The Forgotten Trends of 2020
We have made it! It’s finally 2021 and there hasn’t been another time the world seemed this ready to usher in the new year. Looking at it from a positive perspective, 2020 was a year of self- reflection; a year that took us by surprise, it nevertheless made us realise that even in our worst times, we can come together despite restrictions. If that was not enough, we took to social media to cope with social distancing – from building a small creative business on Instagram to renegading on TikTok – no judgement here.
If you’ve spent half of your quarantine days last year mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, you might have caught a few trends such as ‘quarantine baking’ or obsessing over Harry Styles at his Vogue photoshoot (or your very own Vogue photoshoot challenge). Inarguably, we’ve gorged on some crazy trends over the past few months; who knew we’d be bringing back banana bread?
On the contrary, a lot of us have not caught on to a handful of trends from 2020 that may ‘go big or go home’ in 2021. Most of these include brands that have taken a more human approach or businesses and social media influencers who believe in meaningful connections. Shared below are a list of trends most of us missed out on in 2020.
Ergonomic WFH Desks
Volatile times that called for lockdown and the advent of the work-from-home practice among workplaces proved that businesses showed consistent support and flexibility towards its workforce. At first, many found it strenuous to work productively at home, but eventually we adapted to this transition.
Last year, we unknowingly witnessed the growth of personalised ergonomic workspaces arranged by the ones stuck at home. While some turned to working on their couch-friendly and foldable computer desks, many found comfort in dressing up and attending classes on their color themed desk set-ups, right across their bed. Some preferred clean, neat multi-functional and sit-stand desks or travelled to quiet public spaces with barriers to pump up their productivity levels.
As anxiety levels shot up after the pandemic was announced, house plants saw a tremendous increase in popularity. In a way, the world found peace by connecting with nature in its own little ways. Undeniably, flowerpots and macrame plant hangers served as avant-garde (experimental) and minimalistic decor. However, it also reworked one’s routine especially for urbanites that are surviving the not-so-new normal, all alone.
Besides indoor gardens, the COVID-19 pandemic also piqued an interest in vertical farming which includes crops that are grown indoors with controlled temperatures. Growing greens at home to circumvent food wastage was another eco-trend amid 2020.
Pearl-beaded or silk-laced masks — free time during quarantine unlocked prime creativity among most of us. The use of ready-made reusable fabric face masks was and still is an encouraged trend.
Multiple enterprises including Dunkin Donuts and Adidas took this as an opportunity and undertook manufacturing branded masks. Brands such as Disney decided to design masks catered to kids with popular animated characters. Designers such as Christian Siriano and his team saw a chance to create a sleek diamond-studded mask collection. Local startups have identified the need for clear or reusable masks with plastic windows for the deaf and speech impaired.
Ever asked a filter about what your future is going to look like or perhaps what your next order from McDonald’s should be? We have moved way past BuzzFeed’s personality quizzes. It is no surprise that AR technology such as Instagram Story Quiz filterswere a great way to pass time during the second quarter of 2020.
AR strategies such as ‘try before you buy’ experiences were used by brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton as well as IKEA for furniture placements in 2020. In-store AR games taken on by Burberry also proved to be engaging and effective.
A year of customisation
Last year’s iOS home screen updates are the epitome of personalised offerings. Surely, technology has consistently proved its flexibility, but who knew Oreo and M&M’s would cave into this trend? While custom-made products may refer to colours and designs, they also cover inclusivity. American singer, Pharrel Williams, quite recently launched his unisex skincare brand called Humanrace to normalise having a routine regardless of one’s race or gender.
Start-ups and businesses that emerged because of quarantine blues also tuned into the ‘optimum-customisation’ trend in 2020. This should come as a shocker because small businesses have always been about that personal touch.
Local eats over fast-food treats
Sidelining the humdrum fast-food chains like McDonald’s, many currently prefer eating local and supporting start-ups that were broadly impacted during the early months of the pandemic. A great example is the extensive publicity that has been given to cafes like Amongst Few and Madness in Jumeirah, Dubai.
Moreover, a KFC bucket no longer appeals to a market that has been introduced to ‘Instagrammable’ food. An eatery is not limited to food but a wholesome experience – the standard is very high. You’re in the right place if you’re surrounded with neon signs, good lighting (for the gram) and unique plating.
Pack an order with me
No, TikTok is not just a dancing app. Helpful in many ways, the platform is a great way for small businesses to get started. From calming #packanorderwithme videos to fun and relatable story time clips, small business owners get quite the exposure, sometimes overnight.
Most of these businesses deal with products such as hand-crafted jewelry, resin art, dessert boxes, organic cosmetics and more. Posting TikToks has allowed small start-up owners to engage with their customers and for viewers to get a look at the efforts put into every order.
F&B trends in 2020 saw an exponential rise in the purchase of planned meal kits. Companies such as Hello Chef saw higher profits as food and drink outlets had to close during the initial days of the lockdown. Popular eateries in Dubai such as Salt, came up with a creative, yet safe solution through its burger kits.
Smaller businesses on social media shoot their shot with this trend, successfully bringing options to food lovers. Hot chocolate and fondue DIY boxes as well as mini charcuterie and cheese platters are now a common sighting on Instagram.
One would be living under a rock if they have not heard about Travis Scott’s collaboration with McDonald’s for the Cactus Jack burger. If that sounded questionable, wait till you hear about American rapper, Tyler the Creator’s team-up with ice cream chain, Jeni’s for a new flavor.
Did you know that you can now find a Bob Ross-themed Monopoly board in stores? If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, let Harry Styles’ dreamy Sleep Story on the Calm app drift you away through the starry night. Creativity has truly seen its peaks in 2020.
Digital campaigns for good
Last year consisted of numerous individual hardships – many lost their loved ones, some suffered the loss of their jobs, and an umpteen number of people battled the virus. Even then, we managed to make the best of it. Various brands appreciated the National Health Service providers through digital campaigns such as Mattel’s #PlayItForward campaign or Dove’s Courage is Beautiful campaign.
Gamers found novel ways to organise Black Lives Matter protests on Animal Crossing and The Sims to show their support for the black community. ITV’s campaign ‘Britain Get Talking’ was particularly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its message about the importance of mental health.
The year 2020 was a tough ride but with these trends slowly turning into a lifestyle, wouldn’t one say that the dark days seemed less…dark? Now that we’re bulletproof, let’s dive into 2021 and be open to more opportunities. What trends are you looking forward to, this year?