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Online Trends

Published December 9th 2020

Tough Times: Which Products and Trends Lost Out in 2020?

It’s been a tough year for so many businesses, but some products saw dramatically less demand than anyone could have expected at the beginning of 2020.

We recently covered the everyday products which have skyrocketed in popularity in 2020, despite the fact that they were relatively under-appreciated in the before times.

Here, we’re doing the opposite. We’re taking a look at the social data on products that were adored before the pandemic, but have fallen — for whatever pandemic-related reason — out of favor.

Streaming big

The future of the cinema experience is in jeopardy because of Covid-19, with many venues around the world announcing closures.

While mentions of cinemas and theatres have decreased 10% in the last eleven months compared to the same period in 2019, mentions of drive-in events are up 10%. That’s an encouraging indication that there is still a desire for the big-screen experience and that consumers are finding a way to make it work.

But ultimately, streaming has bridged the entertainment gap. We found that mentions of streaming increased 85% in the last eleven months compared to the same period in 2019.

Not all conversation is about streaming TV and film – we found 3m mentions of streaming music and 14m mentions of gaming streams from January to November 2020.

Goodbye festivals

Music festivals. You either love them or you hate them.

Using our Consumer Research platform, we found that mentions of music and arts festivals decreased 31% in 2020 compared to the average number across 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Despite festival conversation falling, we found that people were still discussing festival products like camping gear as they looked to get out over summer.

Those keeping the festival conversation alive were discussing ticket refunds (128k mentions), postponements (5m mentions), and what the future of festivals might be (2m mentions). The latter two are positive signs for 2021. People who love festivals are willing to wait for the experience and have actively been discussing how festivals could take place in the future.

No longer party people

Mentions of parties — from anniversaries to birthday and house parties — decreased 16% in the last eleven months compared to the same period in 2019. This is reflective of the massive blow the pandemic has inflicted on party venues like bars and clubs.

This is of huge detriment to the events industry. Back in 2018, the global events industry was valued at $1.1bn and it was expected to grow to $2.3bn by 2026. But the pandemic has wiped out months of revenue because of social distancing measures and stay-home orders.

Last call?

While the events industry suffers, so does hospitality. Restrictions in place around the world have prevented groups of a certain size meeting for a meal or a catch up drink and, in some cases, completely shuttered bars and restaurants.

Online conversations about dining out have fallen 11% month-on-month since the beginning of the outbreak.

That said, mentions have remained higher than pre-pandemic levels, as people discuss how they will continue to support their local restaurants and bars from home, like through take out (6m mentions).

In a recent Brandwatch Bulletin, we had a look at how restaurants were faring by looking at reviews left about them. We found that reviews dropped off at the start of March, and it could take a long time for them to recover.

On that bombshell, we also found that while less people were leaving restaurant reviews, they were also more negative. This was caused by delivery mistakes. For many restaurants, it was their first time offering take-out services, and inevitably wrinkles needed to be ironed out.

Sharing is no longer caring

Since we’re on the topic of dining out and socializing, it’s worth mentioning the fall of a very important practice which affects countless products and sectors of business around the world — sharing.

We found that conversation about sharing food or drinks, and other items like toys, continued to decrease by an average of 12% per month across 2020.

It might be good news for share bag fans who now have a whole bag of treats for themselves, but it’s bad news for businesses who rely on social events and occasions to keep the bills paid.

It could be a while yet before we’re happily sitting around a table sharing a portion of cheesy nachos and dip. But there is hope on the horizon.

Want to know more about this data? Find us @BW_React or drop us an email at [email protected]

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