Reports Media & Marketing

Cultural Trends in 2021 Navigating a New Normal

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Behaviours under coronavirus-driven lockdowns accelerated underlying digital consumption trends. Remote working and ongoing restrictions mean streaming behaviour is up across formats and demographics at the same time that some traditional entertainment formats effectively ceased. 2021 will see the rise of creators and services directly able to capitalise on the increased entertainment time now available online. Niche propositions will trend increasingly towards mainstream, causing the digital long tail to expand exponentially. Authenticity of voice and speed of adaptability to content output will be key to content success in 2021. Meanwhile, robust strategic distribution partnerships and ecosystem infrastructure plays through service bundling, will define entertainment business success in the coming year.

Key Insights

  • The shift of daily life to the digital world as a result of pandemic-induced lockdowns was an escalation of a long-term, slower-moving trend, and now has solidified into the mainstream 
  • Sports was one of the last strong propositions for traditional pay-TV operators, with        of high sports watchers in        2020 having subscribed to pay-TV for three years or more
  • As the habits of lockdown become embedded and the trend towards digital-first becomes the default, gaming is poised to lead the experimental forays into new distribution methods and content applications
  •        of consumers said they would cancel one or more video streaming subscriptions, rising to        of        year olds – up strongly from        in        2020 – and        of 20-24 year olds 
  • With higher WAU penetration for both Spotify and Netflix, the younger segments have a higher affinity for pure-play propositions than bundling, which plays to the increasing importance of fandom in a content-saturated entertainment landscape
  • However, Amazon is gaining ground amongst older demographics, who tend to have higher purchasing power – thus making this a strong play in the long term, as the emerging recession hits younger demographics first and harder
  • Fandom was already well on its way to becoming the defining driver of adoption and loyalty, and independent creators were seeing greater autonomy and creative control; lockdown has exacerbated and solidified these trends
  • The attention economy crunch of saturation went through a reprieve as lockdown opened up an extra        of consumer time, but the competition of content has not eased overall 
  • In response to lockdowns there will be some new long-term habits, but there will also be kickback when consumers are able to return to what they used to enjoy and have been able to maintain ties to

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:   Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Amuse, Apex Legends, Apple, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, Apple Music, Apple News, Apple TV+, BBC, BBC Sounds, Coalition for App Fairness, DAZN, Daybreak, Disney, Disney+, EA Games, ESPN+, Eleven Sports, Epic Games, FIFA, Fortnite, Freaks        Gaming, HBO Max, Hi-Rez Studios, Kingdom,        Bank, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Openbank, Orange Is The New Black, Peacock, Spotify, Spotify Fan First, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, The Witcher, Tiger King, Twitch, Vodaphone, WarnerMedia, iCloud

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