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Decoding 2020’s Top Five Consumers Trends

Here is my attempt to look into the crystal ball at trends that emerged and will evolve among consumers in 2021!

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Alan Watts once said, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”. When we found ourselves in an unprecedented situation earlier this year at every possible level, we did just that. All of a sudden, working remotely was just like another regular day. Whipping up your breakfast at home rather than grabbing it on the go was a norm. Nutrition and immunity were the new hot words in everyone’s dictionary. And most importantly, we moved on with the new normal. 

It is sensational how sharply the pandemic influenced our habits, and the speed with which brands adapted to overcome challenges is remarkable. Now, with the New Year ahead of us, we are in for exciting times. Here is my attempt to look into the crystal ball at trends that emerged and will evolve among consumers in 2021!

Consumers will spend more judiciously and brands will volley for value

A black swan event such as the pandemic induced societal and economic changes. It resulted in job losses and salary cuts, thus making consumers naturally discretionary in their consumption habits. Going forward, brands will need to have a finger on the consumer’s pulse to stay relevant in their lives and adapt with agility to consumer needs. As an organization, we spent virtual time with over 450 consumers during the lockdown. Our interactions helped to solidify our understanding of how offerings that solve a real life problem in an authentic manner find place in their shopping carts. Thus, brands will need to volley for value to win.

Separating the purposeful best from the rest 

If the millennial generation grew up in the context of topics such as climate change, sustainable living, organic foods, wastage, and more, then it was always natural that they would throw their weight behind brands that took a stand on these. Studies showed that brands that are perceived to be meaningful have seen their wallet-share multiply by 9 and enjoy a 24 point greater purchase intent. Come 2021, we will see this becoming more relevant with the pandemic accentuating this sentiment among a significant section of consumers. It is no longer enough to serve consumer needs, but to do it with a purpose they resonate with. Brands that are able to align with this quickly enough will be the ones that sit on top of the consumers’ minds.

With consumer inertia broken, consumers will continue to discover more through e-commerce

With social distancing becoming intrinsic to our lifestyle and safety and convenience being a prime consideration for many, shopper behavior has been influenced accordingly. E-commerce significantly grew due to pandemic related factors, however, going into 2021 we will also see consumers seeking the assortment and convenience that e-commerce offers. Expect them to try new categories, discover new brands, delve into products that cater to unique occasions and unearth the numerous benefits that come with it. Brands will need to gear up more than ever to innovate ahead of the times and invest in a robust digital infrastructure.

Conventional food wisdom will keep evolving

Gone are the days when the average urban Indian rounded off their day with 3-square meals. Food wisdom is constantly growing and as a result, food occasions are more evenly spread through the day. For instance, ‘3 pm snacking’ is not an uncommon snacking occasion anymore and the discerning consumer is in search for nutritional and convenient options. Concepts such as nutritious energy bars fulfill this need perfectly. Only brands that are passionate about their foods will be able to identify and adapt to the consumers’ needs thus.

‘In-home’ is the new out-of-home and DIY is the way to do it

This was the year where we saw more DIY activities than ever, be it in the form of crafts, at people’s garages, or especially in the kitchen! Restricted access to out of home food led consumers to seek tasty, nutritious and convenient food options that they could prepare all by themselves. The findings of our real-time social listening exercise corroborated this trend that eventually led to us launch an inspiring, nutritious, yet exciting 21-day recipe campaign with a Master Chef. With in-home food consumption expected to steadily continue in 2021 owing to factors such as safety, hygiene, and social distancing, only the sky is the limit for what one might plate-up in their kitchen.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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consumer trends

Mohit Anand

The author is Managing Director, Kellogg South Asia

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