Year after year, trend-watchers keep a close eye on the behaviour and preferences of consumers across industries. As new ones emerge, companies, brands, and individuals must adapt to the new and often spontaneous demands of customers. Such changes might include brand ethos, new product lines, adaptations of technology, and better customer experiences.
New challenges create new and substantial opportunities. For the large and established corporations, taking advantage of such opportunities might be easier given their capital resources. But could their established and rigid brand image limit their ability to truly take hold of emerging trends? And are startups better positioned to give consumers what they want from the get-go?
Emerging consumer trends 2021
Shift from eco-conscious to eco-shame
Conscious consumerism is nothing new. However, the search for more sustainable consumption is reaching a critical tipping point. The sentiment around sustainable alternatives is shifting from the status of opting-in to the shame in opting-out.
A GlobalWebIndex study found that the the future of the environment is the responsibility of a diverse group of bodies and individuals; according to consumers. Whilst the majority believe it eco-conscious responsibility is on the consumer themself – most other consumers believe it is the responsibility of governments, brands, institutions and influencers.
As sustainable alternatives have become widespread and more affordable, consumers who still chose less sustainable products are experiencing a growing level of eco-shame. So, in 2021, millions of people will begin seeking out products and services that help them alleviate this shunned-feeling.
The most common theme found in the rise of conscious consumerism has been an apparent status-play. Just think back to one of the millions of examples; in 2016, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to produce a limited edition, recycled ocean plastic line of trainers. Since only 50 pairs were made, this falls straight into eco-status. But in 2019, Adidas made 11 million pairs of ocean plastic trainers, rendering them no longer an eco-status accessory.
Those who opt out of eco-conscious products and services are beginning to experience the rise in shame. How can startup companies take advantage of this emerging trend?
Unlike Adidas, most startups enter into a market offering little preconceived notions to consumers. They are new, fresh and can build their brand identity from scratch. When it comes to sustainability, most companies are adopting eco-conscious practices. There’s no longer a gap in the market for sustainable startups to fill. Rather, Startups who can fill a gap in the market, whilst being sustainable as a secondary USP, can attract consumers who want the goods, without having to think about the implications of their spending habits.
We’re burning out
Not only has 2020 been a strenuous year for literally everybody, but 86% of British people reported feeling anxious due to work pressures in 2018-19. 87% of them had difficulties switching off from work and cite feeling failure as a result.
Overseas, over 66% of working parents in Australia struggle to care for their health because of tensions between work and caring. And in Singapore, 71% of women report feeling like they work in an ‘always-on’ environment (PewResearch).
Last year, the World Health Organisation declared burnout as an occupational health phenomenon. This constant pressure to be on work mode all the time, both personally and professionally, is taking a toll on mass mental health and physical reserves.
In the wake of the pandemic and following years of burning out, it’s forecast that in 2021, consumers will look to brands to help them battle the fatigue of modern life. Could it be possible that some of the established brands are partly to blame for these pressures? Thus far, they’ve done nothing to alleviate the burnout. Could it be time to strip things back, and make way for startups to take us back to a simpler time?
Startups are in an excellent position to begin the innovation process, to serve customers, and to rise to the challenge of supporting the mental wellbeing of staff, the supply chain, and the customers they serve. It is very important for every business to include these ideas to improve their company or services, and of course, to survive in the competitive world. It’s also important to find partners like Gobizit.com for business support. Gobizit helps you to acquire new customers and to build the foundations of your business and most important to differentiate yourself from your competition. By focusing on products and services that support a healthy life balance, startups are set to succeed as this emerging trend takes off.
A new social normal
Mainstream social media has been a colossal disruption to our individual and collective social relations. It’s no secret that the only thing the big platforms are interested in is keeping us addicted. Consumers, on the whole, are becoming increasingly aware of the adverse effects and are beginning to now, more than ever, indulge in a ‘social media cleanse’.
It’s clear that the benefits of social media are being outweighed by the addiction, toxicity and a few bad eggs. 2021 is expected to see consumers ditch the vast toxic online communities and social media platforms and embrace smaller, more intimate digital spaces that facilitate meaningful connections. Users will want to connect with like-minded people and indeed be themselves.
What are the prospects of Facebook or Twitter leading this movement? Slim. Rather, there is a giant gap in the online space for startup enterprises to connect people in meaningful ways. Facebook is hardly likely to release a sister company that drives people away from using Facebook to a smaller, different platform. It’s down to the new players in the social media game to introduce consumers to the new social normal.
What is the Startup Upper-Hand?
From building trusted brand ethos from scratch, to making consumers feel better about their purchasing decisions, and entering into new markets that are frankly counter-intuitive for the established giants; startups have a clear upper-hand when it comes to meeting the demands of emerging trends.