Predictions for 2021: Consumer & Retail

Finally. 2021. It’s here. And, we’re all wondering, what’s this year going to be like for everyone? As an in investor in consumer products, I’m constantly thinking about what people need and the next big trend. Here are my 5 predictions for 2021.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels (https://www.pexels.com/photo/composition-of-clipboard-and-stationery-5417625/)

Originally published as a Twitter thread on January 2nd.

1. The Rise of Hormone Health as a Purchase Criteria

“Hormone Health” will be the next “Gut Health”, and consumers will seek out brands that actively claim and demonstrate that they don’t disrupt our hormones or endocrine system. I’ve heard about “endocrine disruptors” from new Millennial moms and from GenZ. It’s the next step in “clean” and “natural”.

Endocrine disrupting compounds are also connected to sustainability and a desire to decrease plastic usage. “Almost all commercially available plastic products…leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA” or estrogenic activity.

I believe that consumers are going to need an umbrella characterization when shopping for consumer products that don’t have chemicals that mimic our hormones, so I think we’ll see the rise of “hormone health”.

2. Your Next “Favorite Show” Might be Made by a Consumer Brand

Proctor & Gamble has been producing and sponsoring shows (on radio and TV) since the 1930s. They started with “soap operas” and moved to primetime. And, I believe that emerging brands are going to try to embrace this strategy as well (especially via YouTube and streaming).

Almost every brand I’ve spoken to this year is focused on utilizing content to drive sales, with video at the forefront. They want to find ways to share engaging, repeatable stories in the form of video…sounds like a TV show to me!

3. Creator Platforms Will Add Brands

Platforms like Patreon, Cameo and OnlyFans have grown significantly in 2020, while focusing on creators. I think these same platforms will add brands — platforms make money & brands get to build 1-on-1 relationships with their consumers. Vice Media is already testing out OnlyFans for its food & beverage vertical, Munchies.

Imagine your favorite founder or brand sharing exclusive content on one of these sites. I think brands with “cult followings” will see communities forming on creator platforms.

4. Dollar Stores Will Add Emerging CPG Products

I believe that Americans across income levels will shop more frequently at dollar stores. Dollar General even has a trendy offering called DGX, which caters to customers in metropolitan areas: “DGX stores offer a smaller retail footprint with a curated assortment of grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, home cleaning supplies, an expanded selection of health and beauty products, home décor, electronics, seasonal products, pet supplies, candies and snacks, paper products and more — all at everyday low prices that Dollar General is known for.”

Dollar General reported that net sales increased 17.3% for Q3 2020, and same-store sales increased 12.2%. Dollar Tree also had a strong 2020, reporting Q3 net sales up 7.5%. These “discount stores saw big sales gains in fiscal 2020 — and opened lots of new sites despite the pandemic.

This means that Americans are shopping at dollar stores, and brands need to go where the consumers are. I think dollar stores are an untapped opportunity for emerging brands.

5. The next Ibotta will Emerge in 2021

Brands are innovating with digital coupons and promotions — they have to. Digital redemptions surpassed paper for the first time in 2020, and retailers are pulling back on print coupons / circulars. However, I’ve heard from brands that discounting works — it’s part of the reason that “Cyber Monday is now Everyday.” I think that a company that helps modern brands reach consumers and helps consumers get good deals is going to emerge for our post-COVID retail environment. And, it will be a great place for brands to advertise to their consumers.

CircleUp and its subsidiaries may be affiliated with certain companies listed above. This article and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or recommendations.

Consumer investor @ CircleUp. Product obsessed. People focused. Easily intrigued. Rarely impressed.

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