21 predictions for 2021 from Havas Media

21 predictions for 2021 from Havas Media

This year has been full of twists and turns. but it’s also laid the groundwork for a transformational 2021

We’re expecting big changes next year, as lockdowns hopefully fade and new habits sink in. 

These shifts won’t be gradual. We’ll redefine old routines and create entirely new ones. Everyone in this industry must be ready for change. 

Here are 21 predictions from Havas Media’s U.S. strategy and insights team as we head into 2021. 

1. TikTok announces plans to go public

Despite government concerns, TikTok’s growth trajectory is only up from here across age groups — especially 35-plus. For advertisers, its algorithm and targeting capabilities will become more transparent, creating room for even more brand integrations.  

2. Netflix owns password sharing 

Netflix will turn a weakness into a strength by designing a product built for multiple users. This will have implications beyond entertainment as remote work becomes more common. 

3. Quibi was the first, but won’t be the last 

The SVOD bubble will pop as subscription fatigue hits a tipping point.  At least one more monthly-subscription service will fold, and one SVOD platform will go AVOD. 

4. The sports calendar hits reset

After the disruption of 2020, major sports leagues will systematically rethink their seasons. The NBA will avoid competition with the NFL by filling the late summer lull with marquee championships. 

5. DTC goes mainstream

CPGs will dive head first into DTC, if they haven’t already. Expect huge incentives and brand partnerships that encourage users to build profiles that connect lifestyle preferences to shopping lists — arming CPGs with consumer data.  

6. Black Friday moves back to October

Prime Day’s infamous move to October this year will become a permanent fixture in 2021, pushing the holiday shopping kick-off back to early fall. Longer lead times will help retailers manage volume and give shoppers flexibility to find deals earlier, while guaranteeing on-time delivery for big-ticket items.

7. Social shopping skyrockets 

Social commerce will double in 2021, and not just on Instagram and TikTok. YouTube will also launch a commerce product and secure major retail beta partners.  

8. Cloud competition heats up

Oracle, Microsoft or Salesforce will acquire data platform Snowflake, allowing them to better compete with solutions from Amazon and Google.

9. Google gets rattled by antitrust 

Google will be forced to spin off one of its platforms and relinquish its stronghold on the display advertising business. 

10. The walls come down

Adtech will consolidate around solutions that offer alternatives to the walled gardens. Regulations and continued pressure for transparency will force walled gardens to open up, offering more privacy-compliant data and capabilities to evaluate cross-channel performance. 

11. The workplace becomes anything but routine 

Heading into 2022, the workplace will become a hub of culture where employers invest in safety and socialization. We won’t be back five days a week, instead planning our visits purposefully for meetings and short stints. 

12. The Olympics becomes a multi-city event

The 2021 Olympics will spawn many virtual extensions, bringing fans, athletes and activations together globally through new technologies. The Olympic Village will become a hub for virtual content. Future Olympic bids will combine global cities to deliver events in locations that best suited to the athletes and sports.

13. The cinema is reborn

As theatrical releases migrate over-the-top, brands will capitalize on reimagined theaters to create high-touch experiences for small groups. Major cinema chains will redesign themselves into national experiential networks.

14. Hollywood faces pressure   

As filming and production remain paused, content producers will look outside Hollywood to fill pipelines. Expect mainstream hits from new sources and overseas libraries, as well as fresh faces. 

15. The fashion industry gets a digital, comfort-first makeover 

Marie Kondo + Athleisure = post-pandemic minimalist aesthetic. Consumers will adopt simple, comfortable wardrobes as they recognize they own too much clothing. Prestigious fashion houses and retailers will adapt with digital merchandise to outfit our virtual lives. 

16. The news gets credit(s) 

Major universities will offer courses in News Literacy to help students develop the critical thinking skills to combat the spread of misinformation and conspiracies online. 

17. Students learn a lesson about privacy

At least one technology firm underpinning distance learning will launch a dedicated product protecting students as the result of a breach, raising the bar on internet security and privacy. 

18. I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it

Gone are the days of two-day — or even 24-hour — delivery.  On-demand culture will get a boost in 2021 as all mainstream retailers start to deliver on demand.

19. Pharmacies take it to the next level 

As vaccine distribution scales through pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, they will expand consumer relationships through subscription models that offer access to telehealth and prescriptions alongside on-demand COVID-19 testing. 

20. Staycations are here to stay

As the vaccine rolls out, local travel will continue to boom. We’ll likely see consolidation across home rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to streamline the process for consumers — and scale access to their data. 

21. Burnout benefits increase

More employers will treat burnout and mental health as a top priority, providing mental health plan benefits, access to mindfulness programs and stress management courses for employees and dependents. We will see more insurance providers highlighting these offers as a result. 

Maureen Dawson is SVP group director of insights & data strategy at Havas Media

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