“If 2020 was year of digital disruption, 2021 will be year of omni-channel adaptation”

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – has been presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.

If 2020 was the year of sleep disruption, 2021 will be the year of sleep revival, notes Arha Padman, Senior Brand Manager, Duroflex. In conversation with Adgully, Padman speaks about how brands will need to now bridge the gap between the online and retail buying and offer a seamless, standardised experience for consumers.

Outlook for 2021

The year 2020 ushered in a lot of awareness about health, immunity and the pivotal role that sleep plays in it. Consumers are making active and conscious choices in terms of their sleep products and investing in trusted brands and innovative sleep technologies. Unbranded buying, which is prevalent in this category, is seeing a decline with consumers prioritising health and hygiene reassurances.

Homes became the hub of life, work and leisure in an unprecedented way in 2020, and are likely to remain so for a large part of 2021 as well. Bedrooms became a haven for not just sleep, but also to a place to spend time with family, to work and thereby a key real estate in the house. In a bid to creatively reimagine home spaces and making bedrooms more comfortable, consumers are seeking innovative comfort and décor solutions. The sleep accessories and comfort solutions segment of the business will get a boost from this.

Digital has been a key disruptor for most businesses in the past year and this category is no different. Last year also saw a record number of first-time online buyers. Many consumers who were previously apprehensive about online buying in a tactile category like ours, purchased online for the first time in 2020. Product solutions like bed-in-a-box, which are conceived keeping online shoppers’ needs in mind, are leading the way. The innovative bed-in-a-box format is a high-quality mattress at a great price delivered straight to the consumer’s doorstep. At Duroflex, we made this product with a special triple anti-microbial fabric developed keeping in mind the new hygiene assurances that consumers are seeking. While retail will continue to drive immersive shopping experience, online will drive digital native millennial recruitment. The key growth strategy will be to drive digital growth as well as retail experience with consumer needs at the centre; it will no longer be one or the other. Brands who are able to straddle both effectively will win.

Great expectations

The year 2021 looks like a year of transition, with the pandemic still looming in the formative months. Many trends like increase in social content consumption, prioritisation of health and hygiene and online shopping will continue. Retail, which is reviving, will dip in and out based on the immediate circumstances, but will continue to hold the fort with safety measures in place. If 2020 was the year of digital disruption, 2021 will be the year of omni-channel adaptation. Brands will need to now bridge the gap between the online and retail buying and offer a seamless, standardised experience for consumers.

If 2020 was the year of sleep disruption, 2021 will be the year of sleep revival. Sleep will be at the forefront of health conversations this year, with consumer taking sleep more seriously than ever before. Tech-enabled sleep solutions, which are gaining massive popularity globally, will likely make a debut in the domestic market.

Content, especially video and vernacular, will drive stronger consumer connect and create lasting engagement for brands.

Key learnings from 2020

  • Be open and adaptive to change. Use agility to not just survive, but also to thrive in the face of adversities that don’t come with a playbook.
  • While learning new skills is important, so is unlearning. Getting unstuck from formats and forging agile plans with contingency mapping is key.
  • Stay connected with your consumer and go beyond offering just product solutions, to forge a deeper connection. We used the power of social media and content to provide emotional solace and relevant information with our consumers at time of crisis.
  • A little empathy goes a long way.

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