Experience More was among the megatrends most heavily impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, consumers’ desire for the experiential did not fade, instead it transferred online to digital platforms like Zoom and Fortnite. Post-pandemic, the key pillars of Experience More remain true: living it, enhanced product and lasting engagement. The biggest transformation is the need for experience brands to walk the walk when it comes to activism and empower their loyal consumers.
The pandemic initially sounded the death-knell for in-person experiences, as physical contact was severely restricted, especially for non-essential activities, leading to high levels of uncertainty about the future of experiential retailing, live events, travel and hospitality.
Yet, the desire for fresh and fun experiences remained paramount, as consumers showed great resilience to the challenges of the new normal, switching in-person for virtual. Everything from lifestyle classes and concerts, to shopping, art and education got a new digital makeover.
Post-COVID-19, living it does not mean skimping on the quality of the sensory, inspirational or emotional elements of consumer-brand experiences. If anything, living life to the full is more vital than ever. Whether in-store or the metaverse, consumers are after more interactive engagements offering them a chance of co-creation so that they can shine.
Product 2.0 post-pandemic involves delivering an enhanced product experience, leveraging tech like AR/VR/MR for product immersion or AI, DNA and genomics for personalisation. A critical difference is that product 2.0 must have positive impacts.
With experience linked to perception and memory, lasting engagement continues to be a critical consideration for brands post-pandemic, but has shifted from Instagram stage-crafted backdrops to communities with shared purpose to drive diversity and inclusion.
The US and China will remain the main sources of demand for Experience More, with untapped potential to come from emerging markets in Asia Pacific.
Nostalgia for the old days, pent-up consumer demand and rising prosperity will all lead to a boom in quality, fun and exclusive experiences, no matter where or how they take place. Brands that embody strong values and activism will stand out from the crowd, along with those that prepare for the next generation hyper-connected immersive experiences on the horizon.
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