Well, what a year this month has been. As life in lockdown becomes our new normal, here are three ways brands are pivoting and consumers are adapting to life indoors.
1. Socialising for self-isolators
While the realities of a global pandemic are a ‘sobering’ thought, booze is right up there with toilet roll and tins of baked beans when it comes to items we’re stockpiling for the home.
Nielsen reported that beer sales rose by 2.3%, spirits by 4.9% and wine by 1.7% in US stores during the first week of March compared to last year. Meanwhile, alcohol delivery services such as Drizly have seen a 500% increase in their produce sales.
House-bound humans are pivoting social gatherings using digital platforms like Zoom to create cloud-based club nights and virtual pubs. In Japan, the trend is being dubbed ‘on-nomi’ which translates as ‘drinking online’.
Brands have been quick to the mark too. BrewDog recently announced their BrewDog Online Bar, which promises beer, quizzes, music and community.
In China, alcohol companies like Budweiser, Rémy Martin, Carlsberg and Pernod Ricard are partnering with JD.com and Chinese music label Taihe Music Group to create online clubbing experiences, resulting in 40 to 70% increases in alcohol sales for the brands. Launched to combat the negative impact of staying inside for long periods, the project is intended to continue as a long-term programme to enrich JD.com’s retail experience, with plans to open up the offering to categories beyond booze.
Meanwhile, ‘drinkstagrammers’ have been tailoring their content and livestreaming cocktail masterclasses via IGTV to eager living room bartenders around the world.
2. Home entertainment
If one thing seems clear from our lockdown experience, it’s that digital technology has forged a larger place in people’s lives, with live-streaming the new normal. Brands, of course, are helping to make these new traditions easier.
Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that lets you watch films with your friends and chat together at the same time.
Joe Wicks has been keeping kids active and parents (somewhat) sane, taking some of the pressure off home schooling during isolation.
Meanwhile, Disney are flexing their benefits and bringing forward the release dates of films such as Frozen 2 and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker.
3. Keep Calm & Carry On
Lockdown isn’t all about booze and gigging – Kikoko, the Bay Area manufacturer of cannabis-enhanced teas, honey and mints, reported a 130% increase in sales this month. In particular, high-CBD products formulated to deliver a sense of calm, such as Sympa-tea, were selling well. By comparison, Nielsen reported that hand sanitiser sales in the US were up 470%, first aid kits 111% and toilet paper 60%.
Cannabis brands have been adapting their models, many offering direct-to-consumer deliveries. This comes as a number of states have allowed dispensaries to remain open (so long as they could observe social distancing) during lockdown, sending a message that people see cannabis not just as a recreational activity, but something that helps keep people calm, relieves anxiety and helps with sleep – all of which are needed at this time.
SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org