Riding the ‘coronacoaster’ into 2021

We have found three distinct macro moods of 2021 that will be hugely shaped by the current vaccine roll out plans, by using a blend of expert interviews with ITV teams, our qual research from ‘riding the coronacoaster’ and broader cultural and PESTEL analysis. It is worth noting here that we have taken a point of view more on socio-cultural moods than we have retail trends. Plus, we have built on seasonal norms with an updated cultural context. 

Below are 3 macro trends that are relevant more broadly across 2021 and beyond. 


Finding magic in the mundane
Trying to find tiny pockets of joy, comfort and distraction in the monotony

Summer of awakening
A childlike appreciation of the new and different and a frenzied connection to each other and what makes us feel good

Out of the ashes
A return to reconnecting with our inner selves, what makes us happy and nurturing neglected relationships

Finding the magic in the mundane

Spontaneity pretty much fizzled up in lockdown as we were forced into hyper defined, controlled and limited lives. Even as lockdown eases, life is still quite regimented and people are retreating into TV, gaming and tech for deep distraction.

Tone: distraction, boredom busters, ethereal, daydreaming, cathartic craftsmanship. 


Even as lockdown eases, tensions are high as we lack the freedom that we once had. But our beloved Britain has a self deprecating humour running in its veins as an inherent coping mechanism in times of adversity. There is ripe ground for rebonding via ripping our country’s weird little idiosyncrasies, rituals, routines and obsessions. Clashing the absurd into day to day life can give us a healthy reality check that this too shall pass, a healthy dose of banal perspective.​​​​​​​

Tone: relatable memes, puns, slapstick pranks & witty wordplay, “give the guy a medal”, “u ok hun?”

To some extent, 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 have been an epic endurance test and even completing the most basic tasks at the moment feels like some kind of insane mastery of skills. Expectations are low and so achievements feel extra heightened whether that is doing a bit of DIY, winning at the couples’ quiz or beating your kids at snakes & ladders! But parents are the real athletes of life at the moment and aren’t getting the rewards or kudos they deserve.

Tone: everyday wins, real life, lockdown = completed it,misplaced competitivity!

Summer of awakening

Given such a prolonged period of restraint and monotony, it is inevitable that when lockdown measures ease, we will be relish this new lease of life with a giddy hedonism! High on the endorphins of all of this possibility, corks will be popped (whether Lidl or Veuve!) and there will likely be a boom in drinking, parties, holidays and shopping. Pleasure seeking in all of its guises will be the marked tone in this period as we look to max out on dopamine and experience the thrill of newness and spontaneity. BUT...it’s worth noting we will be slightly feral at this point.

Tone: feel good, release, discovery, spontaneity, pleasure seeking, feral and uncivilised! 

Whether you are in the dating game, the relationship game or even the married game...it has all got a bit lusty out there! And as temperatures rise in more ways than one, it is likely that our interactions with each other will be more flirty, conversational and maybe a tad spicy! As well as the lust, there is also likely to be a very sweet undercurrent of pure love as families and friends are reunited after what feels like aeons apart. With everything crossed, we will also be able to experience that thrill of touch once more whether platonic or otherwise. ​​​​​​​

Tone: flirty, touchy feely, romantic, lusty, pure love, power of friendships, embrace.

We might have lost Glastonbury but there is immense hope for the awakening of summer live events. Nothing can quite beat satisfying our need for social connection as a live event whether that is a festival, concert or sport. It has been sorely missing from the cultural calendar and will deeply fulfil people’s burning needs to belong and participate through collective experience (even if that is likely from sofas at home). ​​​​​​​

Tone: hope, connection, belonging, participation, pride, rousing, soaring highs (let’s not speak about the lows!)

Out of the ashes

The climate crisis has arguably been too virtuous and too ‘catastrophising’ in how it has communicated to mainstream Brits. In 2021 a narrative which speaks to the fallible everyman/woman and reframes eco-shame with humour is the way forward to encourage ecoaction. With COP26 in Nov 2021, the climate change conversation will dominate the headlines once more, hopefully re-igniting its importance with the nation. 

Tone: easy eco wins, not in the blame game, chunk up the problem, play on familiar tropes. 

Behavioural theory points to the deliberation effect that as we come out of lockdown’s profound change to our lives, ideas we had been grappling with and mulling over in lockdown can now be actualised. A collective sense of healing, getting our s**t together and considered risk will begin as we assert control and establish boundaries over our lives once more. It is likely this will impact the world of finance, relationships, jobs, health/lifestyle as we refocus on what is better for ‘me’ and my immediates. ​​​​​​​

Tone: setting boundaries, darkness & light, difficult conversations, debate and discussion.

After the wild abandon of the summer and escaping our partners, kids and pets that we have been stuck with for so long - we might have a fond re-appreciation for these lockdown pillars that got us through. Side note: what a sad day it will be for your cat when you return to the office! There will be a need to nurture our immediate relationships and put in the time to show much we understand and respect each other. Not only will we rekindle our relationships, we will also appreciate our sense of rootedness, the places we grew up in and how they have shaped who we are as we might just get to drive home for xmas. ​​​​​​​
Tone: poignant, love stories, back to my roots. realist

Optimism has increased significantly following the lifting of lockdown restrictions



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Brands are being judged more keenly, with greater passion and against more exacting standards than ever before 

"Spring is in the air on the back of well received Budget announcements, the success of the vaccine rollouts and roadmaps for ending lockdown. If this improved mood translates into spending, it might help reverse some of the economic damage the UK has suffered."

Joe Staton, GfK, Client Strategy Director

+19 Consumer confidence is rising as consumers anticipate end of lockdown

84% Of consumers think differently about at least one brand as a result of that brand’s response to the pandemic

66% Of consumers have changed their behaviour towards a brand because of what they’ve done; that means they’re buying more from them, or buying less.

Hungry for more?

Continuing with the theme of optimism in the months ahead, join us at this year’s ITV Showcase on 17th June. Hosted by Adil Ray, we’ve got an impressive lineup of speakers looking at the economic bounce back and rising consumer confidence levels.

Learn More




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