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3 Trends We Can See Emerging From The Coronavirus Crisis

Short Read

As we look ahead towards the easing of lockdown measures and consider how society and businesses will look in a post COVID-19 world, there are three key trends we anticipate will emerge from the crisis.

Acceleration of digital transformation and the adoption of Industry 4.0

In the business world, never has digital maturity been more important. Across many sectors, we’re hearing of the huge impact that organisations’ digital maturity is having on their ability to survive the crisis. Certainly, those who have had the foresight to digitise their brand, products or services are best placed for resilience during these times.

Industries that are already showing a spike in transformation resulting from the crisis include healthcare. Understandably, they are experiencing a marked uptake in digital health solutions as well as growing discussion around the role of a European Health Data Space, particularly in the face of contact tracing and future pandemics.

It seems the crisis is forcing a fast track of digital transformation as other industries follow suit, in a move that is set to positively accelerate the fourth industrial revolution towards adoption of Industry 4.0.

You can find out more about why now is the time to start and continue digital transformation in one of our recent articles.

 

Revolution of consumer expectations

It has been positive to see the creative expression and opportunity that has emerged from the current restraints – we have been enjoying remote exercise classes from our favourite teachers in our living rooms and have found joy in seeing high street fashion models turning their hand to art direction on photo shoots in their homes.

The narrative from our favourite brands has also shifted to inclusivity, building community and collaboration – and to make sure their names remain front of mind when the crisis is over.

Almost half of British consumers in a recent study felt that none of the biggest household brands were doing enough to support people during the crisis, such as donating PPE, money, food, etc. This suggests that it is more relevant than ever to be communicating their efforts with customers, with the narrative taking a notable shift to philanthropy and supporting the community. Giving back no longer puts a brand on a pedestal; it is the minimum consumers expect.

This is particularly relevant for our Gen-Z consumers, who are quick to call out both positive and negative actions on social media, and suggest that brands must respond to the crisis by harnessing their community and supporting employees, without being opportunistic.

With Gen-Z making up 32% of the global population and 40% of all consumers (source: Bloomberg) this is a trend we expect to survive beyond the crisis.

 

Sustainability

As our paces have slowed, and we’ve become home bodied versions of our former selves, we’ve had far more time to consider sustainability, and to think about the choices we make. Cooking from scratch (has anybody not baked a banana bread?), reducing our daily commute to, well, zero for many of us, and really considering whether retail purchases are essential has enlightened many, as has the striking news about the earth’s recovery in the absence of human intervention.

Trend Watching reports that in 2020, consumers will drive demand for Sustainability as a Service – a hybrid between our desire for ultra-convenience and our growing concern for the impact our consumer habits are having on the planet.

There are already Sustainability as a Service offers in the market. We have a fruit & veg delivery service from Oddbox, organisations such as CBRE offering commercial energy and sustainability expertise, plus more familiar services such as Zoom and Google Meet. Although these last two aren’t labelled as Sustainable as a Service, they still offer the benefits, allowing us to communicate remotely which in turn reduces environmental impact.

 

In summary, it’s undoubtedly going to be a turbulent time, but one with huge opportunities for those who are able to be agile in their approach and use this time to invest in future proofing their businesses. Those who digitise now will ensure they can flex in a proactive way in future, and will ultimately be the ones who have the most success. Those who can harness the power of community and truly empathise with users and consumers will create the loudest and most influential fans. And those that are aware of their wider impact, and take steps to address the needs of the world we live in, will cement themselves as leaders in positive social change.

 

References and further reading:

Trend Watching: 10 Trends Post-Covid

Trend Watching: The Future of Purpose

Fast Company

New York Times

Harvard Business Review

Futurist Speaker