Four social trends to look out for in 2021

Snap Australia head of client partnerships Clare Nash
By Snap Australia head of client partnerships Clare Nash | 29 January 2021
Clare Nash

From ecommerce to content, over the past 12 months the technology industry has undergone rapid change to keep up with changing consumer needs.

While user consumption has skyrocketed across almost every platform available, users are entering the new year with increased tech literacy and a demand for better, more tailored experiences.

This means that marketers and platforms alike will need to spend this year consolidating and engaging their savvy consumers without compromising user privacy.

Looking ahead, these are four areas we’ll continue to see growth in this year:

1. Social in 2020
We have never been more glued to our phones as we were last year. With time spent on social platforms on the rise, last year we saw more power placed back into the hands of users calling for increased transparency around how platforms manage user privacy and data.

As a leading youth communications platform in Australia, Snap is committed to proactively nurturing the safety and privacy of all Snapchatters. At Snap, data privacy is at the core, conversations on the platform delete by default, just like a natural conversation. Snap does not offer a product like an open social graph and does not share any personally identifiable information (PII) or friend network information with third parties. The release of Apple’s data nutrition label for iOS will be a key driver for increased transparency around data, in 2021 we will see platforms continue to adapt to user privacy demands.

2. Retail and social - an intertwined experience/rise of mcommerce
The impact of lockdown on retail has accelerated Australia’s growth of ecommerce, with online sales now making up approximately 15% of the retail market. Shopping on mobile will continue to grow this year, Snap research shows more than one in three (35%) of Australian Snapchatters are buying more things on their phones than they used to. In this next evolution of retail we will see the social and retail experience much more intertwined.

In 2020, more and more social and digital platforms evolved the way they connect customers with the brands they are interested in, for instance with dedicated shopping tabs. At Snap, we launched a try-on Lens with Gucci, allowing Snapchatters to try on the newest pairs of Gucci sneakers, and shop them directly in app or offline. Similarly through Bitmoji partnerships with Ralph Lauren, the Jordan brand and Levis, users were able to dress their Bitmoji in new product lines, delivering brand engagement in the palm of consumers' hands. Brands who are reaching consumers in platforms where they are most receptive and engaged will continue to see growth in mCommerce.

3. The next generation of AR
In a year where in-person experiences were drastically limited, augmented reality came into its own with brands and consumers. Gen Z has been the most demanding in terms of experiential retail and are looking for brands to go the extra mile and entertain them during their shopping journey. There is a strong appetite for digital experiential engagements, on Snapchat over 75% of daily active users engage with AR every day on average.

Immersive AR experiences will continue to grow this year, the rollout of 5G networks will continue to power this coupled with software updates like the LiDAR Scanner in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.

4. Platforms continue to enter the content sphere
Content remains king, and in 2021 consumers will look for more ways to be entertained. The pivot to consumer choice platforms demonstrates consumer desire for niche content that resonates with focussed communities. Consumers are shifting away from mainstream radio and tv, the rise of podcasting and SVOD services will continue to engage audiences with diverse shows and voices to cater to a range of interests.

The Snap content suite is testament to consumer desire for alternative content and voices. Snap Originals continues to grow its talent portfolio, this year launching shows with Nikita Dragun, Jayden and Will Smith as well as Two sides and First Person from Australia.

In 2020 Justin Bieber released a new song via Sounds on Snap. Social is the new radio and in 2021 we expect the release and distribution of music to continue to evolve, with social continuing to be an integral part of the release of new music.