While debates about cancel culture, voting rights and who qualifies for which athletic competition percolate on the policy level, consumers are voting with their identities. Americans especially are demanding more specialized options for their pronouns, sexuality, race and ethnicity and — as employees — are resigning from their jobs by the millions for more meaningful work. These shifts in the U.S. markets are occurring fast and businesses must shift, too, starting with how they sample and research their customers and workforce, according to a new project helmed by multicultural research agencies, Insights in Color, where I serve on the board, Lucid and my company ThinkNow.
This time last year, America was fresh off the high of a change in executive leadership. Americans started rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccinations, and the nation was undergoing a racial awakening generations in the making. Then a week into the new year, democracy was breached, and the ensuing fallout would test the ideals of what it means to be American. In our 2021 ThinkNow year-end report we examine the economic highs and lows of the past twelve months, and how consumers, in their resilience, have weathered the storms by tapping into their power and wielding it to demand a fair and just society for all.
Social media has proven time and again the need for brands to be inclusive. Last year, with less in-person shopping due to the pandemic, e-commerce soared. E-commerce sales made up 18% of all global retail sales in 2020, and they’re expected to reach 21.8% in 2024. Social media is playing an important role in the growth of e-commerce as retailers employ omnichannel strategies to reach consumers. As such, consumers have become acutely aware of the brands that consider their environmental and human impacts.
People who have been on a Zoom call with me can undoubtedly tell that video games greatly impact my life. Having been an avid gamer since the Atari 2600 days, I have seen the gaming world evolve over the years. According to IDC Data, what was once thought of as a kid-friendly pass time has matured, posting revenue that rivals the movie industry and North American sports combined with a whopping $180 billion in global sales in 2020.
Companies en masse stepped up in 2020 decrying racism in America. But have those public declarations resulted in systemic changes in their diversity and inclusion practices, and how are consumers responding to those changes? To answer that question, ThinkNow conducted a nationally representative survey of Americans to understand the impact of companies that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion and how consumers voice their approval or disapproval of those companies with their wallets.
It’s Pride Month! Every year, in June, LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide celebrate the freedom to be authentically and unapologetically who they are. City streets erupt in festive expressions of Pride as enthusiastic, and often costumed patrons attend parades, concerts, and festivals decorated with brightly colored rainbow flags, streamers, and confetti. But the celebration doesn’t just bring people together for a good party. Instead, it shines a light on an underrepresented community, like other minority groups, who have struggled to be seen, heard, and included for generations.
U.S. consumers adjusted their expectations last year as COVID-19, social injustice, and contentious presidential and senatorial races sent the country into a tailspin. Given the unprecedented disruption, the findings of our sixth annual ThinkNow Pulse™ Report, a national survey examining consumer sentiment across key demographics in the U.S., are especially relevant as marketers scramble to get a pulse on the post-pandemic consumer. Fielded in December 2020, Americans report worsened personal finances and a perception of a weakening economy, and the outlook for 2021 didn’t fare much better.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, we began the year full of ambition and resolve because 2020 represented more than a flip of the calendar. In pun worthy comparison, 2020 or “20/20” was supposed to be the year of great vision and clarity. We energized our sales teams with it and redirected our strategic plans. But now, just a month away from year-end, we realize that the clarity we sought didn’t elude us. We clashed with it violently in the streets and on the front lines. The past few months have been some of the most polarizing in recent history. A global pandemic decimated the economy, and the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a worldwide outcry for social justice.
For many of us, our ideals and attitudes about who we are as individuals are shaped by our heritage and cultural experiences. As consumers, our affinity for certain brands pass through these filters resulting in purchase behaviors that tie back to our beliefs and how we see ourselves. Among multicultural audiences, this presents a unique challenge for marketers. There is no one size fits all solution to gaining buy-in from this diverse group. U.S. Hispanics hail from over 20 countries of origin, and Asian Americans, 40 countries. Understanding the importance of identity to multicultural audiences is essential to mitigating cultural bias in your marketing campaign strategy and delivering culturally relevant advertising.
From grocery stores to airline flights, America’s debate over wearing face masks is playing out on small and large screens globally. What was once seen as a medical imperative has become politicized. Some see mask mandates as an infringement on their constitutional rights, and others, a patriotic duty. According to our research, however, most Americans have this collective request, “wear a damn mask.” ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey among American adults ages 18 to 64 to get their perspective on COVID-19 and wearing face coverings.