A new sport is being played in the world’s think tanks, prognosticator coveys, and expert forums. It may be called different names, but the game rules are similar regardless of the industry segment or professional discipline. The objective is to elaborate, often in great detail, how the world has profoundly changed and will never be the same because of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. For all of us who have survived the experience of the pandemic, it would be difficult to disagree that every aspect of our lives has been significantly impacted. It is also not surprising that individual impressions and opinions are always a result of personal experiences, causing predictions of future trends to be wildly dispersed across a statistical bell-shaped curve.
Pew Research brought together 915 innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists and asked: “what would life be like in 2025 due to the outbreak of the global 2020 pandemic.” Some 47% of the respondents felt that life would be mostly worse due to the events of 2020, while 39% saw life as being better because of the pandemic experience. As with most things, two nearly equal and opposing propositions likely produce a reality that is somewhere in a credible middle. One topic that the group appeared to agree on is that post-pandemic societies will rely on technology at more excellent rates for just about every aspect of life. The transition to digital communications and the use of technology by consumers increased at a steady and predictable rate before 2020. The pandemic sent the progression of technology acceptance into warp speed.
Like most things at the outset of COVID-19, digital marketing and advertising stalled as marketers assessed the troubled and unpredictable landscape but soon recovered when credible trends in consumer behavior emerged. As more than 6 million households in America turned away from cable television and toward streaming services for home entertainment during the pandemic, television advertising reached its lowest level in the decade. Sequestered by mandates, consumers spent $791 million on eCommerce platforms, increasing more than 32% over the previous year.
Digital advertising giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon garnered most ad-buying last year, a trend that is not predicted to reverse anytime soon. The famous mantra has changed and will never be the same because the pandemic rings true. However, all things are never the same after any unprecedented, historical event. The only true absolute is change. So why all the hand-wringing?
The consumer economy will continue to innovate as buyer behaviors evolve and change over time. The immediacy of response, escalated during the pandemic, to consumers’ demands will continue to require marketers to be agile and responsive to an increasingly dynamic marketplace that may defy the “there are no going back” predictions. The unknowns in the year of the pandemic taught all of us the importance of the art of trial and error. For those who have built careers around consumerism, the unpredictability and motivations of consumers can often baffle even the most experienced marketers. Consumers can usually be counted on not to do what they are expected.
The premise that the sky has fallen and therefore all things in the world will forever be worse, or that the events of 2020 will make us all realize a more utopian future, may both be silly arguments. As the fog of 2020 continues to lift, people will emerge from the smog of the experience. Some will return to a traditional workplace, and others may find a new virtual workplace in the future. Ecommerce and traditional brick and mortar retailing will continue to evolve to meet the expectations of a savvy, diverse and dynamic consumer. The technology revolution will advance and invent many new and impactful variants upon society, to which we all will respond in our own way. Yes, things will be different, so what?
At Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), we are familiar with change and a formidable foe to challenge. Our strategy experts can assist with some of your most critical business challenges and tailor specific solutions to create successful outcomes. For more information, call 678-686-1125 today.