The year of the COVID-19 pandemic has come and gone, leaving social and economic disruption in its wake. Fortunately, most communities around the world are able to adjust and settle into the new normal. As the new year enters the limelight, another challenging task awaits – and that’s coping with the next normal.
Here are some of the anticipated trends, borne out of the pandemic, that will be with us this 2021 and beyond.
Companies realign business strategies to address new consumer values.
Since the pandemic arose, the way people approach their physical, mental and spiritual well-being has changed. People want brands to put more attention on health-related products and services that not only cater to self-care but also community care.
With these apparent changes in consumer perception of health and safety, businesses need to reinvest in innovation and product experience to drive growth and gain or maintain consumer trust and loyalty.
The rise of shop-streaming.
Also known as live commerce, social e-commerce or shopping parties, shop-streaming makes online shopping a two-way event. This new sales channel enables brands to engage with their target consumers faster and at a lower cost.
Typically, a shop-streaming video will involve an influencer showcasing one or multiple products. The influencer explains the product features, discounts offered and payment conditions, encouraging consumers to purchase the item. Consumers watching the live stream can ask questions about the item and have them answered in real-time, providing them with a more interactive purchase experience.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) gain more traction.
AR and VR technology are expected to be of great use in different sectors besides the gaming and entertainment industries. For example, educational and training institutions can make use of these technologies in engineering or medical-related courses, without exposing learners to risks that are involved with them.
Meanwhile, in the automotive industry, VR and AR technologies may be used for immersive car tours and experiential test drives. VR also is becoming a popular trend in the travel and tourism industry, allowing potential travellers to experience a location before booking a vacation there.
Interest in cryptocurrencies returns.
From experiencing a slump in 2018 and 2019, cryptocurrencies have gradually recovered towards the end of 2020. For 2021, digital currencies are predicted to see dramatic price gains with investors and companies showing more interest in them.
Cryptocurrencies are also gaining mainstream acceptance as an alternative to traditional currency, especially in industries such as fintech, energy, healthcare and logistics.
As cryptocurrencies run on blockchain technology, a structure that stores and manages data using clusters of computers not owned by a single entity, businesses that are looking to digitise their processes can achieve greater transparency, enhanced security, and increased efficiency and speed of transactions.
Comfort is key when it comes to fashion.
Fashion trends are generally inspired by influences at the time and 2021 will be influenced by – time spent indoors. Below are some of the styles to look out for this year.
Leather makes a comeback, interpreting everyday classics such as midi-dresses, maxi skirts, kaftan-style dresses, coats and suits
Loose, wide-legged denim paired with a delicate crop top or a billowy top cinched at the waist with a wide belt
Puffed sleeves on shirt dresses or dresses with peplum hemlines
Boyfriend shirts get a feminine twist with a mid-riff baring cut
Modern Black Dress (MBD), from ones with sporty cut-outs to sweeping column gowns and cape-like dresses
Knits in t-shirt and button-up silhouettes
Statement collars to elevate the look of a simple tee or dress
Shiny, glittery and metallic fabric
Bright, neon colours of pink, green, blue are making a splash