Consumer movements leaving 2020 behind

The innovation leader Mordecai explores how marketers and consumers alike have pivoted to an ever-changing world.



Shall we agree the terms ‘normal’, ‘pivot’, and ‘ever-changing’ can stay out of use for the rest of the decade? 

We’ve all spent more time at home than anyone ever intended, and with all its complete and total disruption we know two things are true: 2020 has taxed us all and will soon tax us all too. Before we get lost into the inevitable Rishi Sunak bite back from the help out, let’s reminisce on all that was so fleeting in our attempts to pivot to a new, ever-changing, normal in 2020.

Consumer-focused media has shifted. A digital OOH board at Liverpool Street Station has, on occasion, generated less volume than a flyer in the Deliveroo order.

We’ve seen movements overtake moments, and it is there that we can begin to see the evolutions of consumer behaviours. Following the death of George Floyd and increase of Black Lives Matter protests across the globe, So Solid Crew’s Swiss came up with Black Pound Day. We’ve seen the advent of socialist shopping from brands like American Express with its Shop Small Saturday, following Black Friday and, in line with Swiss, BBH NY, Google and the US Black Chambers brought us #BlackOwnedFriday for Black Friday 2020 to spotlight Black Businesses.

We have pivoted as marketers and consumers to this ever-changing world.


Safe at home 

Mindfulness will continue to infiltrate the shopping habits of UK consumers, as the community vibe of free yoga goes the way of Eat Out to Help Out. That will happen when consumers’ neighbours begin relying on the gig economy; those side hustles and odd job Janes will become primary incomes as jobless rates continue to rise, the recent fall of retailers Arcadia and Debenhams adding to the total.

Sharing has lost to caring. The same socialism that fuels the aforementioned shopping trend, turns to selfish capitalism in terms of what consumers are actually buying. Home, once a quiet refuge or place to close the rest of the world out, is now on display. Safe at home is all we’ve had, and consumers are eagle eyed on all they’ve been seeing; themselves, their stuff.

A year that began with fast fashion growing to fast furniture, and the sharing economy still a boom, we now face a time of ownership.  Ownership for investment, for security, and for safety. From an uptick in car sales, and prices, to furniture sales, items that provide a safe place to land for a consumer’s household are booming.  

Building human connection

Contactless has lost connection. Digital retail is here, the roadmaps that began with click and collect have fast tracked to keep sales rolling and satisfy the utility of the shopping. Yet they fail the purpose of the shop. As robots begin delivering takeaways - meet Serve from Postmates coming to a street near you - and we truly just pick up and walk out with our shopping in Amazon Go stores, the future of retail is heading to a redefinition. Now, a change that’s so technologically heavy will have an app for that, but what we cannot automate is connection. If Mind charity and Good Morning Britain’s ‘One Million Minutes’ campaigns haven’t made it clear, we all need human connection. At shops consumers will look to store assistants to be human, experts in their fields, someone to ask for help and have it offered with pleasure. Sales won by customer support not speed.

We’ve watched a lot of plasters being put on consumer culture this year, from virtual events and conferences through to an unhealthy, literally, addiction to takeaways. Offerings that counteract these ‘make dos’ such as smaller gatherings and home cooking will be where consumers move to spend. And, yes, we head towards 2021 with much excitement for an approved vaccine and the sense that ‘normal’ may come back, but we have pivoted as marketers and consumers to this ever-changing world. We have a lot of catching up to somewhere we have yet to know ahead.

Guest Author




An award-winning adwoman and hope-led activist, Mordecai leads Innovation for some of the world’s greatest brands broadening horizons, growing business, and innovating industry. Most recently Head of Innovation + Partnerships at Innocean Worldwide (Hyundai Motor Group), she previously led innovation at OMD USA and for Fortune100/FTSE 150 clients such as Apple, Warner Bros, Pepsi. Mordecai is also an advisor to start-ups, on the US board for Skateistan, a founder of Bluestockings Bookstore (NYC), strategic partner to Lonely Whale, and in the streets activist for racial justice. An active mentor, Mordecai supports teams participating in Cannes Young Lions, 4A's etc. She was recently named a 2020 She Runs It (formerly Advertising Women of New York) Global Change Maker, VentureFuel Visionary for 2019, and 2019 Internationalist Agency Innovator of the Year.