Meet the digital trends shaping 2021

This post is sponsored by Adobe.

As we welcome a new year and reflect on the unpredictability and chaos that was 2020, there’s no denying that the global pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Some changes are more obvious, while other shifts are more subtle, but there’s no questioning the influence they will have for years to come.

In the 2021 Digital Trends Report, produced in collaboration with Econsultancy, Adobe explores how a year of disruption has shifted the way we do business and what it means as we move forward. Explore the insights from the report with the 2021 Digital Trends Experience, which allows you to deep dive into the data, filter the survey results and understand the relevant results for your organisation.

Agility and innovation in the face of unpredictability

Digital solutions aren’t new on the block, and the push to move to experience-based marketing has been present for years. It seems, however, that all that was needed was a cataclysmic year to get some businesses over the line.

Nobody could have foretold the challenges of the past year, but many businesses saw the changing needs of customers and rose to the challenge, with “half of all senior managers saying that it was the most innovative period they had experienced at their companies”.

Lockdown life continues to define trends

It was a year of staying home, but that didn’t mean that we all put our slippers on and waited for the pandemic to blow over. Instead, staying at home was a huge catalyst for change in both customer and employee behaviour.

Customers were already utilising digital and online channels prior to March 2020, but with limited movement and constant online access, these trends accelerated exponentially. According to the 2021 Digital Trends Report, “customers of all kinds were driven online at a rate that amounted to a jump of five to ten years in projected adoption”. Naturally, this rapid change has had ripple effects as organisations scramble to keep up with customer demands.

Staying at home also had an impact on the way many people work. The home office became the norm and finding the balance between personal and professional life was a challenge that millions of workers around the world faced. While it had its challenges, productivity also saw a huge boost as people found a way to work that suited them – 70% of executive managers reported stable or improved productivity.

Going forward, many businesses are still finding the balance and best practice to support remote workers, while keeping the cohesion of the office experience and this will continue to define the way we work in 2021.

Marketing finds its way into the boardroom

With such a huge shift in customer behaviour and the way businesses deliver their products and services, executives are turning to their marketing departments for assistance. Some organisations are “still in reactive mode, looking for marketing to help to respond to this burst of digital customers, but not yet committed to an experience-driven approach to growth”. Others know that marketing holds and commands the data that can be used to understand the digital-first customer and they’re ready to use that information to create powerful, empathetic customer experiences.

2021 is the year of resilience

Bouncing back from 2020 was never going to be easy. Life is so different from how it was just 12 months ago, it’s difficult to fathom the changes, big and small, that have taken place to transform the digital world. However, the recovery happening in 2021 is not about trying to get ‘back to normal’ – it’s clear that embracing digital transformation, engaging in powerful customer experiences, and leading the way with innovative solutions is the only way to be ready for what the future holds.

The 2021 Digital Trends Report is available for download so you can explore all the latest insights, understand the aftermath of an incredible year and start to move forward into a year of recovery.