The Top Five 2021 Market Trends

I have delayed issuing the Trendcast for 2021 and it’s been intentional.

The past year, 2020 was the most volatile year I have lived through and the most volatile year the marketplace has experienced.

Some of the factors being real and others authored to jolt the marketplace.

Whether the fear of COVID-19, the mandated lock-downs, the reorganization of workforce teams, the reinvention of the home, the shortage of everything from grocery items to real estate, a financial marketplace roller coaster ride, the evolution of family dynamics, the adaption of technology, an election that has sliced the U.S. in half, the failure of the press to third-party report…

Should I continue?

As hard as many believe, there are some interesting market changes taking place. But to understand their full impact, you have to shovel aside all the surface volatility to understand the long-term trends evolving below.

Even with the restrictions of the Pandemic, I have stayed active and engaged with the public.

I have conducted roundtable chat groups using Zoom. I have tapped in the visual perspective of social media to dig on an anthropological level into consumer home environments. I have talked to people with masks on and watch facial expressions and body movements to understand more of the context of the stories told.

The Top 5 most significant market trends that will surface as key drivers in this next year follow.

#1 — The Millennials impact on the marketplace will not just continue… but will magnify in impact.

One out-of-every four Americans is a Millennial. In this calendar year, the leading edge of Millennials will be celebrating their 42nd birthday. They are the largest generation to ever exist in our U.S. society and marketplace.

Going into last year, 2020, it was estimated that just below 40% of Millennials were married. Today, multiple sources report that nearly 50% of Millennials are now married. The same sources forecast that by the end of this year, 2021, the percentage will grow to as high as 60%.

There are currently more married Millennials than GenXers.

Despite a limited inventory of available housing for sale, a major share of Millennials capitalized on the record low interest rates and and purchased a home, condo or loft in the last year.

Today, more than 45% of Millennial households own their homes.

While the homeownership rate is below that of GenXers and Boomers, the rate of new homeownership is growing among Millennials faster than any other generational group.

There have been lots of past articles citing Millennials postponing having kids, but the Pandemic changed that thinking.

While approximately 35% of Millennials are parents, the percentage of first-time babies is exploding at a pace that some have labeled as the next Baby Boom. As the Pandemic has locked down households, making babies has replaced interaction with a smart phone as the number one activity event among coupled Millennials.

Chances are your boss is a Millennial.

More than 60% of Millennials are now serving in management roles in their career and jobs. And the staff that they manage comprises GenXers and Baby Boomers too… not just other Millennials.

Nearly 35% of elected officials at the local, State and National level in the U.S. are Millennials. More than 50% of law enforcement are Millennials.

And the charm of living intown among Millennials has soured.

In a Nielsen poll, only 1 out-of-every 10 Millennials want to continue to live in an urban neighborhood with more than half of Millennials seeking a home located in the suburbs or nearby satellite towns.

In fact, there is another 20% of Millennials seeking a home-pad located in rural and small hamlets.

An article in the Wall Street Journal reported a surge in Millennials leaving the once hot intown neighborhoods for the small towns where they can actually afford a home, send their kids to good schools and frequent actual, real “hometown” restaurants and retailers vs. the stage options that overtook the city.

As one local resident in a community outside of New York City said, “the young people moving up here and sinking down their roots is a flood like we’ve never before seen before.”

#2 — Families will overtake the limelight of the marketplace

A third of U.S. households include kids age 18 or less. That percentage is projected to increase by 2 percentage points over the course of 2021 as more Millennials commune and more babies are made.

The shelter pubs and networks like HGTV showcase housing with all the family features including the return of the family rooms. Housing above the Mason-Dixie line all have new space carved out next to the back door for the kids to hang their backpacks and store their boots.

Not only will restaurants re-open post-COVID in 2021, but many that never had family hours or family meal deals will re-surface with efforts to snag the emerging family marketplace.

Baby-sitting services and tutorial products are filling the airwaves and digital screens. And family suburban developments are launching co-managed one-room home-schooling space.

With the Super Bowl now a week away, some of the new ads are premiering and nearly every one I have seen — whether its automotive, high tech, consumer package goods or home furniture and accessories… all feature families with kids.

In 2021, don’t be surprise to see…

(1) A new hybrid onsite and online version of Toys R Us

(2) Millennial hotel brands community space remodeled as family gathering and gaming rooms

(3) Hotels featuring family suites with kids’ enclaves

(4) The return of the retro-station-wagons and RVs

(5) The return of communal family gardening space

#3 — The need for connectivity will evolve beyond social media

One of the major trends surfacing as a result of the 2020 lock-downs is the increased need for individuals to connect with others beyond the walls of their home front.

Yes… social media is one of the means of contact, but social media in and of itself does not provide actual bonding with others.

Individuals across all age spans became dependent not just on technology operationally, but further dependent upon technology in its linear course of logic, implementation and assurance of rational task execution.

As many readers know, EXPERIENCE employs a foundation base of neighborhood lifestyle groups in segmentation modeling.

Connectivity with others… with a sense of purpose… with a sense of call… with a spirit of pursuit… will magnify in 2021.

Right now the press is so fixated on political and cause connectivity, that the press is ignoring other connectivity right in front of its face.

For one of the EXPERIENCE clients, we are currently taking the “Avon” model of the past and bringing it into the 2021 drive to connect and foster a common sense of cause and alliance.

EXPERIENCE worked extensively in 2020 with local Feeding America food banks in elevating financial donations to actual connection and bonding with others in addressing the needs of their neighbors.

As much as the end results of combatting hunger is a payout, the emotional bonding and peer reinforcement is much more sought.

While politicians can effectively craft campaign strategy in 2021 through connectivity channels, politics right now is addicted to defensive, vindictive and opposition destruction than on true sense of connecting and bonding strategy.

In 2021, there is tremendous opportunity for local organizations and political leadership to engage the unmet need of individuals to see changes take place as Washington continues to engage in internal battles between the parties.

#4 — A rise in co-authorship

Someone told me in a roundtable discussion that brand customization and signatures of personalization were ignited with the ability to customize computer screen-savers and background wallpaper.

Perhaps there is some truth to that hypothesis.

Ignited by Millennials and their driving need to participate in crafting their brand experiences, other groups are beginning to step forward demanding similar participation.

Some say it’s all about whether the glass is half empty or half full.

New housing doesn’t require rehabbing, but there is a much higher cost to access a new housing option.

More of the the housing that is up for sale right now is housing that was built in the 1970s through even the early 2000s. Millennials have translated the need to renovate into a “half-full glass of milk” of personalization and conversion of the house into their own definition of home.

Millennials are already seeking a similar role in the process of educating their kids… even with pre-school age kids!

With the lock-downs, kids stayed home and interacted with teachers online. Then with teacher unions resisting return-to-classroom, many Millennial parents took on the challenge. Millennial moms networked together with like Millennial moms across and down the street.

Garages and basements are being converted over into pseudo-one room school houses.

According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, home schooling represented 3% of all schooling in 2016 to more than 8% of all schooling in 2019.

While more than 50% of school-aged kids today remain in an at-home hybrid teaching option vs. in-classroom option, the percentage of parents finally saying enough is enough and taking over the full schooling of their child could rise to more than 15% by Fall of 2021.

In 2021, not only will Millennials be demanding a similar role in other aspects of their brand engagement, but other market groups will be doing the same.

Here are some areas where this trend is projected to explode in 2021…

(1) Insurance companies allowing consumers to customize their coverage plans

(2) Ability to personally craft customized micro-brews

(3) Personalizing prepared frozen meals

(4) Personalizing the destinations of cruise line experiences

(5) Bypassing auto dealerships and directly customizing cars

#5 — The integration of active health and wellness engagement into daily lifestyles

It was not that long ago when the daily engagement in health and wellness occurred nearly exclusively with individuals age 65+.

Yes… Millennials did hit the gyms and yes the Millennials did seek out organic foods, but the reasoning and rationale as to why was seldom because of any true purpose driven by health issues.

In 2021, the integration of active health and wellness engagement into dally lives will transcend beyond the aging Boomers and Mature generations.

In just 2020, the number of health and wellness apps doubled from just under 22,000 apps in 2019 to more than 47,000 apps at the end of 2020.

And a combination of Millennials and GenXers — the age 25–54 age group — are using the apps more than double the level of Boomer and Matures age 55+.

The number of health and wellness apps is project to increase ten-fold… nearly doubling each year… over the next five years through 2026.

The most popular apps in terms of use are the ones fashioned around…

(1) Diet and nutrition

(2) Weight loss

(3) Sleep cycles

(4) Pregnancy

(5) Health condition monitoring apps

(6) Stress reduction

(7) Cardiac and fitness

(8) Clinical and diagnostic apps

Multiple healthcare sources are projecting record levels of individuals setting up active engagement with a primary care physician and Millennials are securing pediatricians ahead of even getting pregnant!

Multiple alcohol brands have shifted away from brews and integrated in all natural, organic water.

House and home brands … including home accessory and furniture brands … will premier new core structures and fabrics that are cleaner and healthier to use in the home.

Watch how the sense of wellness and pro-active health management will evolve in 2021 to a higher perception level of purity… even a return of virginity!

Get ready for 2021 to be a year of major refocus and change as individuals finally re-emerge from the home front and re-engage in the full scope of the brand experience!

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.