A year of disruptions, fear, and hope has shifted the mindsets of consumers in many ways. As we emerge from the pandemic, we see newly adopted behaviors and attitudes that will stick in the new normal. It’s more important than ever for companies to plan ahead and adapt to a new wave of digitally engaged, hyper-resourceful, and ethically driven consumers.

Here are six trends we see that will be adopted post-pandemic.

Gaming as a social activity

The pandemic has accelerated the consumer gaming industry and is expected to reach a value of $198 billion by 2024. The pandemic has changed the way we see gaming, and it’s no longer a solo pastime. Gaming has become a platform for how we interact with friends and meet new people.

Games like Among Us, Call of Duty, and even chess became new ways for many consumers to catch up with friends. The social aspects of these games, such as talking to each other in the game, outweighed the gameplay.

With gaming steadily growing in popularity, it has also spilled into the entertainment space, with Gen Zs preferring to watch gameinfluencers livestream than an NFL or baseball match. Gaming is now intersecting with cultural touchpoints such as music, fashion, and creativity.

Digital convenience will be key

Consumers will continue to demand the convenience experienced during the pandemic, mainly contactless services, curbside shopping, and telehealth. Brand success will come from the continuous efforts to digitize the business and make consumer experiences more seamless.

Digital isn’t just one aspect of the consumer journey but is intertwined with different touchpoints across channels, platforms, and moments. The pandemic has illustrated the increasingly considered elements of an omnichannel approach to planning.

Homes reimagined

What was once a place for rest and sleep is now also an office, gym, restaurant, and school. The prioritization of at-home experiences is driving innovation in technology, products, and even architecture that create a sense of comfort, balance, and stability.

Work-related stress is carrying over into interior spaces, and more consumers are looking for ways to add warmth and security into their homes to create areas that are sanctuaries.

With many companies now adopting remote work options, living spaces are now evolving to become more communal, flexible, open, and productive.

Social eCommerce

Influencers have always used Instagram to curate a lifestyle using products and brands, so it’s only natural for the social channel to explore live commerce features that go beyond just promoted posts.

Live commerce has been popular in Asian markets for several years, particularly in China. It’s now gaining momentum in the US as consumers feel more comfortable purchasing products online and crave the interaction often experienced in a physical store.

These livestreams aren’t your typical infomercials. Instead, they are crafted shopping experiences that are tailored to engage with consumers. Viewers can ask questions, show their appreciation, and purchase straight from the stream, something a static social video or a brick-and-mortar retail simply can’t do.

Supporting local businesses

According to IBM, the pandemic has accelerated eCommerce by five years. One of the biggest winners of this shift has been Amazon, where sales increased by 40% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019.

Nevertheless, there’s been a growing consumer backlash to big eCommerce brands like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Their dominance in the online retail space during the pandemic has squeezed out many mom-and-pop retail stores. Consumers are banding together to support small businesses and in turn, support local communities.

Seeing the devastation of local retailers, more prominent brands are now finding ways to partner with local retailers. Tech companies like Shopify, Google, and Facebook are finding better solutions to accommodate small businesses in the online retail space.

A focus on wellness

The pandemic gave consumers the much-needed pause to reevaluate their wellness choices. Consumers are purchasing more fresh vegetables and fruit, vitamins, and even drinking more orange juice. They’re also more engaged in activities such as hiking and outdoor strolls that were taken for granted pre-pandemic—and taking advantage of at-home workouts.

As life picks up again, consumers want to continue their wellness path and look for immersive and enhanced technologies to optimize their self-care routine.