Before March of 2020, Americans were already ordering meals via UberEats, binge-watching Netflix, getting groceries through Instacart and using video conferencing like Zoom and FaceTime regularly. As of mid-March, the use of all these technologies, and many more, sky-rocketed as Americans were instructed they should only leave their homes if necessary.
Pre-pandemic the “homebody economy” was on the rise. From the decline in foot traffic at shopping malls to fewer people standing in line for popcorn at the movie theater, the signs of the homebody economy were everywhere. While companies had been working diligently to adapt to the cozy habits of their consumers, COVID-19 has forced some organizations to reevaluate their business models just to survive.
Now, as we slowly open the world, we will adapt again to ongoing social distancing. What will this mean for events like festivals, trade shows, and concerts? Will this whole ordeal produce a virus-fear economy? Questions loom and everyone is bored in the house, as evidenced by TikTok and the uptick in overall social media engagement. During a recent Zoom chat, Mandy, our lead developer, saw that yet another summer festival had been canceled. It seems the homebody economy is here to stay, at least while COVID-19 is a threat.
The trend to stay home (when it was an option) pushed the marketing sector to cozy up to brands with warm images and even hashtags like #hygge (a Danish word for all of the comfort, warmth, and emotional love one gets from the blanket of home). It was clear, a large segment of the population prefers personal spaces over public ones. Just look at the subscription-box business which has evolved so far beyond Harry Scherman’s Book of the Month Club; the 1928 answer to rural illiteracy, it’s overwhelming. Projected to be a 1.2 Billion Dollar industry by 2022, a person can subscribe to a box of nearly anything (that will fit in a box). If someone could add toilet paper to a home essentials box, they’d be an overnight gazillionaire.
From the perspective of helping our clients, we’ve worked to make a lot of things accessible from the comfort of home. From webinars and online courses for the people who work to educate other and small home businesses distributing their own goods via the e-commerce phenomenon, we’ve developed sites for holsters, herbal tea, and snack foods, just to name a few.
The imagery and words we choose for site development and social media are considered thoughtfully to produce a buyer journey that is experiential, memorable and now more than ever, entertaining. Micro-learning is a huge directive and spurs high engagement. YouTube remains the 2nd largest search engine and the 2nd most popular video type begins with “how to.”
The savviest social media users have learned to repurpose content like the pros, now pulling a week’s worth of posts from a now dangerous trip to the grocery store. What’s tremendously apparent in this experiential and homebody economy is the need for connection still reigns supreme. It’s how we connect that has changed.
Since we can’t spend an evening with friends at a posh club drinking $15 craft cocktails while trying to hear a conversation over a lumbersexual inspired cover band (which sounds divine right now), we are relegated to FaceTime, co-watching the same movie in separate households, and getting creative with ramen noodles. In addition to that, Facebook and YouTube are unveiling new options in record time, so we can shelter in place while coordinating to watch user-generated content, be it brand specific or a gender reveal party.
The bottom line is that businesses can take advantage of how consumerism is changing or not. As nearly every industry is disrupted by the next iteration of the internet of things, we either evolve or we are left behind.
The professionals at Gravity Junction are here to help businesses adapt and thrive in a digital space. Our goal is to translate your voice and authenticity in online channels so the essence of your personality and culture isn’t lost, but rather enhanced.
Want to reach the homebodies where they are? I hope so because that’s now everyone who isn’t essential. We are all curled up on the couch in yesterday’s sweats waiting for the arrival of our DoorDash orders.)