South Africans’ patterns are seemingly settling into a new normal in terms of shopping behavior, with most retail stores and restaurants having reopened. Undoubtedly the way people spend has changed, with priorities differing immensely from our (by now long forgotten) pre-lockdown ways. The reality is setting in that our daily routines as well as our finances will be affected for many months to come. People are spending significantly less on some items and increasingly more on others [1] . This is true for licensed products too – several categories will slow down during this time, while others, that could help people settle into their new normal, will thrive. Products that will benefit consumers, whether physically or emotionally, will likely continue to sell in large volumes, and retailers and licensees that can effectively capitalise on these categories will likely succeed throughout 2020 and beyond. A few emerging categories on our list are:

Board Games:  

People are spending more time together, allowing families to reconnect. Many are turning to board games as a way to spend time together over electronic entertainment. Board game sales in the UK are up 240% [2] and similar trends have been seen across the world. This type of behavior brings along a big opportunity for board games and peripheral product.

Loungewear:

As even the most outgoing and extroverted of us are being forced to become homebodies, loungewear and sleepwear sales have performed extremely well. ‘All casual, all the time’ has become the dress code for many, and a study done by Mckinsey [3] believes that this trend will be with us for a while, as people will continue to work remotely in the future with more flexible hours. The loungewear trend will definitely evolve, with elevated designs that can be worn from the couch, to your laptop and even to meet friends for a (socially distanced) stroll in the park.

Face coverings:

Face masks have become a wardrobe essential, and children and adults looking to enhance their masked look can now do so, with various sports teams and character brands jumping at the opportunity. Brands need to however, be careful not to be seen profiteering from a pandemic. But so far, it seems like most big brands are donating some (if not all) proceeds to charitable causes [4].  It is likely that, over time, face coverings will become ‘normal’ and a daily routine. When this happens, brands might be seen to have more fun with masks and revenue from sales, a part of their ongoing income.

Time will tell if these trends will lead to a fundamental reset on shopping behavior or whether it will be a short blip. What is clear is that the consumer is going to support brands that is looking to not just benefit themselves, but also the well-being of consumers. [5]

  1. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-global-view-of-how-consumer-behavior-is-changing-amid-covid-19#
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/01/sales-of-board-games-and-jigsaws-soar-during-coronavirus-lockdown
  3. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/perspectives-for-north-americas-fashion-industry-in-a-time-of-crisis
  4. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/19/business/face-masks-wellness-licensed-brands/index.html
  5. https://www.licenseglobal.com/analysis/licensing-pandemic