Top 5 Digital Trends for 2021

2020 was a year that not many of us saw coming. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we all changed the way that we live our lives, swapping out gatherings, events, and holidays for a new way of life. Zoom calls with our friends and loved ones became the new norm and time spent on our phones, laptops, and tablets drastically increased as it became our main and only means of communication with the outside world.

Whilst the future does appear to look a little brighter this year, it seems that many of the new evolvements and innovations in digital we’ve seen in 2020 are set to stay and grow further. 

Below are what we predict will be some of the biggest digital trends in 2021:

Greater focus on Baby Boomers

Last year we witnessed a big shift in online spending amongst 55-64 year olds with 70% responding that they had purchased something online within the last month in a study conducted by Hootsuite. 

The root of this shift is largely down to a change in consumer behavior that we have witnessed throughout the pandemic, with buyers needing to adapt their purchasing approach, trading off their favourite high street stores and retailers for an online buying environment. 

So what does this mean for marketers? As we progress into 2021, this age group simply can’t be ignored within developing and implementing a successful digital marketing strategy. Previously it may have been easy to simply overlook baby boomers for their fairly low uptake of online purchasing sites and instead focus on new channels such as TikTok and Snapchat to capitalise on Gen Z and millennial markets.  

Facebook, the platform that baby boomers use most, is widely considered to be the most effective platform for digital marketers most notably for it’s capabilities to segment and define audiences in great detail. Care and attention should be given to not just targeting baby boomers by age but also on their hobbies and passions.

An impressive campaign making use of this opportunity on Facebook was recently launched by Woolworths in Australia, targeting baby boomers amongst their audiences to use an AR filter whereby customers could plant a virtual tree – rewarding customers with points to spend in store for every virtual tree they planted. 

Check out the campaign here –

Shopify Live Streaming 

After a very successful launch in early 2020, many industry professionals are forecasting that Shopify live streaming will really take off as we advance through 2021.

You may be thinking what exactly does Shopify live streaming entail? Already a very popular fixture with markets in Southeast Asia, the new live stream function created by Shopify offers its stores a high energy and sociable way to sell their products at a time where consumers have been restricted to the confines of their homes. The number of brands that have adopted this platform approach has skyrocketed since February 2020 with a 719% month on month increase in take-up by online store holders. 

This new way to connect with consumers has seen businesses fill their Shopify live streams with product presentations, real-time Q+A’s with buyers, and carrying out product launches, one time offers, and giveaways for their customers. 

Whilst it’s uptake in western markets seems to be relatively low in comparison to Asian markets, 2021 is predicted to be the year where we see this new way of online shopping come towards the forefront of our digital buying process. 

Less broadcast TV ads 

The effectiveness of more traditional marketing routes such as television and radio has also been widely stipulated as we head into 2021, with more focus being spent on digital advertising. 

The worth of global television advertising declined from $102.02 billion in 2019 to $96.92 billion as we ended 2020, a reduction of 5% however some forecast a revival over the next 2 years as the television advertising market recovers from the impacts of the pandemic. With all of our favourite shows and films simply a few clicks away on popular and affordable streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to gain successful returns on a higher budget, traditional TV advertising. 

Nevertheless, this has led to an increase focussed on digital advertising across social media, search engines and video advertising with an increased take up of 0.3% in 2020. Digital advertising importantly gives marketers greater control of their spending in this ever-changing landscape, allowing for greater targeting, measurability, and enhanced return on their advertising campaigns. 

Social media to move towards a sales channel

One of the more interesting moves of 2020 was the arrival of Facebook shops on Facebook and Instagram, leaving many of us surprised to see our notifications tab replaced by a new shopping page allowing us to view and purchase projects from a multitude of retailers on its platform. 

This new way of buying products online is giving retailers greater power in segmenting and targeting their audiences, offering products based on social media user demographics and interests. This buying feature has also been shifted heavily towards influencers on platforms such as Snapchat, highlighting a call to action on an influencer’s post on Snapchat. 

Interestingly, this has seen an increased value in micro and nano influencers which companies can utilise to be more specific and detailed within their targeting of online audiences whilst also coming through at a reduced cost. 

As we continue to adapt to changes in our purchasing habits as a result of the pandemic, it seems like social commerce is here to stay in 2021. 50% of social media users aged between 18-34 reported buying a product from a social media platform in 2020 with this age group in particular driving the demand for social media storefronts. Furthermore, TikTok has recently reported a new partnership with Shopify ahead of 2021 which could see companies adapt their visual aesthetic to the platform in order to drive sales to this new audience.

Tik Tok will continue to rise

For a lot of us who have been stuck at home during the multiple lockdowns that this pandemic has thrown at us, we have moments of joy, laughter and, sometimes, confusion watching countless user-submitted videos on TikTok. 

For anyone not familiar with the new platform, it is entirely video-driven encouraging users to create short clips on their phone. Subscribers to TikTok have an array of video editing options on the app such as filters, voice editing tools, and the option to overlay your clips with music or sounds of your choice. 

The platform has provided us with some of the most iconic online moments in 2020 including Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams re-entering charts and going viral after a TikTok user used the song on a video of skateboarding down a highway. In addition to this, Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ was one of the most played songs of 2020, simply down to the fact that it is the feature track on a TikTok dance routine. The power the platform has harnessed in 2020 is unparalleled. 

So what is the outlook of TikTok for 2021? Forecasts predict that take-up of the app will continue to rise to 1.2 billion users by the end of this year. As previously discussed, the use of the platform as an online storefront is likely to become a significant addition to the app in 2021 as well as further features such as ‘Learn Lab’, creating an online environment where users can learn from valuable video tutorials. 

What do you predict will be the biggest online trends this year? Why not head over to our social media channels and let us know.

Written by Louis O’Reilly