21 Trends for 2021

Welcome to 2021. We're planning a year better than the last, starting with the trends we're predicting will make their way to the top over the upcoming months. You can also see these trends as a chart.


Consumer Trends

A Burst of Creativity. Gen Z consumers are spending more time honing creative and technical skills outside the traditional school system, making side gigs bigger than ever. Is your brand effectively appealing to this creative and unconventional audience?

Rethinking Wellness. Mental health care, at-home exercise programs, and holistic health solution are just a few of the signs wellness is a top priority going into 2021. Successful brands will actively support the wellness of both their employees and customers.

Back to Basics. Consumers are prioritizing simplicity as they establish new lifestyle habits. Decluttering and minimalism are affecting everything from fashion to finance. A tip: Ensure your brand is deemed essential by your customers as they do away with everything unnecessary.

Millennial Migration. Out of the city we go. Millennials are flocking to suburban and rural locations. We suggest: Rely on broad reach as you relearn the best places to connect with your customers.

The Digital Divide Declines. Diverse new audiences embraced digital when the pandemic began. They will likely stay online, having hurdled the technology barrier. A thought: How can you refine your online presence to ensure inclusivity to a larger group? Can you better tailor your messages to discrete addressable audiences?


Marketing Trends

Results Do Matter. Accountability is increasingly important for marketing campaigns, especially for brands most impacted by COVID. Focus on short-term deterministic results, but not at your brand's expense.

Reevaluating Loyalty. Customers are rethinking brand loyalty since the pandemic forced a change in habits. Brands, seize tactical opportunities where new customers may be up for grabs. Expect to win through authentic behaviors.

Taking a Stand. Millennials expect brands to take a stance on social issues, but the jury's still out on how much this actually impacts sales. In the end, actions speak louder than words. Support your position with real action, and Millennials will support you.

Supporting Empathy. After a tough year, customers have a new appreciation for genuine kindness and understanding from brands. Our tip: Make sure customer service is a high priority in both words and deeds.

Virtual Event Step Up. Growing innovation is expected to bring virtual events to new and hybrid heights this year. How can you better monetize virtual and hybrid events in 2021?


Media Trends

Balanced Media. Brands are reassessing digital's effectiveness and taking a hard look at video. It's time to balance the books on media. How can you ensure reach, relevance and saliency?

The Cookie Crumbles. California's new legislation may be followed by a federal data privacy law this year. Brands looking to rise to the top should emphasize first-party data over third-party cookies.

Streaming Wars Rage On. Despite increased competition, Netflix is still winning the streaming wars. But Disney+ is out to take the crown in 2021. Of course, industry domination leads to artificially high prices. Consider all your options for broadcast, including the traditional tried and true.

Celebrities are Out, Microinfluencers Are In. Microinfluencers are a major deal. Brands are expected to more heavily utilize influencers in multi-channel marketing campaigns throughout the year. Our thoughts… Authenticity counts. People are skeptical. They want to hear from people like them. Quality still beats quantity.

Game On. Gaming is becoming an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Gaming's audience is multi-generational and multi-faceted, which raises a question: where are the opportunities to incorporate gamification in your business?


Business Trends

Safety Still Comes First. Consumers want to see safety measures continued regardless of a COVID vaccine. Contactless shopping, payments, and delivery will be the new normal.

Ecommerce is Here to Stay. Amazon, Walmart, and Instacart are leading the way into an ecommerce-centric world. But just because everyone's online doesn't mean they don't miss the personality and humanity of an in-store experience. How can you find new ways to add this to your online shopping experience?

Tech is Your Best Friend. Technology is the go-to solution for everything from payroll to communications. Is it time to convert to a tech-based solution? Where can your business operations be supported by tech to improve efficiency or reduce costs?

Retail Remnant Revival. Small local business are fighting for survival. Communities are leaning in to support them, but it won't be business as usual. How can your business help or continue to adapt through curbside pickup, tech solutions, or other unique offerings?

Remote Work Sticks Around. Remote work is here to stay. More business will announce plans to remain work-from-home indefinitely. The main reason? Employees love the flexibility. How can you promote flexible work and services for employees and customers, at home or on-site?


Want more marketing trends?

Check out SVP Brand Strategy Catrina McAuliffe's review of 2020's top trends.