The New Normal?
Things will never be the same. Or will they?
We are now just about 10 weeks into one of the biggest societal crises of our generation – one that most of us could never have foreseen or even imagined (unless Bill Gates is reading). The world as we know it is in a state of flux and it’s hard to see how things will play out. Will we see a vaccine before 2020 is out? Will there be a second wave? Will life, as we know it ever return to ‘normal’? No one has the answers, and if they say they do – they’re lying.
As we move into the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions and we emerge from a long period of time at home; there is a sense of hope and relief – that the world will carry on and life might resume some semblance of normality. But, after such a sudden enforced change to our existence since March – have we changed the way in which we look at the world? And are we likely to make more permanent changes to how we live as a result of the pandemic (beyond those that are recommended by public health officials)?
As we navigate these unchartered waters and try to understand the impact of Covid 19, we delved a little deeper into these questions and surveyed over 100 people to get their views. Here’s a snapshot of some of the themes that emerged:
1. Home at the heart
Having been forced into spending pretty much all our time at home, the majority of people found that they actually quite like it and are happy to continue to spend more time there. Whether it’s a comfort thing, or simply because socializing as we knew it will remain ‘on hold’ for the moment, our homes look to play a much bigger part in our lives as we emerge from the pandemic, becoming social, exercise and work spaces. As many brands and businesses have already evolved to offer at-home services, people have become accustomed to online interactions and are open to retaining these in future.
2. New ways of working
While a lot of respondents miss the camaraderie of the workplace, there is a definite shift in mindset towards home working – at least some of the time. Of those who are still working and doing so from home, over half said it’s ‘less stressful’ and ‘more flexible’, while others mentioned technology starting to play an even bigger role in their working lives going forward.
3. Local first
The sudden closure of all our favourite brunch and coffee shops hit hard – particularly in urban settings – and it seems that there was a realization that these businesses, along with other local shops like butchers and grocers need to be supported to stay viable. Over 90% of our audience wants to actively support local businesses a lot more – even if it means paying a premium.
“I’m definitely going to support local business a lot more than before. It might mean spending a bit more but I think it’s worth it to keep these places open”.
4. Considered purchases
Maybe it’s because the concept of a fashion season lost all meaning, or because we had nowhere to go; but the way in which we shop for clothing looks set to change. A lot of our audience mentioned shopping smarter, stopping impulse purchases and buying only things they really want or need. Given that sustainability was a key consumer consideration long before Covid 19, this can only be another move towards a world where fast fashion no longer reigns.
“I am thinking more about what I buy and I think I will save up for luxury buys now rather than buying lots of things regularly. It feels more rewarding and less wasteful;”
While people want to shop smarter, they will be doing a lot more of it online. While many of us have been purchasing online for years, it seems that the pandemic has forced more of us to consider online for purchases that they previously might not have. With retail outlets closed for another while, online retailers look set to benefit well into the future as people have adapted to getting their retail fix online.
“I’ve definitely increased my online shopping for clothes and makeup so I think I’ll continue to do more of that after all this because shops have made it much easier to return things”.
6. Waste not
Just under half of our respondents spoke about being less wasteful; of food, of money or of time.
“I hope to be less wasteful in general – of food and my time!! Being at home so much means I’m having every meal here, so I’ve had to be a lot more efficient in planning my grocery shopping and I want to keep doing that”.
7. A new pace
While there is a clear desire for things to start up again, there is a desire for a slower, calmer pace of life. The lockdown has brought about many stresses and fears, but has also re-introduced a more simple way of life.
“I realized that before this, I was completely stressed trying to pack in work, family, friends, gym and “me-time’. I feel a lot calmer now so I want to keep that and not go back to chasing my tail”.
As things slowly start to re-open, it will be interesting to see if these themes are reflective of the wider population, or if people will simply slowly and steadily revert to doing things the way they always did. For us, it presents a hugely challenging, but fascinating consumer landscape that holds as many opportunities as it does hurdles. We’ve embraced today’s new normal, but feel that there will be many more new normals before this pandemic comes to an end. As ever, we’re looking forward to using our creativity to meet whatever comes our way, head on!
Founded over 25 years ago, Dynamo is a brand agency located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. It has expertise in developing effective new product development and beautifully effective new drinks brands.