So far, 2020 has been the year of the trend. From baking sourdough bread during peak lockdown, to star-jumping with Joe Wicks and ‘meeting’ friends on Zoom for yet another quiz, we’ve all been busy keeping up with the latest crazes.
Just yesterday market research firm Kantar revealed we’ve been splashing out on tea, coffee and biscuits in the last three months, searching for comfort amid the turbulence of the pandemic. There has been a surge in reading too, with old favourites such as Harry Potter and more recent titles relating to the Black Lives Matter movement topping the bestseller lists.
The way we shop has changed drastically, with a firm shift to digital. We’ve all been glued to our front windows in anticipation of our latest parcel; a welcome break from the boredom of lockdown. Yesterday, Hermes delivery service announced it is creating 10,000 new jobs – a strong indicator of this online shopping extravaganza.
Meanwhile, high-street retailer M&S has announced hundreds of job cuts. There really is no gain without pain.
But our values are changing too. Research by Deloitte suggests that consumers and businesses alike have begun to seek out an authentic purpose. In tandem, social media users are quick to publicly condemn businesses that go against their own social or ethical stances.
And then there are those long-term trends. A study published in The Lancetpredicts that there will be a drastic population decline due to falling fertility rates, so much so that 23 countries including Spain and Japan could see their population halve by 2100.
Such a scenario has its pros and cons. The pros could include less environmental devastation and a better paid workforce. On the other hand, it could lead to a “top heavy” population, with more people out of jobs than in them. In theory, this would present problems with social services and our ability to support aging populations.
So, as we look towards an uncertain future, we can reflect on the last few months and appreciate the value of cohesive action, sharing, innovating, digitising, and embracing the abnormal. We must prioritise these behaviours going forward to recover from the economic and health crisis. While tea and biscuits have comforted us through this time of uncertainty, we’ll now need resilience, agility and ambition to power us through the enormous changes to come.