It’s no secret that 2020 greatly disrupted the retail landscape, with its effects felt not only into 2021, but will be felt for many years down the line. With changing consumer values, lifestyles and wants, brands should consider new key categories that are experiencing a ton of growth.
2020 affected the future of work, and with that came a shift in consumer values. Sharp-looking workwear and priorities away from the home were all of the sudden out, and an increased value was place on quiet spaces, quality of sleep and health, both physical and mental. But how did these shifts shape consumer buying power?
Key Category One: Sleep
The product market in the area of sleep and rest became an almost overnight success and still continues to be highly valued. Sleep-focused companies who focused on research and creating new technical specifications for things like pillows and sleep assistance products did very well, as did market disrupters that developed bio-hacking tools to better understand sleep and sleep cycles. As consumers began to ask: “How do I do everything at once?” the importance of sleep quality skyrocketed and rest took more of a center stage. Even PJs became more quickly accepted as outerwear outside of just sleeping.
Key Category Two: Kitchen
Kitchens became the social stars in pretty much everyone’s homes in 2020, and with that was born a new product area superstar. Everything from cookware to serving items to table linens to home goods – even aprons became very popular.
Key Category Three: Bedroom
Our bedrooms became our sanctuaries in 2020 and, as a result, products such as bedding, lighting and robes saw huge increases, as did an interest in general comfort and self-care.
Key Category Four: Bath
Extending from a renewed interest in self-care, bath categories did very well in 2020 and are expected to continue to do so. Good smelling lotions, skincare and all kinds of self-care products and curated boxes have been of high interest.
Key Category Five: Gifting
As we struggled to find ways to maintain connections during social distancing, gifting became super relevant. Things like subscription boxes and cultivating repeat customers have been important, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that a lot of the value in gifting is the unboxing experience, so packaging and presentation are also key. The experience matters almost as much as the gift item.
Key Category Six: Zoom Workwear
Traditional suit brands lost big time in 2020, but Zoom-specific workwear took off. As we saw the rise of the “executive mullet” (business up top, casual on the bottom), blazers and dressy tops (that can be paired secretly with comfier sweats below) were more valued than full suits and trousers.
Key Category Seven: Athleisure & Activewear
As more people took up walking, running and hiking, a new key consumer value was born: valuing connection to the outdoors and nature. Activewear brands are on the rise, servicing clothing geared towards specific sports, yoga, hiking and running, while athleisure brands are finding plenty of homes with products that bridge comfort and style with being activity-friendly, such as joggers or high-quality sweats.
There is a clear, new indicator for the foreseeable future of market trends: How people value their time. This will continue to tell us where consumer trajectory is headed.
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