We’re all happy to see 2020 behind us. A historic pandemic, social upheaval and political unrest caused tremendous uncertainty and chaos. But it also saw the emergence of several trends that may shape how we live our lives for years to come.
 
At the beginning of 2020 we predicted the trends we thought might impact marketing. While nobody could have imagined the “perfect storm” that would have upended our society, our team did a pretty good job anticipating the mindsets, technologies and issues that would affect how brands connect with consumers. Here’s a recap.
 
Consumer Mindsets 
Stressed Out: If we weren’t stressed out at the start of 2020, we certainly were by April when quarantines, joblessness and uncertainty gripped our country. Many people turned to meditation apps, binge-watching digital TV content and video games to relieve stress. In fact, 2020 was so stressful that 2021 is expected to usher in a robust wellness mindset. How can your brand capitalize?

Desperately Seeking Good:  Movements like Stop Hate for Profit and Black Lives Matter certainly accelerated this trend in 2020. In 2021, expect this consumer mindset to intensify and brands to focus even more on demonstrating their values.   

Suspicious:  This trend was evident in consumers’ growing uneasiness about who has their digital data. Concerns about TikTok, What’s App and Apple were all at the heart of this mindset in 2020.

Emerging Issues and Platforms
Privacy: The California Consumer Privacy Act and other state consumer data/privacy laws went into effect in 2020. Then in November, voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act that expanded consumer protections even further. Privacy laws are here to stay.

Extended Reality:  As the pandemic restricted everything from shopping to vacation travel, many businesses turned to augmented reality in 2020 to deliver as close to an in-person experience as possible. Extended reality will continue to play a large role in the buying process moving forward, and we should expect enhanced capabilities in the near future. 

Podcasts: Podcasts definitely hit the mainstream in 2020. Advertisers can now rely on Nielsen for measurement and buy inventory as part of Spotify’s or Pandora’s offerings. The start of the pandemic brought a slight dip in usage with the sharp decline in commuting, but listening is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

Voice Search:  The industry desperately wants this trend to accelerate, but AI advances are not quite there for mass use. Expect a long road ahead for this trend. It will happen – just not anytime soon. 

TikTok: What a year for TikTok! Not only was this the most downloaded app of 2020, it was by far the most controversial Data and privacy concerns over the China-based platform caused the Trump administration to demand a merger with a U.S. company. While that matter is still not settled, expect TikTok to continue shaping social media for Gen Z.

Blockchain:  The award for best use of blockchain technology in advertising goes to Avocados from Mexico for its 2020 Super Bowl promotion. More widespread use of this technology will require increased data sharing from multiple companies.

Social commerce: As brick-and-mortar stores closed or reduced capacity last year, social commerce provided an alternative channel for many retailers. The U.S. still lags behind Asia in our ability to purchase seamlessly through social, but Instagram and TikTok have both increased their capabilities.

Heightened Brand Experiences:  Several brands reinvented themselves online in 2020, offering virtual experiences instead of in-person interactions. Not many brands enhanced their in-store experiences, but expect a resurgence as more people are able to return to in-person shopping. 
 
MOVING FORWARD 
Just because we move into a new year doesn’t mean these trends have run their course. As we begin 2021, marketers should anticipate that several of these 2020 trends will continue to impact their brands. So it’s not too late to adopt some of these practices to be sure you don’t fall too far behind. 
 
What’s next? Stay tuned to the ThinkLGA Blog for our predictions on what 2021 has in store. 


RELATED INSIGHTS 

Nov. 24, 2020: How B2B Brands Can Overcome COVID’s Sales Challenges 
As B2B businesses adapt in-person sales methods for long-term success in the digital realm, social media channels can be a key part of their strategy.

May 1, 2020: Understanding Customers is Crucial Amid COVID Chaos  
It’s time to sharpen and optimize the tools you use for customer-first marketing – here’s where to start.   

Jan. 2, 2020: Three Trends That Will Shape How Consumers Engage With Your Brand in 2020 
People are stressed out, suspicious and desperately seeking good. Here’s what that can mean for your marketing and communications strategy in 2020 and beyond. 

Do you know which marketing trends can most benefit your brand now, and which ones to look out for?   

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