Three Consumer Trends for 2021. Nine Ways to Benefit.


The global COVID-19 pandemic was so omni-present that we all cringe every time we hear the words “in these trying times.” Consumers have ongoing concerns about their safety and financial security. 

Meanwhile, civil unrest fueled support for social justice movements supporting racial relations, gender issues, climate change and other hot-button topics.

And of course, the most confrontational US Presidential election in history added tension as our American society literally fought about our economy, our future, and our “new normal.”

At first glance, this makes the marketing field seem more like a minefield. Uncertainty, after all, tends to lead to stasis. When we are surrounded by the clatter and din of conflict, it’s easy to pick “none of the above” when forging a path forward.

And yet. 

This is also a time to lead. A time to recognize opportunity and act on it. A time to remember that many of today’s most-recognized brands were forged in the fires of uncertainty.

  • Disney was incorporated in 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression.
  • Apple saw its greatest growth and transformation in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy when it launched the iPod.
  • Uber launched in 2009, in the midst of the great housing and financial crisis. 

“I was asked what I thought about the recession. I thought about it, and I decided not to take part.”
– Sam Walton

None of them planned the circumstances. But all of them knew that planning for the future would deliver both immediate and long-lasting results. An ample body of research shows that brands investing in marketing during a downturn invariably are able to capture a larger share of their markets because they’re able to generate a larger share of voice. As one old adage in the industry goes: “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.”

And so, our message to you is this: now is the time to act. Now is the time to make a difference for your brand’s future. Now is the time to embrace digital transformation…because it’s happening, whether you embrace it or not.

We’ve identified three seismic shifts in consumer/societal behavior we think will continue to have lasting impacts into 2021 and beyond. If you adjust to those shifts and turn them to your advantage, you’ll be able to act on opportunities that have never existed in our lifetime.

Let’s take a look at these three shifts, what they mean for the future, and how we can help you with some specific strategies and tactics right now.