Hindsight is so 2020.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you never truly know what’s next. It also taught us that resiliency and a willingness to adapt can help you survive. So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from last year and what they mean for 2021.
In 2020, consumers spent an average of $13,000 on home improvement and maintenance.
As Americans found themselves both working and relaxing at home for longer than they might have anticipated, they invested in their living spaces. According to a survey from Home Advisor, in 2020, consumers spent an average of $13,000 on home improvement and maintenance — an increase of $4,000 from the year before. Almost 40% of respondents said their investment was to create a space that better fit their lifestyle.
But homeowners didn’t invest in only big projects: Fooddive.com reports time spent in the kitchen affected both grocery and kitchen supply spend. From baking bread to creating coffee drinks and cocktails, lots of home cooks were keen to experiment. Recipe sites enjoyed more traffic, and cookware sales were on the rise.
In 2021, we can predict this investment in home and cooking will continue. HomeAdvisor’s report found that at least 30% of the home improvement projects consumers started in 2020 weren’t in response to the pandemic. And in its “Food Study Special Report,” media agency Hunter found that 51% of survey respondents said they were going to continue their newfound cooking hobby post-pandemic.
A study done by IBM discovered the pandemic accelerated adoption of online shopping by five years.
Being confined indoors has, quite obviously, changed the way we shop. And not just by a little bit: a study done by IBM discovered the pandemic accelerated adoption of online shopping by five years. Retailers have had to adjust to that new reality rapidly. Consumers aren’t coming in to browse, which limits the “try before you buy” behavior they’re used to.
Cue augmented reality. From “trying on” makeup digitally at Sephora to seeing what a new sofa might look like in your living room, AR is finding its way into consumers’ lives at a quick pace. It’s also driving spend. Shopify reports products that supported 3D/AR interactions saw a 94% higher conversion rate over products that didn’t.
With AR having such an impact on shopping behavior in 2020, brands that figure out how to leverage the medium well will have a major edge against their competitors.
Brands spent five times more on racial justice messaging in 2020 than they did in 2018 and 2019.
Corporate Social Responsibility has transformed significantly over the past five years. As recently as 2017, major brands were hesitant to adopt positions on social justice issues, even as they focused on diversity and climate change.
Today, says Consulting.us, 60% of consumers said they expect brands to make a stand against racism. That increased to 78% among shoppers ages 18-34. Brands responded by spending at least five times more on racial justice messaging in 2020 than they did in 2018 and 2019.
Simply put: Consumers want the brands they buy to reflect their own personal values. They also look to their favorite brands to act as a partner in changing the world. Companies like Gap Inc. have responded by letting them donate their loyalty points to a favorite charity.
In an environment where community and social justice issues are at the forefront, successful brands will continue this spirit of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Giving back through Project Linus
1 in 3 pet owners adopted again during the pandemic.
In 2020, as more of us found ourselves at home, we adopted pets to keep us company. Mars Petcare’s 2020 annual report, themed “Pets in a Pandemic,” revealed 1 in 3 pet owners adopted again during the pandemic.
Even the pet parents who didn’t bring home another animal were thankful to have their companions by their side. In a survey of 1,000 pet owners, 50% of respondents said the best perk of working from home was more time with their pets. The downside? These owners are worried about their pets’ anxiety (and their own) when they go back to the office. Another interesting tidbit: When travel becomes possible again, 60% of owners don’t want to leave their pets behind.
The upshot is that more than ever, we consider our pets as part of the family. Brands that innovate ways to foster those relationships will have a loyal fan base.