There was a time when my 86 year old father didn’t know how to answer a video call; while gifting him a tablet was a lost cause since it never saw the light of day from it's packaging. But guess who’s not only answering calls now, clued up with messaging and video content – my dad!
COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled new habits and trends among nearly all age groups that have changed our lives forever. My last article was about accepting this ‘new normal’ to make best practices work for businesses. While small to medium entrepreneurs are scrambling for new strategies and coping mechanisms, in this short article I’m highlighting some important emerging trends which can be incorporated into the changing landscape for SME’s. Why should we monitor these new emerging trends?
There could be a next pandemic sneaking up on us just like this one – anytime and anywhere. Yes scary thought, but it’s true according to CNBC reporting that only 0.1% viruses are known to mankind out of potential 263,000 viruses that can transfer to humans. Bill & Melinda Gates had already stocked up food in their basement for years in anticipation of a pandemic. So how does this translate for SME’s and enterprises? Read on for insights on consumer trends that are likely to become part of humans adopting to such unprecedented situations. Entrepreneurs can prudently keep abreast with these trends by embedding them in marketing plans, product development & strategy for the remaining of 2020 and beyond:
Eager to enjoy: Post lockdown not only the younger generation – but all age groups including children and elderly will be keen to enjoy themselves. This means outdoor activities, food & beverage, home entertainment, wellness & fitness related products will be back on the surge; weaning away the built up boredom from beginning of this year.
Safe & environment friendly products: With the revived importance on hygiene; product packaging, testing for safety, the source and sustainability will be essential characteristics for consumers to consider a buy. Especially for non-essential or non-food related food products; healthy and safe products will take precedence. According to McKinsey’s recent report, cleaning products, fresh & healthy foods and personal hygiene products have been on top of the list for consumer spending in China as the lockdown is easing slowly.
Customers will be poorer: We have witnessed numerous job losses, furloughs and benefit reductions being no surprise since many businesses have taken the impact first hand due to social distancing restrictions and threat to life. Therefore the consumer in 2020 will be even more discerning and will concentrate spending only on essentials. An average American family has $8,863 USD in savings while 38,000 USD in debt (excluding mortgages). However, the sense of community is at a high and people are willing to support local businesses; Diversifying your products and services to support your local community during this time can prove valuable with long lasting customer relationships.
Do it Online: Ordering food, home supplies, essentials and other retail has surely seen an upwards trend. Since the send of another pandemic or second wave remains, expanding your digital offerings has had no better time than this. A London and Berlin based streetwear company Rohbau has launched a virtual hoodie with logo et all that can be superimposed on photographs.
Virtual Conferences & Experiences: Virtual sports & virtual music concerts prior to beginning of 2020 was a strange concept but we just had Lady Gaga & Elton John perform virtually to unite the world against coronavirus. I also came across a virtual 3D tour of exotic holiday destinations and virtual tours of popular museums. Due to COVID-19 restrictions products like ON24 hosting business events and virtual conferences are becoming a safe choice for businesses. Webinars and events on this platform can have private booths, rooms and talks – all virtual; which can run over days just like a physical conference. Creating a virtual experience and platform, is longer a nice to have, but soon to become a must-have option.