2020 has been a challenging year for everyone on this planet. Now, many countries are going through lockdown again and people are feeling anxiety from restrictions and uncertainty. Recent research shows that pandemic stress is having a serious impact on people’s mental health across the world. According to a study down by The Washington Post, 70% of people in the US are experiencing stress as a result of the crisis and 36% said the pandemic has had a serious impact on their mental health.
People want certainty, stability, security and a sense of control. These sentiment shifts reshaped our daily lives and values which resulted in new priorities, and it can be seen in consumers’ purchase behaviour. The shift has seen consumers focusing on wellbeing by replenishing physical well-being to maintain mental wellbeing. The pandemic has changed what we appreciate and truly value.
Rise of Organic Food
Amid the disruption and destruction of the pandemic, people are trying to find ways to cope with the stress and uncertainty, and realising that maintaining physical health is key to maintain mental health.
For many people, mental and physical well-being starts with diet. As a result, there has been a rise in the sales of organic food. In the US, organic produce sales rose more than 20% in the spring of 2020. Earlier this year in Australia, sales of certified organic lines jumped more than 50% above normal monthly trends.
Additionally, plant-based dairy showed growth, spiking at 75.3% sales growth in March. People are looking to eat ingredients that boost their immunity and support overall health. And many see plant-based food as a nutritional winner.
Due to lockdowns, people are spending more time at home and cooking, and instead of going out partying and spending money on drinks and dresses, people are spending money on good food. Perhaps, in order to get a sense of control, people have been trying to maintain health because that’s one thing people can still have control over which increased desire for clean and healthy food.
Mirroring the food industry, the activewear industry is seeing a consumer shift. With the wellbeing mindset, people are investing in home-workout products. In the UK, 60% of young
people say they have been finding exercise helpful in managing their mental health. It is not just young people, it is much more fragmented and value-focused shift.
In the US, online sales of activewear jumped 30% in August compared to a year earlier. Many sportswear brands such as Nike has capitalised on the #HomeWorkout movements.
Workouts that can be done at home are not the only ones getting attention. An activity that has seen increased popularity is cycling. During the pandemic, cycling was still permitted in some countries and many people started bike to work as they tried to avoid using public transportation. It became the only appropriate and safe way of exercising outdoors without putting oneself or others at risk.
Wellbeing has been a consumers’ priority for some time, but the current intersection of concerns around mental and physical wellbeing is new. There has been an emerging of overarching themes around wellness, relaxation and recovery.
For activewear brands, community, connection and motivation to ‘get through this together’ are key messages in communication with consumers to push home-workout.
Shopping Locally and Sustainably
Another shift is consumers have become even more engaged in sustainability issues during since the outbreak of the virus. One survey conducted in April across the UK and Germany found that two-third of consumers Tate that it has become even more important to limit the impact on climate change. Additionally, 88% believe that more attention should be paid to reducing pollution.
People are making changes to their lifestyles to lessen their environmental impact and buying products that are made with sustainable materials. The covid-19 has pushed people across the world to re-assess their value and demand social, economic and environmental change.
In the wake of the crisis, each of us has become increasingly aware of the impact of our choices have on the world around us, both immediately and in the long term. For some, the relationship with their clothing has changed. They have been able to observe how a decrease in clothing demand translates into a reduction of the fashion industry’s carbon footprint.
Moreover, the increasing intention around shopping during the pandemic has been paired with a push to shop locally and sustainably. As people see their neighbourhood businesses struggle, there has been a unique sense of unity, they want to support local businesses.
For some, ‘local’ means products that are sourced in their region, and for some ‘local’ means buying from small local businesses. Nevertheless, people are realising that if they buy ‘local’ that money will more readily circulate in the local economy as the business owner or staff are more likely to spend the profits locally, whereas if they spend money in a big chain store the profit goes to the head office oversea.
Come Out Better Of At The End Of This Than The Beginning
While certain trends have been on the upswing for quite some time, the pandemic has sharpened consumers’ desire for transparency and sustainability, and their view on wellbeing. Sustainability was something very much talked about on the surface level before the pandemic, but now it is finally being taken seriously by big companies as well as by consumers.
It’s important to know that small actions like shopping at local businesses or choosing sustainable product do matter, makes a huge difference. Even when the pandemic ends eventually, we must keep this mindset so that we can come out better at the end than the beginning.
We must keep buying T-shirts made of organic cotton, we must keep cooking dinner with organic food, we must keep buying a cup of coffee from a small local cafe. It’s amazing to see human resilience leading to a resurgence of community spirit and localism, focus on sustainability and wellbeing in order to cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic.
There have been many good changed that came out from this dark time. It’s been a stressful year for sure but at the same time, life has slowed down which made us appreciate simple homebound pleasure. Let’s take this opportunity to see beyond restrictions to create new awareness and create permanent positive changes.
If you’d like to get some sustainable activewear, check out Movemetica’s products!
- About the author -
"Miko Takama marketing freelancer based in Berlin, specialised in sustainable business strategy and branding & communication strategy, also a Journalist. She is passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry. On her website and Instagram, she is sharing insights on conscious lifestyle and her journey to start a sustainable fashion brand, Public Ecology."