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Retail Industry Updates

These Trends Are a Bit Different But Make Complete Sense

“Consumers are in search of a well-being experience through an entirely new lens built around a sense of uncertainty as to when life will shift to more balanced routines,” said Mintel’s Gabrielle Lieberman. (iStock/marekuliasz)

An awareness of well-being is at the forefront of consumers’ minds, but a playbook doesn’t exist for it, according to Mintel. But the lack of a playbook provides brands a responsibility and opportunity to set new rules, the marketing intelligence agency said.

“Consumers are in search of a well-being experience through an entirely new lens built around a sense of uncertainty as to when life will shift to more balanced routines,” said Gabrielle Lieberman, director of Mintel Trends and social media research. “This is driving demand for comfort and structure. As brands aim to set a new tone and new structures, the opportunity for brands exists in not simply selling a well-being product or service to consumers, but also reminding them of the value in their own internal curiosity and the power of trying something new.”

An awareness of well-being for consumers is one of “7 Trend Drivers” that Mintel expects to impact global consumer markets in 2021. All of the trends provide opportunities for companies and brands to act, Mintel said.

Another trend is “collective empowerment.” Mintel said consumers around the world are making their voices heard loud and clear in the push for equity, agency and rights.

“The collective mentality of the pandemic motivated a community-focused consumer mindset — even in traditionally individualistic cultures — that has put mutual support and advocacy at the forefront of various consumer behaviors,” Lieberman said. “The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Global Climate Strike show how people are gathering to clamor for positive change.”

Mintel said there is an opportunity for brands to take a lead in addressing these issues, and they may risk being seen as a hindrance if they fail to do so.

Here are the other five trends:

• Priority shift: Consumers are seeking a return to the essentials, with a focus on flexible possessions and a reframing of what ownership actually means, according to Mintel.

“As consumers are either facing economic uncertainty and/or a mix of contradictory feelings of vulnerability and resilience, they are taking a step back and embracing a scarcity mindset that makes them monitor more closely their spending and avoid excess consumption,” Lieberman said. “In this search for things that matter to them, consumers are seeking not just affordability and convenience, but also safety, protection and durability of goods. Brands should take advantage of this opportunity to become agents of positive change, and to prove that they offer good value and tangible results.”

• Coming together: Consumers are coming together in like-minded communities in order to connect with and support each other, driven by the impact of the global pandemic, Mintel stated. “A widespread understanding that community and belonging are critical to combat loneliness offers brands the chance to celebrate consumer identities and offer novel ways to support each other,” Lieberman added.

• Virtual lives: Physical separation due to the pandemic, increased need for escapism and improved technology are driving consumers towards digital experiences, according to Mintel. “The impact of the pandemic and continued innovation in technology has meant that experiences continue to change and the role digital entertainment plays in fostering positivity and connecting people is of particular importance,” Lieberman added.

• Sustainable spaces: COVID-19 has subtly but significantly shifted consumer awareness of our relationship with the spaces in which we live, accelerating demand for sustainability, Mintel stressed. “With access to more information than ever before, consumers are demanding greater transparency from the brands they buy from, including how brands plan to tackle sustainability challenges,” Lieberman said.

• Digital dilemmas: While there are many benefits to a more digitally connected life, concerns about its negative impacts are putting consumers in a predicament, according to Mintel. “Technology has played a massive role in offering solutions that provide peace of mind in uncertain times,” Lieberman added. “While technology is meant to improve life, it is worth taking a step back to assess how consumers feel about the technology with which they surround themselves. E-commerce and online transactions have the potential to become and remain the norm. Thus, brands are encouraged to innovate digital capabilities in anticipation of consumers’ needs and, crucially, to expertly bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds to offer a more reliable and consistent experience.”