THE NEW NORMAL – II

LIFE THAT WILL BE: 2020 AND BEYOND

Life has changed in the last fortnight for the whole world. We are in the midst of a crisis that is no less than World War, where life has come to an abrupt stop. Who would have imagined a month back that we would be locked down into our home spaces. Or fighting war against the pandemic on the front-line where the enemy is invisible.

While we all have time to retrospect, introspect and envision things post the crisis, more to understand the impact and gear ourselves for the times to come, which are going to be very different, this is the right time to look at how life will be.

Being an advocate of Sustainable Fashion, I have been, along with my peers, deliberating on how are things going to change when the whole world is on the roll with fast fashion. There were no forthcoming answers as this demanded an active participation from the conscious consumer to adopt radical lifestyle changes. This was too much of an asking as mankind is adverse to sudden change.

The pandemic has turned out with all the answers that were being sought from Mother Nature.

So how are we going to be the change in the times to come. Let us examine it.

LIFESTYLE TRENDS

The following are the changes that we can clearly see ourselves making in our day-to-day routine in the days to come:

* Creating a bonding with family.

* Savouring home-made cuisines rather than dining out

* Appreciating fine things like art & culture

* Recognising & appreciating locally produced goods.

* Remote Working culture (aka #Workfromhome)

* Social Distancing

* Introspection and Spirituality – meditation, discipline, yoga, fitness

* Essentialism, Minimalism and need based purchases

* Increased dependency on internet and AI

* Understanding and recognising ecological balancing and environment consciousness

CONSUMERISM

It is quite evident that all of us will get used to staying indoors and examine and limit the need of movement for every task and event in our day to day life. Organisations are getting used to remote working model. I can see efficiency of deliverables increasing with this as the style of delegation or work will become more practical and relevant. Educational institutions are gearing up for online teaching methodology. Logistics based organisations like Uber Eats, Zomato and  Amazon Fresh will get stronger in their service.

People will have more time to spend at home. We will all figure out a new social norm, given the social distancing challenge for quite a long time to come. Parties and celebrations will come out in their new avatar. Discipline and restricted movement will give all of us time and necessity to be fit through physical regimes via CrossFit, Yoga and other such formats. The dress codes will change based on lifestyle changes. Formal wear may take a back seat for now. Athleisure Wear and Lounge Wear are two categories that look very promising in the near future. We will also forego Fast changing fashion seasons to more basic, easy wear that is durable and can last longer as a fashion statement. Cropped Tops and Leggings, Sports shorts and panamas seem to take over next. Keds, Espadrilles, Lounge Slip-ons may have more demand than the Oxfords and Brogues. Oversized and all-season Crocs would be preferred when you are at home.

BUYING BEHAVIOUR

We are creatures of habit and herd mentality and will always be influenced by the actions of others. But this global shut-down will have one benefit – it may bring in a sense of realisation in us for the actual relevance of being trend followers. We may have known it, but may never have acknowledged the fact that life and society as we know it, is fragile. That we are just fortunate to have the basic fundamentals – health, family, home and food, rather than the fancy style statements of luxury fashion trendsetters.

Now, we have been forced to acknowledge it. The economic crisis that is going to follow is going to force us to go frugal with our spending. To focus on essentials and live without frivolity.

The buying trends will show practicality and functionality paired with simple styles, inclusivity and environmental consciousness.

One can easily recognise natural and organic food chains to gain significance. Local and indigenously prepared concoctions to take over the off-the-shelf easy food options. Home cuisine explorations to find dining restaurants.

Image Courtesy: Vectorstock

KEY TAKEAWAYS

A good understanding of changing times including lifestyle changes and buying behaviour gives quite a good understanding on where the consumer is heading. For any business who has clarity on his consumer profile, it becomes easy to mould his business strategy with agility as per the changing times. It is at all times that there are opportunities and challenges in the market place. What governs your success is your resilience to change and being on the right side when the times come.

At this point of time, the writing on the wall is quite clear. An economic slow-down is imminent. And it is going to hit everyone hard. We may have to focus on essentials and be creative with what we already have. And this applies to both the consumers as well as the businesses who caters to them.

About the author

RJ/Shunyalifestyle

Shunya is a journey of fashion veteran, Rajesh Jain, a business strategist in the Fashion & Retail industry. His domains cover all aspects of business – Product, People & Processes. He has journaled here his observations of this ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour and lifestyle.

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