As shopping online has become the norm in the 21st Century, consumer demands for convenience and speed continue to rise. Retailers are implementing new ways to capture this new generation of shoppers while reinventing their brands to appeal to a digital marketplace. As you consider your strategy for this rapidly-evolving digital world, here are ten key trends and statistics to help guide your planning for 2021.
1. Environmental awareness
A larger group of consumers today is concerned about climate change, and they’re looking for steps that they can take to reverse the process that is endangering the ecosystem. Many consumers, especially younger generations, are largely comprised of people with this sentiment, and this has led this group to place greater value on experience over ownership.
There is a growing number of people who have ethical concerns about business practices and look at avoidance of waste, and this places greater market value on products that last longer and don’t end up in the trash right away. To take advantage of this, businesses can launch subscription and reusable programs for their products to improve their image for consumers who value ethical awareness.
Consumers are looking for reusable items that enable them to cut down on waste. This trend has grown to the point where there is a buzzword in the industry called the “reuse revolutionaries.” Businesses who are taking a firm stance on only offering reusable materials and packaging can earn this highly regarded status and gain a strong, growing customer base.
2. Products of the past making a comeback
Social media has a way of putting a spotlight on popular culture from the past and breathing new life into it. There is a growing trend of consumers looking for retro-inspired products. One example is a resurgence in the interest for Polaroid-style instant print cameras. Some companies can simply look at their past products to gain new inspiration. Sometimes reissuing an old product can inspire a buzz, especially when paired with a creative social media campaign.
3. Consumers spend increasingly more time with mobile devices
Every year, it seems like a new smartphone is one of the top items on people’s holiday wish lists. This year is no different, and the trend just continues to grow more prominent in the market. With the new arrival of 5G internet this year, there is even more incentive for people to invest in smartphone upgrades. It has come to the point that adults now spend more time interacting with their mobile devices than watching television. For digital marketers, this represents an opportunity unlike any before.
4. Bargain hunting creeps into more sectors
The online shopping experience is providing more ways for consumers to seek deals. This has led to the rise of bargain-oriented platforms where shoppers can typically get items for 60% less than they would pay in person at a department store. This trend has even spread to luxury brands that include prestige beauty products that had previously seemed immune to the need for discount prices.
It has come to the point where consumers often feel like they have failed if they paid full price for anything. As businesses use promotional pricing to entice shoppers, they have to learn how to do it responsibly to avoid damaging the market as a whole.
5. Growing demand for convenience
The internet and speedy delivery have created a consumer base that demands greater convenience. Now that millennials are grown to the point where they are parents with busier lifestyles, efficient and convenient shopping experiences have more value. Time-saving solutions are an important step for enticing today’s customers. Time saving also is appealing in items that consumers buy for the home. More efficient, time-saving kitchen devices are a good example. This also enables retailers to offer home installation and preparation services to improve the efficiency of households and the buying experience.
6. Rental and resale are in fashion
Resale clothing is no longer relegated to those who are in financial hardship. Young shoppers are frequently visiting online consignment stores and apparel rental services. New generations of shoppers are challenging traditional ideas of ownership, and many prominent retailers are beginning to integrate resale and rental in order to entice this growing market. Although resale of goods can hinder the sales of new products, this could also be viewed as a way to grow one’s customer base and attract younger demographics.
7. More shoppers are using BOPIS tactics
“Buy online and pick up in-store,” abbreviated BOPIS, is a growing trend. This feature is especially valuable for retailers who have numerous in-person shopping locations. The United States market is currently behind the curve in offering this option to consumers when compared to European countries.
The appeal to consumers for BOPIS is that it eliminates the shipping cost. In many cases, this type of shipping can be carried out more quickly than delivering to the home. The most popular items that consumers want to pick up at the store are clothing, electronics, beauty items and groceries. The demographic that gravitates to this the most is generation Z, which is people age 25 and younger.
8. Consumers continue to demand personalization
As the technology of web platforms continues to evolve, digital shopping has the ability to offer more personalized experiences and products. Consumers are interested in items that fit their interests, which can be researched with data such as their previous purchases and listings they have visited.
Consumers can also receive direct communication about products they are watching. This could take the form of an email that updates the shopper about changes in price or availability. In order to implement a full personalization strategy, online marketers will need to enable an omnichannel strategy that utilizes social media, email, search engine ads and more.
With greater personalization comes more sharing of personal information. Although people are expecting more personal attention from retailers, they are also more aware of the need to protect their identity and payment information. This means that digital marketers have to build the trust factor of their brand and deepen relationships with customers. Creating outstanding products that inspire consumers to share messages about them on social media also helps to lend more credibility to a brand and build trust.
9. Home life is becoming multifunctional
Traditionally, the home is a place of relaxation, sleep and family meals. Today, telecommuting and the gig economy have turned a large portion of homes into multifunctional hubs for business, work, fitness and other activities. The evolution of internet broadband and prevalence of computerized devices in people’s homes enables ordinary people to carry out tasks that previously had to be done in specialized locations.
Because of this rapidly evolving home life, consumers have different demands in order to meet these new needs. Casual clothing that can be worn around the house is more in demand, and people are looking for ways to have food delivered to the home. People are spending more time in the house, and they’re shopping for products that fit this new multi-purpose home lifestyle.
10. Greater demand for health technology
Consumers are looking for better technology-based solutions for their health issues. They expect to be able to set online appointments to see health professionals, and they want to have access to their medical information via internet platforms. In these days that have been radically affected by the global pandemic, there is a growing demand for conducting meetings with health care providers via remote methods such as video meetings or voice calls. Customers also prefer to get prescription refills online and to complete paperwork on a website prior to healthcare appointments.
Ten Must-Know Statistics
Being informed about statistics is important for understanding consumers. Here are some essential facts that will help guide you in creating a marketing strategy for 2021.
- Nearly half of consumers performed shopping activities on their mobile phones since August of 2020
- Only 9% of extracted materials in the global economy in recent years are being recirculated, which means that 91% of materials are still going to waste
- According to recent studies, Adults in the United States spend an average of nearly four hours daily using mobile devices
- Only 26 percent of digital marketers have taken steps to create a connected multichannel strategy
- Half of consumers are more interested in personalized product offerings that are based on their tastes
- Due to a larger number of business closings and economic pressure, 75 percent of US consumers have recently tried new shopping behaviors
- Brand loyalty is on the decline with 36 percent of consumers having recently sampled a different brand of product
- The pandemic has had an impact on shopping hygiene practices which has 79 percent of American consumers looking for self-checkout options
- Many consumers are intending to cut back on nonessential purchases, and about 40 percent of shoppers have reduced their overall spending budgets
- Products that offer value rather than luxury have seen a gain of two to five percent in sales
This year has been a game-changer like no other in recent memory, and marketers are scrambling to keep up with dramatic shifts in consumer behavior. The pandemic has sent people into their homes and created a temporary boom in e-commerce, but it’s uncertain how long this will last. The pandemic is expected to subside next year, so marketers should have a strategy for adjusting to current conditions while being prepared for another dramatic shift in consumer behavior next year.