Anne Zahan, strategy director, Core, examines some of the key trends to emerge in the group’s latest Predict 2022 research, some of which could have profound implications for society as we emerge from pandemic-induced lockdowns.
With Predict 2022 we wanted to look at how various predictions we’ve had during the pandemic have translated to reality. Rather than being a trend report, we want to talk about human behaviour throughout the pandemic and what behaviours are likely to stick in a post-pandemic world. For instance, 2 out of 5 people are very interested in considering a new life direction, and nearly half (48%) of those aged under 45 years old, say they are considering a new life direction.
I’m sure this statistic rings true for many people. When life halts unexpectedly, you’re left evaluating all the choices you’ve made and are still making – and very often – it’s left us questioning our decisions. I’ve done it, my friends have done it, and it seems like much of Ireland is doing it. I’ve celebrated many friends leave their current job and go into fields like teaching, HR, and even starting their own companies. However, considering a new life direction is not entirely about a new career, as many are also considering where they are living, with Dubliners most likely to consider a change.
In terms of implications for brands and businesses, big life events make you want to try new brands. Jenny Riddell and Richard Shotton, for example, conducted a study in 2016 where they found that people were more likely to try new brands following life events. If you are a challenger brand, or an emerging brand, now is a good time to get your brand in front of people. If you are an established brand, it’s important that your brand positioning is structured around a new set of wants and needs.
Another key takeaway from the report looks at health management and how behaviours that were previously niche like getting medical advice on the phone or through online consultation, are now mainstream, with 1.4m people expecting to avail. Along this same vein, mental health has received an increase in attention with 37% of adults saying they are very conscious of their mental well-being, and a further 49% saying they are somewhat conscious.
A watch out for brands here is to beware of the ‘purpose’ trap. Culture is reacting to brands that are seen as insincerely hopping on the bandwagon of certain causes. Instead of taking a worthy approach to mental health, brands can try to indirectly promote it by introducing some levity into the brand. Joy, humour, and entertainment are all a way of encouraging positive mental health without outwardly and obviously aligning yourself with the cause. Have a bit of craic!
We also looked at socialising from both a digital and a real-life perspective. 77% of the population are planning to spend time by themselves and enjoy their own company. The rolling lockdowns have made us look at our alone time in a new way. Instead of being the time in-between us getting to see other people, or the time we need to decompress from social situations, it has become time we genuinely enjoy. However, as social animals, we do still look forward to re-connecting with others, with 76% of people telling us they will socialise with people face to face, with only 39% of people saying they will do so with virtual platforms like Zoom. Can we blame them?
Along with health management and digital & social life, we also look at the motivations behind travel and experiences, and the need for retail to adapt to an ever-changing consumer journey. This report is a culmination of two years of studying the public during a pandemic and will guide you towards the near future. Read and download it now to learn more and get in touch if you’d like to explore the themes further.
To download a copy of Predict 2022 click HERE