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The lockdown has had a profound effect on how people live, as the world continues its gradual pivot from handling the COVID-19 crisis to recovery and the reopening of economies. For years to come, the time of contagion, self-isolation, and economic instability will change consumers shifts, in certain cases.

To supercharge your way into 2021, now more than ever it’s important to have your finger on the pulse with what your consumers are seeking and expecting from your business.

For any consumer-facing company, these rapid shifts have important implications. Since longer-term changes are being implemented, businesses have a timely opportunity to develop the new standard.


Here are 3 emerging trends for the 2021 Customer:

1. Increased emphasis on health and safety

During the lockdown, public health and speculation regarding the duration of the pandemic were the primary customer concerns, with 68 per cent stating they were very or highly concerned. Self-care has expanded the priority list for most customers. Here too, new technology plays a greater role as the use of e-pharmacy and e-medicine accelerates.

Consumers are not only buying more health-related items, such as hand sanitizers and immunity boosters, however they are more likely to purchase products from a brand they feel strongly aligns with health to reduce unnecessary risk.

The recent Consumer Index Study by Ernst & Young reveals that 26% of consumers surveyed preferred brands and products they trust with 57% stating they pay more attention to how safe are the goods they purchase.

Action tip – Communicate how you value the health and safety of your workers and customers. Instead of sugar coating your messaging showcase clearly, “this is what we’re doing.”

2. A more data driven consumer

Consumers are more secure sharing their data if they are confident it will be used responsibly. Ernst & Young estimates 53% of customers are willing for their personal data to be accessible if it helps to control and track a cluster of infections. This pattern is lending itself to business opportunities and developing openness between the company and their customer.

This presents an opportunity for companies to get to know their customers at a more in-depth level enabling to tailor deals, promotions, and experiences more relevant to the consumer.

Action tip – As a business leader, you own the customer relationship and therefore your duty to protect personal details and not take advantage of the customer’s trust. The information should only be applied to build a more personal and effective customer experience.

3. Customers want transparent businesses

Customers trust honest businesses. Indeed, one study found that 86 % of customers want brands that reflect honesty. In the age of “fake news” and pervasive disinformation, consumers simply want to know the truth. They don’t want to read between the lines when they’re browsing a product or service. We expect more businesses to use digital media to express their commitment to accountability.

Action tip – This can be achieved by:

  • Creating partnerships with social media clients.
  • To be polite and kind to customers and to engage in genuine conversations.
  • Proudly convey their privacy and data security policies.
  • Quickly admitting errors and keeping promises to fix them.
  • Be open about pricing and other aspects of the customer journey.


While the particulars of the “next normal” are still vague, this outlines measures companies can adopt in the interim. Since many of the longer-term improvements are ongoing, businesses have the potential, if they act now to shape a positive future.

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