Despite a challenging 2020 and a difficult start to the new year, there is plenty to be positive about as we head into 2021.
The rollout of the coronavirus vaccine promises a return to something closer to normal by the end of the year and great technological leaps – like those that are helping to defeat the virus – continue to be made across the sciences.
Issues of sustainability too, buoyed by ever-increasing awareness and consumer engagement, look set to be a continuing trend over the next twelve months.
Here are three areas of your life where you can expect the latest lifestyle trends to impact you this year.
1. Diet and exercise
2021 is expected to be the year that McDonald’s bring us the McPlant, its first foray into the world of vegan burgers. It couldn’t be better timed, with signup for this year’s Veganuary at a record high – 500,000 people worldwide, doubling the figure from just two years ago.
The numbers are due in part to increased awareness of the environmental effects of meat production. A recent Greenpeace article reports that the ‘meat as food’ industry is the single biggest cause of deforestation, with an effect on climate change equivalent to the ‘driving and flying of every car, truck and plane in the world.’
Online fitness classes will continue to be big business in 2021, especially while lockdowns and regional tier restrictions remain in place. Once we’re able to get outside though, you can expect us to do so in our droves.
Research from Mintel confirms that nearly a quarter (24%) of 16 to 24-year-olds are now regular walkers, an 8% rise form 2018. Strava meanwhile, notes that outdoor activity rose by more than 80% last year, with uploads of outdoor walks up by a third.
Strava’s Yearly report found that competitive exercise was also on the up. More than one million athletes joined their monthly 5K running challenge in May, while the total number of people signing up for fitness challenges exceeded 71 million between January and September.
The circular economy, recommerce, and precycling are likely to be big this year.
The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan begins ‘There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three.’
The circular economy means concentrating on three key principals –reduce, reuse, recycle.
On a local level, apps like Vinted allow users to trade second-hand clothes on vast online marketplaces. Upcycling will continue to be a huge trend, as will the growth of precycling. Reducing waste at the point of purchase by only shopping for unpackaged, reusable, or recyclable products – and bringing your own bags – will help to cut down on the 200 million tonnes of waste the UK produces each year.
Technology could also affect the way we shop this year. Shoppable TV already exists but it is set to enter more homes in 2021. Do you like the jacket a TV show’s leading man is wearing? Or the yoghurt a soap star is eating?
Soon, a QR code will handily appear onscreen for you to scan, directing you straight to the website to purchase your own.
3. Leisure time
Once lockdowns and tier system restrictions allow us to mingle outdoors again, we’ll be ready. Whether indulging in the Japanese art of ‘forest bathing’ or the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv (‘open-air living’) we may all feel the pull of the outdoors.
Enjoying our new freedoms in the fresh air – exercising or just enjoying the sounds and feel of nature – will play an important role in how we entertain ourselves in 2021.
When you do opt to stay in and cosy up with a film, you might find you’re watching the latest cinema releases in your own home, on the day of release. Wonder Woman 1984 became available to subscribers of HBO Max on the same day it premiered, and PVOD (premium video on demand) looks set to grow.
What this will mean for the cinemas – especially local and independent ones – in 2021 remains to be seen.
The way we holiday will change too, leading to massive shifts for travel operators and the whole of the tourism sector.
Staycations, by necessity, were big in 2020. Recent research from Boutique Hotelier found that 71% of British holidaymakers are intending to take a UK holiday in 2021. Wariness of long-haul flights and a realisation of the beauty on our own doorsteps mean you may be planning to stay closer to home for your summer holiday.
Lockdown also made clear the importance of community and supporting local business. Staying local and supporting local business while you are there will be important. You might even find a welcome pack sourced from local producers when you arrive, supporting the local community and offering you a taste of the region.
Finally, if you do opt to travel abroad, you might opt for ‘slow tourism.’ Allowing the journey itself to become part of the experience, extending your trip, and staying for longer might be the new travel norm this year.
Rather than rushing to see the sights in a given location, take your time, slow down and experience the culture at a more relaxed pace.