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Beyond the Virus: 10 Consumer Trends Shaping the Post-COVID World (Pt 2)

15 May 2020

The rate of change has never been this fast and will never be this slow again. It is likely that a decade’s worth of technological advancement, values and behavioural shifts will be compressed into the single year 2020 because of COVID-19.

We see 10 consumer trends emerging and accelerating as a result of the Corona-pandemic and the below is Part 2 in our two part blog series 'Beyond the Virus'. You can read Part 1 of '10 Consumer Trends Shaping the Post-COVID World' here.

Below you will find Consumer Trends 6-10, which we covered in our 2nd Renaissance Webinar, which you can view an on-demand video recording of here.

Kopi av Kopi av 2nd Renaissance (1)

Let us decode some trends that COVID-19 is accelerating...2nd Renaissance Webinar Trends.006-1

A decade’s worth of digital transformation was compressed into a couple of months in 2020. EdTech went exponential with entire school systems and curricula virtualising mid-term. While the Khan Academy and MOOCS have been around for some time, COVID19 led to the large scale deployment of digital education and became the next generation’s version of ‘working from home’. Now, both parents and children are hanging out on Zoom for their learning and development. While there are question-marks around educational outcomes for digital / remote learning, hybrid education models are here to stay, and they will continue to democratise access to world-class mentors and teachers. There is an old saying which states that ‘when the student is ready the master will appear’. All of a sudden, hundreds of millions of students - both adults and children - have had their minds opened to a plethora of online learning and digital mentors.

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The rate of change has never been this fast and will never be this slow again. Pre-COVID19, we were already living in exponential times, and relatively speaking we knew less and less about the world’s information as it mushrooms each day. Within 24 hours we could reach every corner of the world, physically, courtesy of a global aviation network. It seemed quite normal to leave Australia for a holiday in Bali, Sapporo, London, or Buenos Aires. The cost of airline travel was at historical lows and budget travel meant we could dash off to distant corners of the world with ease. While on holidays and immersing ourselves in a new cultural degustation menu, we could jealously glance at our peers via Instagram who were supposedly having an even better time somewhere else. By opening up an app we could connect to loved ones on the other side of the world, teleporting ourselves via fast speed 4/5G. Speed was compressing. Simultaneously, the need for speed and our international interconnectedness is one of the reasons for the global spread of the pandemic, and questions are being asked about whether our ambitions for global nomadism is the right recipe moving forward. Slow food, slow journalism, yoga, meditation, deep work, and mindfulness are all emerging as counter-weights to the hyper-speeds with which ideas, people and products were moving around the planet pre-COVID19.

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To the great dismay of influencers around the globe, Instagram realised that the ‘Like’ obsession was leading to negative mental health outcomes. Social media was becoming anti-social media and leading to social status anxiety, and as such the ‘heart’ count has since been temporarily removed / evolved from public view leading to less public flouting of numbers and an obsession with counting surface level impact of every image, caption or live video. During COVID19 fashion bloggers and lifestyle influencers seemed a little out of touch with the lives of our new heroes and heroines - eg. healthcare and essential workers - whose essence and purpose shone through during gruelling shifts and pure exhaustion. These raw and unedited stories have gained in currency while the shiny veneer of luxury holidays seems ever more tone deaf. Brands and individuals can learn from this in the way they reconnect with their own purpose, vision and mission and how they choose to communicate and execute on their own brand DNA moving forward. Essence will connect more than status. 

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The ‘human touch’ used to be something we valued. During COVID19 it became a vector symbol. Instead contact-less became the most human-centred and empathetic mode of service and product delivery - from drones to medical / nursing robots. This begs the question for every profession and industry around what the norms of service and product delivery will look like ‘beyond COVID’. If you are a nurse what does MedTech delivery and healthcare interaction look like, and if you are leader, how will you lead this future mix of human and artificial resources to deliver the most human-centric experience? Sometimes, not engaging with a potential human vector is the most humane thing we can design into customer journeys. 

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Location, location, location has been the mantra in the real estate industries for decades. Oftentimes that has meant living in the right post code, on the best branded streets, and has connoted access to nature, water, and essential services like airports (while avoiding being under the flight path of course). Now, that we are all getting used to working from home, commuting times, traffic woes, and snagging a seat on the bus or train seem less of a worry which opens us up to being ‘connected on the fringe’. It is no longer about geography, but about connectography. Likelihood is that you will be able to afford more space, including extra rooms like home offices the further from the central business district you go. Work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do, and where you do it has never been less important as long as your output gets delivered on time. We will be stopping to differentiate between ‘present work’ and ‘remote work’, it is just work, and this will break down former geographic limitations on where you might choose to live. As long as there is a good cafe serving great lattes nearby, you’re set, and the old 'tyranny of distance' is gone. 

Over the years I have been working as a trend analyst and futurist for brands like Facebook, Jaguar Land Rover, Apple, McKinsey, Microsoft, Kerastase, MINI, Lego and Mercedes. If you are interested in a custom trend report and virtual debrief for your organisation please let us know below. 

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I hope you enjoyed decoding trends 6-10, if you want to go back and look at the first 5 trends, check out part 1 of "Beyound the Virus: 10 Consumer Trends Shaping the Post-COVID World". 

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