It has been a year quite unlike any other. There are some things which, for better or worse, have become synonymous with 2020 – banana bread and sourdough, the Zoom pub quiz, home-schooling. Against a backdrop of Covid, there have been cultural and social phenomena which have grabbed the nation’s attention – Black Lives Matter, the Greta effect and Marcus Rashford, among others.

But we’re not here to talk about the obvious. Instead, we’ve delved deeper into 2020 to uncover a few of the lesser known trends that may have simply passed you by.

 

Going NOLO

Surprisingly, sales of low and no-alcohol (NOLO) drinks soared 30% in the UK during lockdown. Waitrose, for example, saw a 54% increase in low and no-alcohol ale compared to the same time last year as many consumers now choose to go dry. UK drinking habits, particularly among the younger generations, have been edging towards a hangover-free future over the last couple of years and, despite what you may think, it appears that the stresses of lockdown and homeschooling actually didn’t end up driving everyone to drink.

 

The rise of the newsletter

Already starting to edge their way into the mainstream last year, the rise of email newsletters in 2020 has been supersonic. They’ve become the go-to channel for brands and individual writers alike, thanks largely to the growth in popular platforms such as Substack and Mailchimp. In our opinion, newsletters offer a welcome return to a direct relationship between publisher and reader, driven by good old-fashioned content and entirely unaffected by the increasingly frustrating algorithms of Facebook et al. Long may they continue.

 

Reaching for the past

Speaking of old-fashioned, in times of crisis, it’s a well known fact that we tend to turn to nostalgia to give us that warm comforting hug of familiarity and feeling of security. During the first lockdown, Spotify reported a 54% increase in searches for ‘oldies’ or ‘throwback’ with a surge in nostalgic playlists. And it’s not just music that we’ve been using as a comfort blanket; UK consumers have been revisiting dishes from their childhood too. According to Co-op, sales of packet trifle have increased this year by a staggering 738%…

 

Elasticated waistbands

Given all that nostalgic eating, the Telegraph’s report that sales of trousers with elasticated waistbands rose by 16% this year should come as no surprise. With most of us working from home, work smart has gone out the window and the elasticated waistband combines comfort (without going quite as far as all-day pajamas) with some level of respectability. Who would have thought that the mainstay of 1930s fashion would make such a comeback?

 

Surge in adult e-learning

Whether down to furlough, redundancy or simply the absence of the daily grinding commute, we’ve all found ourselves with a bit of unexpected extra time this year. Some have used it to grow their side-hustle (1 in 5 of us have one apparently), others have spent hours learning entirely new skills. Enrolments on online courses have surged this year as we look to alleviate lockdown boredom or change our career path entirely, and digital is the hot ticket. The UK’s Institute of Coding, for instance, saw an enormous jump in learners on their digital skills courses from 32,000 in January to more than 400,000 by June.

Be Kaler Pilgrim

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