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3 Major Consumer Trends to Prepare For in 2021

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At the beginning of 2020, the world was thrown into a tailspin of chaos and confusion that we were sure would last a few months or a year, tops.

Now, after a full year into this “new normal,” we have to come to terms with the fact that this is, in fact, our world now. This new way of life is actually here to stay. As with any major global lifestyle shift, businesses and companies need to keep a careful eye on the ramifications of these changes and look at how they can remain relevant in changing times.

That’s our keyword today, relevance. It’s what marketing is all about. It’s keeping a finger on the pulse of your target demographic and their surrounding culture in order to understand your audience and learn how to serve them better, especially through major lifestyle changes.

In its report “Rethinking Readiness,” Google has tried to help companies and brands answer the question if we are ready to serve customers given the changes 2020 brought us. Are we still prepared to communicate the right way with customers?

There are three significant changes in consumer behavior we want to highlight and help create a framework for answering this question.

Linear Content Is Dead

Linear content – as we see on TV – is all but dead. Pre-recorded, linear-based content, the most classic example being linear television, is going away very fast.

Today’s consumer wants to watch what they want, when they want it, and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube enable that. The era of effective and profitable television advertising is winding to a close, and consumers are spending more and more time streaming content.

Advertise there! Shift marketing budgets away from mainstream TV into streaming platforms – this is where your audience is.

When it comes to business decisions and building effective marketing plans, you need to take into consideration the kinds of content your target audience is consuming.

Chances are, they’re looking far different from how they looked in the past, and you need to pivot to accommodate them and stay relevant. So, are you ready to stream your content?

eCommerce and Mobile Apps Drive Business Growth

The big channel in 2020 was mobile. As Google UK’s Head of SMB and B2B Content, Ad Marketing Eli Lassmann noted, “globally, we spent over 1.6 trillion hours on our phones in the first half of the year. And in the third quarter, apps usage surged by 25% YoY, with 180 billion hours each month spent on apps.”

The categories expected to benefit from the rising app popularity include food delivery, games, online learning, entertainment, and shopping.

Not surprisingly, 2020 has been a record number of people choosing eCommerce over a traditional purchasing experience. eCommerce and online shopping have grown more in the last several months than it has in the previous 10 years, and that’s another trend that’s unlikely to reverse.

Thanks to the ease and convenience of online shopping, eCommerce will continue to be the main purchase method for many consumers into 2021 and beyond.

With that in mind, how can your business stay relevant in this current business climate? Online services are king right now, and businesses must creatively rethink their products and services as online goods. It’s increasingly important for retailers to capture this new growth opportunity on apps and online shops.

Digital Transformation and Collaboration

The pace of digital adoption accelerated significantly in 2020, rapidly shifting the ways companies develop products and use communication channels.

To keep pace, many businesses have had to invest heavily in digital transformation and put themselves on a new digital trajectory. Digital transformation will continue to be one of the most significant determinants of competitive advantage in 2021.

When we stepped onto this remote work train, most companies (and employees) thought it would last for a few months. Now we are at that year mark, and there is no end in sight – not because we are still under strict stay at home orders, but because companies took the plunge and realized that remote work isn’t all that scary. In short, the remote work age has arrived and isn’t going anywhere for a while.

Since so many people are working at home, they are becoming more and more used to online interaction, online conversations, and online collaboration. Their world has been moved online, and they expect the businesses they patron to be ready to meet them there. Are you ready to collaborate with your customers online?

So many things have changed rapidly during 2020 that we almost forgot about the social and PPC marketing trends we talked about at the end of 2019. And while it’s fun to go back to them and see how well they’ve aged, it’s virtual to keep our eyes open for the trends that the “new normal” set for us. Because it looks like they are here to stay.

For more thoughts on digital marketing strategy and creative marketing, keep in touch!