Recapping 2020's Top Trends

With hindsight, our 2020 vision could’ve been better, but we did get some things right. In many ways, no one could have predicted 2020. And yet there are a few trends that turned out even bigger than anticipated.

We’ve taken time to reflect on both our expectations and the reality of the past year—and surprised ourselves with how accurate some of our predictions actually were.


The Good Old Days

By the end of 2019, it was clear nostalgia was arriving in full force. From acid wash jeans to the popularity of 90s sitcoms, we saw the good old days take center stage in multiple categories and industries. But what we couldn’t have known was how the global pandemic would exaggerate this trend. In an uncertain present, there’s nothing like the comfort and familiarity of the well-known past.

For brands looking to their future, this means seeking commonality between your brand’s history and your customer’s experience. Find opportunities to provide reassurance by sharing reminders of happier times. Remember though, the best uses of nostalgia also place a new twist on old ideas to keep messaging and products relevant and authentic.


Tech-Driven Business Models

A year ago, tech-driven business models were a key component of the fastest growing companies in the country. Today, they’re a must-have for countless businesses adapting to our rapidly changing world. Technology is booming as more companies pivot to tech solutions for everything from meetings to payroll. Just ask the countless retailers shifting their sales from in-store to online. The pandemic reportedly accelerated the shift to digital customer and supply-chain interactions by three to four years!

Even more importantly, these changes are expected to stick around post-pandemic. Our advice? Don’t be afraid to try a technology enabled approach and change up how you’ve always done things. We’re living in a different world than we were a year ago and it’s important to adjust accordingly.



By the end of 2018, 66% of Americans reported they spent time gaming. Today, that number’s closer to 75%, having skyrocketed this spring while we all stayed in our homes. New players include people of all ages who were drawn to gaming as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. And many established players reported purchasing a new gaming device specifically because of COVID. Average time spent gaming by individual players also increased dramatically.

Because gamers today represent a diverse group with serious buying power, brands are thinking more about ways they can get in the game. That could mean advertising in a game or simply crafting current ads to acknowledge the gamification of the world we live in.


Rise of the Remote Worker

We saw this coming—and we so didn’t. Remote everything grew significantly more popular over the past few years, but 2020’s pandemic accelerated this trend by forcing us to work from our living rooms, kitchens and back yards whether we wanted to or not.

The surprising twist? Many companies are now embracing this model after employees reported increased flexibility, work-life balance and productivity while working from home. If you’re one of these companies, it’s now essential you support your employees during this transition. If not, you should still be prepared for a Zoom call instead of an in-person meeting.

Check out our full list of 2020 trend predictions to see how the rest of our forecasts measured up.


Want more marketing trends?

Read our predictions for 2021, from SVP Brand Strategy Catrina McAuliffe.