The global pandemic has brought about widespread changes to daily life not seen since the Second World War and the Great Depression. That said, it won’t be around forever. But like those other momentous events we mentioned, there will be lingering effects that will continue for at least a generation.
Here are a few trends from the pandemic that are likely to continue being part of our daily lives:
1.) People Will Still Want Protection
While you’re bound to hear folks ask “why use mouth masks, if the pandemic is over?” there will certainly be individuals and businesses that will be rather more cautious. Public health policy experts are now expecting epidemics and pandemics to become a more common occurrence.
There will also be doubtless millions of regular people who will continue to be cautious because of the experiences we’ve had with COVID-19. We’re likely to keep seeing masks and hand protectors on people outside, probably made with advanced antimicrobial materials and featuring stylish patterns to suit the post-pandemic aesthetic.
Online shopping and live-streaming have long been a thing, and it was only a matter of time before a combination of the two was going to gain traction. Shopstreaming is kind of like infomercials, but far more interactive and democratized. While the practice has long been mainstream in Asia, the pandemic was just the catalyst it—and many other online trends—needed to take root in the US. It may have happened regardless, as the natural result of the past decade’s trends in live video streaming, influencers, online shopping, and video marketing. As it is, it’s likely going to be an ever-present part of our lives in the coming decade.
3.) Continued Demand for Online services
Online services are nothing new. But most people are creatures of habit and a significant number of older people never bothered to switch from the traditional ways of doing business. The pandemic forced millions of people around the world to stay home or severely limit their activities outside. As a result, more people have started to heavily use online services. Amazon’s massive growth during the pandemic, even in the face of the concurrent global economic downturn, is a testament to the significance of this phenomenon.
The obvious convenience and safety of these services mean that more people are likely to continue using online services in the future. And we’re not just talking about shopping either. Medical consultations, counseling, education, and other services that were most likely to be done in person before 2020 are now likely going to be mostly done online after COVID-19.
4.) Cleaner Public Spaces
After COVID-19, there is likely no question that we will soon become more complacent. However, if the experiences of Asian countries following SARS in the early 2000s holds true, we are likely to see the baseline for cleanliness in public spaces bumped up a notch. This may not be necessarily because businesses are particularly concerned about our health and safety, but likely because people are likely to prefer a higher level of cleanliness.
5.) Mindful Shopping
The global economic downturn is likely going to continue well past the end of the pandemic. The traumatic events of the pandemic and the crash are likely going to strongly influence lifelong values, especially in younger consumers.
Shoppers are going to be more and more value-oriented. Because people are now more educated about consumer choice than ever before, “good value” will be less understood as lower prices and more as “bang for buck” and whether or not a product or service aligns with one’s values. Consumerism won’t necessarily go away, but it will take different forms to reflect more mindful shopping habits.
6.) A demand for Larger Living Spaces
This won’t apply as much for less-densely populated areas where people are likely to own houses. But people in densely populated areas such as New York City and Miami are far more likely to want bigger living spaces thanks to the experiences brought by COVID-19.
Small apartments with space were more viable in a time when people only used them for sleeping and recreation. Now that more people are expected to work and prepare all their meals in them as well, they have suddenly become far too cramped and less desirable.
With many work-from-home arrangements likely to continue past the epidemic, we’re likely to see more people in densely-packed cities move to less crowded places. With this happening, activities such as gardening and DIY projects are likely to further increase in popularity, as well.
The world after COVID-19 won’t be unrecognizable. But in some ways, it will be different in a way we couldn’t have imagined just a decade ago. We can be sure that life will go on — just not in the ways we thought it would.