever. Brands like Bloom & Wild, Thortful and Biscuiteers are reaping the rewards of their tried and tested consumer experience model. But how long will we continue to rely on this charming, but slightly lazy, way of giving people gifts once we’re allowed out again?
Although people are increasingly getting their health and beauty products from a variety of different places – Harry’s, Who Gives a Crap and Beauty Pie spring to mind – I suspect it won’t be long until people get intellectual fatigue from managing all of their various subscriptions and return to the megastores who do the hard work for you. But they’ll return to those traditional stores like Boots full of new expectations of brands: more consumer-centric, more personal, more warmth. Will, what was once good enough, meet the mark post-lockdown?
Deliveroo and Uber Eats has long made it easy to eat your favourite restaurant meal within the hour, from the comfort of your sofa. But there’s no denying that the experience is transactional and cold compared to the joy of going to a restaurant. Now that more restaurants are turning to delivery, they’re upping the game by adding a more personal touch that takeaway was always lacking. Kask Wines in Bristol doesn’t just deliver bottles to your house, they also host live wine-tastings over Zoom, and Lina Stores in London sends their deliveries out in signature turquoise and white stripes boxes, so you feel like you’re in their stores. In that context, is Deliveroo really doing enough to wish us Bon Appétit?
Is home where the heart and the wallet are going to firmly stay, enjoying our new digitally-distanced relationships, or will we be wooed back onto the high-street and department stores? Will selfies be assigned to the shelfie, with us being happy with who we are not what we look like? And will we succumb to those monthly gym subscriptions now we’ve remembered outdoors is free? Maybe post-COVID consumer behaviour change will be like the current times – unprecedented.