If we learnt one thing in 2020, it’s that there is no such thing as a forecast. The unpredictable happened and we all had to rip up our projections and plans and go back to the drawing board. Whether you believe it to be good or bad, this year has forced change – change that could have a lasting impact on our consumption patterns.
Yes, vaccines have started to be approved and commentators have started to predict a ‘return to normality’ at various points next year. China’s experience certainly suggests a bounceback is possible. But Toto, I don’t think the West is in Kansas anymore. Or at least, I hope we’re not. No offence Kansas but this is an opportunity to build our own Oz (minus the creepy flying monkeys, please) and we should seize it. We don’t have any control over disposable incomes or employment rates but we can ensure that we produce products that meet the needs of consumers in the post-Covid era.
And what will those needs be? Well, we’ve all had a chance to reassess. According to a recent article published in The Guardian, in the UK, debt has been repaid at record levels since the start of the pandemic and average household expenditure has fallen by £6,600. We’re saving 33 percent of our salaries now versus the 14 percent pre-pandemic. We may not have had much choice in the beginning but a year later, we’ve broken habits and formed new ones.
And as we’ve become more thoughtful consumers, it’s more important than ever that products be purposeful. Enter the new era of mindful shopping. It’s not that we won’t spend at all – actually, those who have retained their jobs are better off financially than pre-pandemic and with interest rates so low, their nest eggs aren’t appreciating – it’s that we’ll spend differently. And top of the priority list is ‘blue beauty’ – or products that support ocean conservation with sustainable, marine-derived ingredients and proper attention to the product’s packaging lifecycle.
Second, we’ve spent more time at home than ever before and naturally, we’ve made tweaks to how we use the space. We’re increasingly likely to divert funds from eating out to home improvements and beauty can get in on the act via its tech arm. Cosmetics fridges, smart mirrors, apps, trackers and beauty devices are all experiencing a boom as consumers seek to recreate the salon experience at home and seek more personal advice and analysis as well as to measure performance.
Equally, our rituals have got us through this year and self-care is likely to continue to be a priority into the next 12 months too. We want to feel good and carve out a little daily luxury so a sensorial aspect will become ever more important in products. This applies not only to the more time-heavy treatments, such as a facemask, but also the basics. When there’s not much else to do but clean your teeth and wash your hands, you want that ‘experience’ to feel cosseting.
Last, there’s no doubt that wellness will continue to be an ever-bigger priority. Clean beauty and CBD aren’t going anywhere and we can expect immune-boosting ingredients and buzz words such as ‘anti-inflammatory’ to trend.