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After sheltering in place for over a year, many of us feel we deserve to celebrate in the spirit of Megan Thee Stallion's sunny day anthem, "Hot Girl Summer" (for the unacquainted: a viral trend and theme for summer 2019). The result? “The New Roaring Twenties” à la a vaccinated “Shot Girl Summer” — in other words, widespread consumer changes thanks to the massive widespread anticipation for a post-COVID summer 2021.
With Americans' excitement running high and widespread reopenings in sight, industries that saw huge pandemic-related drops in 2020 are finally starting to bounce back in significant ways:
As the literary critic Malcolm Cowley once described the Roaring Twenties, the summer of 2021 offers an opportunity to “live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love.” But before you bust out hors d'oeuvres and a flapper costume, remember this: Gin and love may make a tasty drink, but planning and strategy are what will make this summer a raging success.
Here’s everything you need to know about how different industries can prepare to make up for lost time.
After the 1918 pandemic ended, the Roaring Twenties followed — a decade of economic and cultural prosperity in the West: Art Deco, jazz, consumerism, hedonism, and mass culture. The assembly line became the norm, and automobiles, indoor plumbing, and other labor-saving electric appliances forever transformed people’s lives.
The conditions that led to the Roaring Twenties not only included the end of a pandemic but also the advent of new technologies, a soaring stock market, and substantial pent-up consumer demand. Sound familiar? Yup, all clues point to summer 2021 as becoming a mirror of “the Era of Wonderful Nonsense.” With more and more people vaccinated and emerging from their COVID-19 bubbles, we can safely assume the streets will be lined with partygoers ready to go out on the town.
Although site traffic for ecommerce stores fell in April 2021, initial surveys suggest that online shopping habits are here to stay. In countries where COVID-19 has been under control since 2020, shoppers have continued to embrace the accessibility, safety, and seamlessness of online shopping despite physical stores being open.
During the pandemic, both healthcare providers and patients quickly adopted telehealth services and remote mental healthcare. The largest telemedicine provider, Teladoc, saw 50% week-over-week growth in services in March 2020. Similarly, online therapy apps, including Wysa, Talkspace, and AbleTo, gained 65% more users between March and April 2020. Meanwhile, gyms went remote, offering virtual classes and workout sessions.
Fast forward to April 2021: Though 72 million Americans are fully vaccinated, it’s clear that the new health and fitness habits formed during the pandemic are here to stay. The telehealth industry is expected to grow to a $57B market. Although some consumers will return to health and fitness providers in person, others will opt for the convenience of telehealth and virtual fitness.
From January to October 2020, COVID-19 cost the tourism industry $935 billion in revenue. While some airlines found success in creative non-fly experiences, it’s been a painful year for most travel providers.
Hotel.com’s ad captures how all of us are feeling about travel.
Luckily, wanderlust is a real affliction, and many Americans have already expressed a desire to travel, at least domestically. As of now, the travel industry is one of the fastest industries to rebound from the pandemic — Carnival Corp. already has plans to begin boardings in April for its largest cruise ship, the 5,200-passenger Mardi Gras.
In our year of isolation, athleisure and casual wear became the go-to (if not only) outfit for most. Unfortunately, that meant that sales for luxury, formal, and business wear fell significantly.
This summer, dress-easies will continue to take over wardrobes everywhere, with key trends being casual wear, comfort, and sustainability. However, with many experiencing a hybrid model of working from home and occasionally visiting the office, experts predict people will seek out a blend of comfort and professional fashion. There will also be a likely demand for more expensive, special, and glamorous styles once we begin attending parties, holiday gatherings, and weddings.
At the same time, skincare, haircare, and bath and body products flourished, benefitting from people’s desire for self-care and at-home pampering. Beauty influencers helped push this trend by creating content on DIY masks and skincare hacks (in other words, alternative ways for people to maintain their looks sans spas and salons).
But as stores reopen and makeup routines return, it’s likely that beauty sales will sharply accelerate in the coming months. In China, makeup sales rose over 25% after COVID-19 restrictions lifted in 2020. L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics group, predicts a “makeup sales bonanza” as wearing lipstick becomes a “symbol of returning to life.”
The pandemic has accelerated the changes that were long expected within the arts and entertainment industry — a 2020 research study found that “50% of media and entertainment executives believe they can no longer rely on traditional business models to drive future growth.” Unsurprisingly, with in-person events canceled, on-demand entertainment options gained significant ground, while live experiences found success in the virtual world.
But all that is set to change, and thankfully not because of another Prohibition. Concerts, events, and festivals are coming back, albeit with physical distancing measures and attendance restrictions. However, this doesn’t mean that virtual events will be no more — 89% of event organizers say that even when in-person events resume, virtual elements will still play a massive role in their event strategy.
While we might not all be twerking by the pool like Megan Thee Stallion, don’t let “Shot Girl Summer” catch you off guard. Luckily, armed with these tips, you’ll have the “New Roaring Twenties” your brand deserves, with browsing, shopping, and celebrating abound.
If you’re on the hunt for even more strategies to make sure your business is prepared for the summertime and beyond, check out our Marketing Resource Library today.
Originally published on May 17th, 2021, last updated on June 16th, 2022.