As we adapt to our new social-distanced lifestyles, there are many behaviors and attitudes that will carry forward into a post-COVID society – one of these being our relationship with our homes.
We already witnessed growing trends like JOMO and #SlowLiving in 2019. But this year, as the pandemic forced us all to hunker down, there has been newfound appreciation for time spent at home and a more mindful way of life – forcing us to reconsider who we are and what we value.
According to behavioral economics, it often takes an external jolt to change how we behave. When habits are disrupted it can lead us to become more efficient and optimal than we initially were.
In the future of homes as HQs, time chosen to stay home will place a new importance on creativity and productivity-increasing effort to better our immediate surroundings and selves, over mindless entertainment and toxic consumption.
Asia is leading the world when it comes to watching cooking tutorials on YouTube. Four of the top five places searching recipe related videos come from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, and Bangladesh.
Nielsen found that 86% of mainland Chinese customers prefer to eat at home more often now than before the Covid-19 outbreak. In Hong Kong, 77% of consumers surveyed said they want to cook at home more often.
As we grow accustomed to this new homebound socializing, coupled with the economic impact of the pandemic, people won’t be visiting restaurants and bars as regularly as they did before.
People are also trying to instill better everyday health and fitness habits with the extra time lockdown has provided, with sales of sportswear and sports equipment experiencing a huge uplift – most notably training bars, yoga mats, bicycles, and scooters.
Between January to April, Decathlon noted a clear shift from outdoor sports equipment to indoor sports – sales for activities such as cross-training and yoga increased by more than 70%. Searches for dumbbells have also surged on Google Trends as people look to set up lite workout stations while gyms are closed.
While homes may feel like cages during lockdowns, at the same time, we’re discovering how our homes can be much more – think ‘Swiss-army homes’. Lockdowns have given homes a richer role – it’s a place of new discoveries instead of just a hide-out from the chaos of the world.
It often takes an external jolt to change how we behave. When habits are disrupted it can lead us to become more efficient and optimal than we initially were.
Not only are people setting up fitness quarters as mentioned above, but there has also been a hike in searches for home office furniture (chairs and desks) starting from mid-March in Singapore. Ikea notes that interest in home-office-related products picked up in April as compared with the past three months, when consumers were mainly buying items related to sleep and comfort, such as bed frames and mattresses.
Sales of home-gardening and related products also rose by more than 140% in the month of February and March.
Having spent so much time at home, many people already have a long wish-list of things they’d like to improve, be it for comfort, aesthetics, practicality, or entertainment.
Many people are also trying their hand at home-made cocktails and home-cooked party food for the first time, having virtual happy hours with friends, and creating their own living room party experiences – sometimes with the help of LIVE interactive DJ/band sets. (Search volume for Quarantini saw an increase of +52,281% in the last 12 months)
As we grow accustomed to this new homebound socializing, coupled with the economic impact of the pandemic, people won’t be visiting restaurants and bars as regularly as they did before. Many will now likely opt for socializing and entertaining at home with groups of friends – and what better excuse to show off their newfound mixology and culinary skills.
What this Means for Brands
As establishments slowly reopen across the world, many businesses are offering 2-for-1 discounts and extended happy-hours, which will be enough to lure back a crowd of customers starved of social experiences during lockdown. But to contend with the longer-term shifts in behavior and attitudes, brands need to adapt and innovate further – analyzing what culture will look like post-covid and how they can help enhance and bring value to this new lifestyle.
One thing we already know for certain is that we’ve entered a new digital reality. Entire populations were forced into new behaviors overnight – adopting digital services, learning what is possible with new digital tools, and bringing more of the outside world into their homes. All brands, whether endemic to experiences or not, need to rethink how they can connect and add value in this new normal of Home as HQ.
Written by TBWA Singapore