02 Dec 2020: The Year that Was
Every year we try and predict what we think the hot trends of the year are going to be, both in crafting and social media. Back in February we published our best guesses at the 2020 Trends in Crafting. Now it’s time to revisit those and see whether we were right or not! We’ll also take a look at what might be upcoming in 2021.
When we explored the trends in February we honed in on several: upcycling, local sourcing, slow fashion, alternative yarn crafts (a focus beyond knitting and crocheting), and more emphasis on inclusivity and diversity. Of course, at the time, we couldn’t predict that the world as we knew it was about to fundamentally change. Just a few weeks later, we would discover that a world pandemic would send us into lockdown, and reduce our social activities and travel for the rest of the year.
The good news is that, on the whole, the craft industry has seen a huge upswing as a result of more folks sticking close to home and avoiding social gatherings. While we have seen an increasing trend in the success of self-contained project kits for the past few years, sales of kits (whether they were knitting, crocheting, embroidery, punch needles, sewing or otherwise) went through the roof this year as consumers tried new crafts. A July webinar hosted by Golden Peak Media noted that web searches for crafts like knitting and crochet were up more than 20% over normal during April, May and June; during normal years, searches decline during the warmer weather months. Indeed, consumers are spending a ton of time planning activities for during and after COVID using sites like Pinterest. Pinterest surged to over 442 million active monthly users worldwide as of Q3 2020 (A growth of 37% year over year, source: Business Wire).
Shopping local became even more popular in 2020 as consumers looked for ways to support local businesses and keep them thriving even during shutdowns. Those businesses that transitioned in person sales to online and virtual experiences have fared the best, and have implemented services like one-on-one Facetime shopping and curbside pickup to help serve the craft market better.
Reducing, reusing and upcycling were also themes of 2020. Even the fashion world is turning to those themes, influenced by the difficulties in manufacturing and obtaining materials, attending shows and even holding photo shoots during the pandemic, as we learned in this recent article from Vogue magazine.
As you know, we’ve been bullish on video for the last couple of years, but particularly in a time where we can’t see each other face to face, video has become the next best thing. Instagram introduced Reels, TikTok has over 100 million users and has grown 800% since 2018, and Zoom announced a 354% year over year growth in Q2 of its customer base, in addition to growing usage for Facebook and Instagram Live. Whether you’re streaming live or filming in advance, video is one of the best ways to reach your customers when they can’t come into your shop.
Looking Forward to 2021
So what can we expect for 2021? Given pandemic conditions, we expect that we’ll see more of the same. In a Social Media Trends Report from Hubspot and Talkwalker, experts believe that 2021 will be shaped by “the 4 C’s of COVID-19 Content: Community, Contactless, Cleanliness and Compassion.” According to Marketing Week, “78% of consumers believe brands should help them in their daily lives, 75% say brands should inform people of what they’re doing and 74% think companies should not exploit the situation.” We also know that more than anything, people are turning to brands they trust, and supporting those brands as best they are able.
As you start to think about your social media strategy and product offerings for 2021, focusing on those 4 C’s will put you in good stead.
- Community: Using social media and video resources to enhance your sense of community will provide consumers an opportunity to connect with you and others in a safe and healthy way. Can’t host a crafting night in person? Try holding a virtual version of the event using Facebook Meeting Rooms or Zoom. Build kits that can also be craft-alongs, allowing those that purchase the kit to craft at the same time, as a community, even in the space of their own homes. Encourage customers to participate even if they can’t purchase the kit by using materials at home; building a rapport with them and introducing them to your community may convert to sales at such a time as they are able to purchase again.
- Contactless: If you’ve already adapted to offer online purchasing, with shipping or curbside pickup, you’re already there! Providing customers a way to support you without having to enter a shopping space or come into contact with employees will make many customers feel safe and secure and ready to spend money with you! If you haven’t added these options, you should strongly consider them.
- Cleanliness: How have you adapted your brick and mortar presence, or your behind the scenes efforts during this pandemic? Encouraging employees and customers to wear masks, and continually re-sanitize their hands and any surfaces or items they come into contact with, demonstrates a commitment to keeping your environment germ-free. Visors, plexiglass dividers, floor markers to indicate distance requirements or traffic flow; all of these contribute to a clean, healthy environment that builds trust among your consumers.
- Compassion: There’s no getting around it, COVID-19 is unprecedented and the changes we have seen are far and wide reaching. As the situation continues to worsen, it is likely you will have fewer and fewer customers untouched by the crisis. Compassion and understanding, and clear and transparent communication will go a long way towards building trust and loyalty among your consumers.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas to think about as you finish out 2020 and start to strategize what 2021 looks like for your creative business. If you’d like help building a social media and marketing strategy, we’d love to help! Contact us today to get started.