An Englishman’s house is his castle.
Never has the saying be proven so true that during the COVID pandemic where staying-in became de facto, the new going-out. Confinement has created new consumer habits which could outlast the virus. What it means for consumer brands remain to be seen but many are already catering to the new normal, emphasizing comfort, wellness, reassurance and a me-centered, gentle homeliness above the “confidence to be your best” mantra that so pervaded many categories when we could still go out to compete for promotions.
Empowering cosmetic brands have seen a marked decreased in sales while fragrances for home, body or both, formulated to alleviate stress are on the rise. French fragrance house Diptyque launched a multi-functional product that can work on your body but also your clothes, linen or be used as a room spray. A house that smells relaxing does not encourage us to dress-up for these dreaded Zoom calls. When is the last time you wore a suit or even a pair of jeans? Consumers now favour minimalist designs, comfort and natural fabrics like cotton or linen in snuggly t-shirts or stretchy, baggy trousers we could virtually do our yoga-app class in. In fact, loungewear saw an amazing 433% rise in consumer demand year-on-year.
As it turned out, working from home is not as fun as we fantasized. Long hours hunched in front of a laptop, combined with the feeling that we need to over-compensate for our lack of physical presence by being always-on is indeed very stressful. And we curve that surge of stress with comfort food. While that quinoa salad felt good during a lunch break between power meetings with colleagues, when forcibly sitting at the family dining table, we crave for Mac & Cheese. Sales of canned food and snacks got a bumper during the pandemic. Would it swing the pendulum back to pleasure when it comes to food once that salad bar reopens?
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated many of our habits towards digital channels and this is not likely to slow down or disappear. Likewise, the scars from the pandemic, and the new consumer values that came with it will not fade away quickly.
At Flying Fish Lab, we believe that while the pandemic shone a light on the wrongs and ills of our society, it gave us the opportunity to change it for the better. What are you prepared to stop, change or add to help people go through what looks like a tectonic shift in behaviours and mindset?