Keeping up with the ever changing consumer landscape
Things move fast right now.
Like really, really, really, fast.
Blink for a moment and suddenly it seems like the paradigm has shifted a whole other standard deviation once again.
Let's take a look at some of the most notable changes that are affecting the consumer landscape.
More than anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an accelerant of change, not a harbinger of secular change in itself. Trends that were building momentum over the past decade now seem to have gained so much speed they are now hitting us right in the face.
Frugality is In
One significant shift in habits is the penny pinching that has begun to take hold as individuals try to lay the train tracks while the train is moving full steam ahead of them. For the past few decades, the individual savings rate has been consistently decreasing as money becomes cheaper (low interest rates), consumer confidence reached sky-high levels, and globalism led to decreasing prices on most discretionary items such as TVs.
All of these tailwinds have led to a boom for premium and aspirational brands over time. However, things could be changing. As people prepare for the potential of a lengthy and harsh recession (and possibly even a depression), we’re all tightening up our spending right now.
The implications of this on how we position brands cannot be understated. If this trend of secular personal saving continues to build, before we know it, our aspirational and sexy brands built off a constant need to express our social status could fall for the ebay’s and vintage stores of the world. Those people that bought a new pair of skis every winter might decide to make their latest pair last 4 years instead of 1. Perhaps instead of flying across the world for their next ski vacation, they might “make do” with their local ski hill.
Only time will tell the degree to which this comes to fruition. But in the meantime, it might not be a bad idea to think about how you can bump up the value of your product or brand brings to the table. I guarantee it is being weighed a lot more now than it used to be.
As COVID gives us all more time to sit around, and content creators less things to do, media consumption habits have started trending towards longer length, and more lean-in content.
By this point, we’re all aware of the constant barrage of Instagram Live videos. Suddenly it seems like everyone has decided to launch their own Instagram Live talk show. Admittedly, we even launched one.
Some excellent analysis has recently come from Global Web Index, showing exactly how our digital consumption habits have changed in such a short span of time. Take a look.
Clearly, things have changed quite drastically, and very quickly. The question is, however,
- Is this a permanent change, or simply circumstantial?
- Will we all revert back to our original media consumption habits once our lives return to some version of normalcy?
It’s difficult to say. Some trends may stick, such as the huge pivot to e-commerce, whilst some may disappear as quickly as they showed up once an inkling of normalcy returns.
With that in mind, here’s a few takeaways to consider as we move forward into our “new normal”:
If there’s one thing the past few months has taught us, it’s that upending an entire media plan to pivot to whatever is timely at that moment can be risky. What seems like a good idea that month could look tasteless just a few weeks later. Be timely with your content, but not too opportunistic. Here's what happens if you follow what everyone else is doing: Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same
Try New Channels
It’s a good time to test new channels out. Most brands weren’t doing Instagram Live two months ago, yet here we are. And consumers are following. Test out new media channels and see what sticks.
For years we’ve been told to keep social content short and exciting. However, with people now having more time on their hands and looking for more escapism content, longer-form lean-in content, there are opportunities to start trying new media executions such as Instagram TV.