Re-emergence: Reconnecting in Contactless World 

Just as we rang in the new decade, with big resolutions and dreams for the ‘New ’20s’, the world started to lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions were placed on travel, dining, exercising and meeting friends and family. Now, as some parts of the globe are starting to ease restrictions and move into the ‘next normal’, businesses will have to adapt and adjust to meet the needs of a consumer with a different set of priorities post-pandemic. 

The implementation of social distancing practices and essential-only travel means that many people have been working from home for extended periods of time. While some can’t wait to socialise in person, leaving home and entering public spaces will be met with uncertainty and anxiety for many others. As people return to work and start to travel again, the hygiene habits and safety-first approaches will be prioritised more than ever.

Re-emergence: Reconnecting in Contactless World 

An inevitable return to work + fear of public transport + new health and wellness priorities = the bicycle boom. Commuter outfitting will be front of mind as bike-to-boardroom dressing demands have been accelerated by the pandemic, an evolution of our Transformal Suiting trend, highlighted as part of our 20 Trends for the 2020s forecast. Consumers will crave stylish, safe and functional clothes to wear on their new commute, resulting in more versatile and sporty products such as pack-away blazers and the skort (which has seen a 117% surge in interest on Google in the past three months). Performance properties and hygiene considerations should be factored into the design process. Innovations such as anti-odour minerals, self-cleaning fabrics and defensive textiles will no longer be reserved for hi-tech sports, but rather for their daily commute.

In beauty, consumers will be looking for products that further protect from the elements and pollutants their skin hasn’t been exposed to whilst working from home. Heightened hygiene and alternative travel means that beauty rituals like applying make-up and hydrating the skin will no longer happen whilst commuting, as masks are essential and face-touching is to be avoided. Hyper hygiene-conscious beauty consumers will look to adaptogens as they act as a natural barrier for the body. Plant-based ingredients with natural antibacterial and antiviral qualities, such as chamomile, aloe vera, ginseng and lemon balm, will be increasingly used in shower gels, sprays and sanitisers. Product design will be increasingly contactless, reducing skin-to-skin touching where possible.

Once at work, ‘officles’ – partitioned workspaces that allow for airflow while maintaining privacy and social distancing – will become popular as we emerge from months of working from home. When zoning new workspaces, surface finishes that are antimicrobial, antibacterial and hygienic will be a priority. People will be reluctant to share mugs and cutlery, so expect a rise in commuter-friendly all-inclusive sets for eating and drinking on-the-go, in softer, more tactile materials such as silicone.

For more on how we will emerge post-pandemic, download our newest executive summary: Re-emergence: Reconnecting in a contactless world.

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