Over the past 18 months, consumers have been re-evaluating their pre-Covid lifestyles, causing shifts in their attitudes and behaviours from the way they eat and exercise to how they shop and socialise. The implications from the pandemic that we thought would be short-lived, are proving that they will be fundamental to our future selves and way of life.
At MCCP, we have been speaking to consumers across life stages to understand how their lifestyles have evolved since the pandemic and what they plan to retain and keep up in the future. As society in Ireland reopens, we have identified six big consumer trends during Covid that brands will need to consider when developing their brand strategies.
As human beings we are naturally loss averse. As the pandemic has forced businesses to close, people have a greater appreciation for the hidden gems in their community that they took for granted. People are becoming more considered in their choices, making a more conscious effort to support Irish suppliers and businesses.
Going forward, we expect people’s focus to continue to move away from multi-national players to thinking local and reconnecting with the individuals and institutions that they value in their community.
In March 2021 Reclame voor Horeca (Ads for Hospitality) in Amsterdam tapped into this space by launching an initiative whereby other businesses could rent storefront window space from restaurants and bars, helping restaurants pay their bills and get by during lockdown.
As consumers gravitate towards brands that make a positive difference in their communities, there is an opportunity for brands to consider their role in advocating and supporting the people, industries and independent businesses in their communities that are struggling following the aftermath of the pandemic.
Case study source: Trend Watching
2. GREATER REVERENCE FOR MICRO-PLEASURES:
The pandemic has rewarded consumers with time to slow down, reflect and re-evaluate what they want from life.
Despite missing their pre-Covid social lives, people have recognised how small changes to their daily routine can massively improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
Post pandemic, people will continue to appreciate the finer things in life, prioritising their own needs and using their spare time to re-connect with the people that matter to them. People’s social calendars will be less jam packed and more selective, ensuring they keep time for themselves to slow down and keep in touch with their close-knit groups of family and friends.
As people appreciate their smaller, close circles, there is an opportunity for brands to offer experiences and activations that help people reconnect with those that matter the most to them.
3: SHIFT IN PRIORITIES FROM PHYSICAL TO HOLISTIC HEALTH
The Global Pandemic has acted as a catalyst for shifts in attitudes towards health and wellbeing.
Across age cohorts, it has been a wake-up call that we are not invincible and the need to be more proactive when looking after our health.
As a result, consumers across all life stages are becoming more educated and informed about the role of food in their overall wellbeing and how it can impact their physical and mental wellbeing.
They have used their spare time during lockdown to experiment with and develop new routines and as society reopens, they will be ensuring to prioritise their health and well-being as part of their day to day.
Brands are already starting to enter this space, in September 2020 Apple Watch announced their partnership with Lumi Health, a personalised health programme developed by the Government of Singapore to support its businesses and citizens. Users can download the Lumi Health app which features challenges designed to help users sleep better, move more, eat well, and live more mindfully day to day.
In the future, there is an opportunity for brands to play an increasing role in both educating and guiding consumers on steps they can take to maintain their new healthy habits as society reopens.
Case study source: Apple Newsroom
4. FINANCIAL BALANCE:
Life in lockdown, as well as the closure of service and construction industries, has left people’s income heavily affected.
Whilst Gen Y demographics that have been working from home have gotten used to an uptick in their savings accounts since life in lockdown, causing them to reconsider pre-Covid spending habits, younger Gen Y demographics have been using time in lockdown to get savvier with their finances.
Gen Zers who are still in college and have been out of work during Covid are educating themselves on best practise for saving and managing debt. They’re learning to take charge of their financial stability to ensure they don’t miss out on key moments as society reopens.
With the rise in financial influencers on platforms such as TikTok educating followers on investments, savings & paying off debt, this generation is set to become savvier and have more control of their finances from a younger age than their Gen Y family members and peers.
With 1 million followers on TikTok, Taylor Price educates followers on topics including the stock market, pensions, and credit ratings. Image courtesy of @taylorprice TikTok
Kiersten Crum, 21 used the past year to learn about stock trading and shares her knowledge on Tik Tok. Image source: New York Times
As consumers seek to be more educated and informed with their finances, there is an opportunity for brands to simplify complex policies and be their educator and partner on their journey of financial balance and stability.
Case study source: New York Times
5. SPONTANEITY SEEKERS:
Life in lockdown has been a monotony of work, school and home life with each day blurring into the next, leaving consumers tired of organised entertainment on zoom and time constraints on their social occasions.
They crave bringing spontaneity back into their day to day and the unknown back into their social occasions, meaning less meticulously planned outings and more going with the flow and seeing where the night takes them.
As guidelines for the reopening of society remain, there is an opportunity for brands to tap into this desire to bring spontaneity back into our day to day in future comms and activations.
6: MAXIMISING CARBON CREDIT:
As the race to save the future of our planet accelerates, people are taking more drastic measures to ensure they limit their carbon footprint.
Sustainability initiatives have shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a factor shoppers actively consider when choosing the products that they buy across packaging, sourcing of ingredients and animal welfare.
Initially, financial institutions tapped into this need to help customers cap their spending, in April 2021, Mastercard unveiled a carbon calculator tool for Banks Globally which will equip people with carbon footprint data and insights to help inform consumer spending and offer ways to contribute to reforestation.
Case study source: Mastercard
This has since expanded to the FMCG, Fashion, and Alcohol industries in a bid to help people make longer-term lifestyle changes.
Going forward, as consumers seek to lessen their impact on the environment, they will expect brands to take responsibility and play a role in environmental conservation. They will be drawn to brands and services that help them on their journey to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to environmental conservation in their day-to-day choices.