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Top 6 Top Consumer Trends To Watch In 2021

Survey looks at top consumer expectations for brands in this era of uncertainty.

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Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

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Many years ago, I started my consulting practice as a marketing consultant. When I learned about the Values and Lifestyles Study from what was then the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), I was hooked on a field call “psychographics.” I think about the field as “the study of why people act as they do, including values, attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria.”

Clicksuasion is a company that looks at consumer behavior to help its clients anticipate shifts that are likely to affect how people make decisions. The company’s recently released Consumer Marketing Trends discusses the consumer behavior marketers may expect in 2021. A webinar last month explored the most likely top consumer priorities and expectations for brands in this era of a global pandemic, vulnerability, uncertainty and cultural strife. This Herman Trend Alert highlights the company’s six top consumer trends to watch.

1. Homecentric

With the Pandemic forcing us to stay home, our residences have become our places for work, play, entertainment, and more. Not only are consumers spending much more on home improvement, but they are also buying office furniture, upgrading bathrooms and finishing previously untapped spaces in their properties. Though the expectation is that once this novel coronavirus is under control, this home orientation may lessen, for now, it is the No. 1 shift to capitalize on. Moreover, 47 percent of the people polled believed that the Pandemic will have a lasting effect on the way they think about their homes. 

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Clicksuasion’s Advice:Innovate product offerings and distribution channels to serve consumers’ home-first lifestyle.

2. Hybrid Lifestyle

Marketers that understand we are living hybrid lifestyles combining digital conveniences with our analog (tangible) lives. Mobile apps to help us get things done, meetings that are both in-person and online, and using online platforms to share previously solo experiences, like watching a movie or a television show are all examples of our hybrid existence. One suggestion is to move to video customer service – that certainly could be a unique selling proposition. 

Clicksuasion’s Advice:Look at the digital experiences you are currently delivering to customers as well as your virtual event plans; think about how you might move to real-time and real-place events, when possible.

3. Employee Activism

Though this driver was not expected until 2023 or 2024, the advent of the Pandemic sped up its arrival. By 2022, one-third of publicity budgets will be dedicated to crisis communications to respond to employees speaking out against the organization. 

Clicksuasion’s Advice:Create a partnership between Human Resources and Communications to address negative comments from employees. Prepare a response to consumers’ concerns about these employees’ comments. You may even be able to prevent a crisis by being proactive; share the Voice of the Customer (VoC) to drive internal dialogue and change that conversation when brand messaging and actions of employees (or the company) are misaligned. Another means for being pre-emptive is to drive positive employee experience by giving young employees a feeling of purpose.

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4. Magnify Main Street

Sometimes the past informs the future. For the period between March and December 2019, consumers’ top concern, besides the availability of products in stores, was the demise of neighborhood businesses. During this challenging period, consumers kept track of local devastation throughout the pandemic. Interestingly, consumers trust small business to deliver better experiences, have better internal policies, take care of the community better, and are safer than big businesses. 

Clicksuasion’s Advice:Provide support for local businesses with charity and promotion. These real partnerships make a difference for local consumers.

5. Alternative Income Sources

Throughout North America, respondents to the company’s study worked on “side hustles” for an average of 13 hours per week across four days. The median annual income from these side hustles was about $5,000; almost half (49 percent) of the participants had more than one side job as well. Some forward-thinking companies are actually helping their employees to make money with side hustles. 

Clicksuasion’s Advice:Partner with HR to create contract and other side hustle projects that contribute to key performance indicators. Understand that these side hustle projects may also contribute to self-worth.

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6. Conservative Overt Consumerism

Consumers with affluence and influence are those most likely to reduce their social media posts related to their purchases. These lucky consumers are concerned about what other people will think when so many others are suffering financially and physically. 

Clicksuasion’s Advice:Find ways to establish deeper relationships with your existing customers to engender brand enthusiasm. Be sure to align your messaging and brand values with the evolving aspirations, wants and needs of your target market. Look for alternative channels for social media to connect with consumers and deliver content.

What These 6 Trends Mean to You

Wise marketers will understand that consumers have been affected by the Pandemic in big and small ways. To quote my friend, bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Very special thanks to Mike Barbera, founder of Clicksuasion, one of the United States’ leading companies focused on the value of delivering positive experiences to all of an organization’s stakeholders. Access their website https://clicksuasion.com. And for a special treat, tune into the podcast I cohost with Ira Wolfe, Geeks, Geezers and Googlization on March 14th when Mike will be our special guest.

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© Copyright 1998-2021 by The Herman Group, Inc. — reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From “The Herman Trend Alert,” by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or http://www.hermangroup.com. To sign up, visit https://www.HermanTrendAlert.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc.” 

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