2020 was a monumental year. You have heard this before, and it has become a buzzword for a reason, but we all live in a 'new normal', with our day-to-day lives forever changed (well at least for the foreseeable future).
Spanning borders, the pandemic has created everyday experiences that have touched us all. According to Facebook IQ, people are prioritising what matters most, be it community or time spent outdoors. They're caring for themselves and each other more intentionally and getting crafty with limited resources. Digital media help people connect in new ways, accelerating the adoption of technologies in new markets.
Many of these trends may provoke fundamental shifts as people discover new and more authentic ways of being. Let’s explore the global trends of the ‘new normal’ on Facebook and Instagram.
1. Beyond the Textbook
Awareness around the benefits of distance or e-learning had been growing even before 2020 – but the pandemic accelerated its adoption from something obscure to everyday reality.
With in-person education interrupted, major institutions are supporting the effort to bring more education online. Teachers are looking beyond the textbook to find new ways to focus students' full attention through remote learning.
E-books, streaming videos, chat rooms and other multimedia resources are fuelling distance learning, and some educators are even podcasting to distribute the Q&A sections of their lectures.
Meanwhile, microlearning – the use of small bites of digital content – is taking off with corporate educators looking to connect with Gen Z workers who are used to short-form media. As educators refine methods to keep students engaged from afar, they're fundamentally changing the shape of learning.
2. Casual Culture
People have worked to present polished versions of themselves for ages, putting on an outfit and a smile to head into the office, an appointment, and even to the shop. With in-person meetings mostly on hold and the video screen providing a virtual window into peoples’ home lives, users prioritise authenticity over appearance, even if that means being vulnerable.
For example, instead of venturing out for hair care and manicure appointments, people learned to do their own grooming (46% of US consumers say they have done some sort of at-home grooming) or forego it, growing out beards and grey hair.
This more authentic presentation extends to communication: with people worldwide facing challenges and changes simultaneously, many are letting colleagues into their lives through the video chat screen and being open about their needs and challenges.
These small shifts are instilling self-compassion and empathy for others, clearing the way to forge more authentic connections over time.
3. Hybrid Shopping
According to Facebook IQ, between March and April 2020, e-commerce spending increased 29% month on month as people sought out necessities online. Nearly half of online shoppers reported using at least one new digital shopping platform for the first time between July and August 2020.
Amongst new shopping trends taking off are subscription boxes, which supply people with new selections of drinks and snacks, beauty products and vitamins each month.
In a time when people's schedules and surroundings are otherwise predictable, unboxing these deliveries provides some much-needed wonder. Users are taking care to select online retailers who can serve their regions efficiently. Many prefer click-and-collect programmes, which enable shoppers to pre-order and pick up their purchases at a local shop. Out of necessity, users are quickly forging a hybrid shopping experience that fits their needs online and offline.
4. Personalising Fashion
With fewer reasons to dress up and more time spent in old favourites, people are distancing themselves from trend cycles, opting instead for fun items that they can play a hand in crafting themselves.
Projects such as tie-dye and handmade jewellery have exploded in popularity as people look to get their creative juices flowing at home. Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers have completed a craft or DIY project during 2020. Even high-fashion outlets are publishing tie-dye tutorials to help people jump on the trend.
Not only does this kind of crafting help people forge more personal connections to the things they wear, but it also improves their relationship with the Earth. Keeping garments for the long term is the best way to ensure sustainable fashion, and crafting provides an opportunity for people to upcycle materials they already have. This more personalised, Earth-friendly dynamic could disrupt cycles of consumption for the long term.