Post-COVID19 consumer culture leaning towards ‘counterintuitive’ shifts: Research

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BY NIKHILA NATRAJAN
New York, April 25 (IANS)
Fresh foods, gentler soaps, health supplements, natural skincare products and foods that improve immune health in highly specific ways are likely to be jostling for a post-COVID19 boost from what researchers are calling “counterintuitive” shifts in consumer culture, based on the analysis of millions of conversations online.
These are very early trends from big data research during the coronavirus pandemic, which researchers say are likely to affect how people spend their money in the areas of food, nutrition, gut health, cleaning agents, soaps and much more. Already, even a partial view of the economic and cultural fallout from the pandemic is massive and consumers everywhere are reordering their lives around an entirely new set of often volatile waves of information.
“A lot of people forget that this knowledge, or the creation of new knowledge is actually what drives new behaviours, not the other way around. A lot of people assume that the new behaviour, will eventually drive new knowledge. It’s not the case,” Ujwal Arkalgud, CEO of Canada headquartered MotivBase, told IANS.
Arkalgud is co-author, alongwith business partner Jason Partridge, of ‘Microcultures’, a 2020 book about identifying cultural trends in the present day that shape tomorrow’s mainstream.
Early signs of mental shifts, Arkalgud says, are surfacing in the renewed energy and knowledge about the value of nutrition, how to maximise it and its effect on immune health.
“Once the restrictions start to get removed, people will have a renewed energy toward fresh foods and fresh produce and companies that really profit from this will be the companies that realise this and offer convenience and price sensitivity.”
A number of online microcultures, Arkalgud says, are showing “counterintuitive” trends. “Their current behaviour is actually the opposite of what we’re seeing the future look like.”
Cleaning products, according to Arkalgud, is another area where these kinds of opposite trends are showing up. “So everybody obviously right now is buying the harshest chemicals possible to clean their homes and clean their hands. People are actually realising the value of natural products because they see the detrimental impact of chemicals.”
Gut health, fermented foods, health supplements and beauty products are all seeing a “simplification” spike, where people are realising that simplifying their regimen is actually improving health. Arkalgud says this relative frugality compared with what existed prior is creating a renewed interest in various microcultures within the genre of “natural” products.
Companies which choose to ignore these early signals in the next 12-18 months will be the story of missed opportunities, says Arkalgud.
Emerging microcultures, according to him, are getting reenergised, like natural cleaning. Some of these newer microcultures in the COVID19 era are capable of usurping other microcultures that traditionally had a stranglehold over them, says Arkalgud.

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