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We Asked Industry Leaders To Predict 2021 Content Commerce Trends


The coronavirus pandemic forced just about every major brand to revise 2020 goals and restructured them to face the “new normal.” As the world shifted to living predominantly online while spending a great deal more time at home, the internet became the most critical medium for brands to connect to consumers, leading to an acceleration of the digital commerce trends that had already been underway. For context, the New York Times reported that the United States took eight years to grow e-commerce from 5% to 12% of retail sales, but it only took 12 weeks (from March and June 2020) to go from 12% to 16%. Today, there are more than 4.66 billion people using the internet, representing more than 59% of the global population.


Online content commerce has thus seen a seismic shift in its significance, with the rising focus on livestreaming, gaming, and short-form videos, as well as lots of crossover collaborations, enabled by the connected nature of social media. Meaningful brand storytelling was already gaining importance prior to 2020, but has gathered further traction due to the pandemic, and brands have been spurred to offer both material support along with alignment of their values towards current social issues, from activism to praise of healthcare workers.


So, where will 2020’s surge of community spirit, video content, social media usage, and e-commerce sales lead us? We asked experts for their predictions of content commerce trends to look forward to in 2021.


1. Enhanced Intimacy

Named one of Forbes most influential CMOs, Ana Andjelic is author of The Business Of Aspiration: How Social, Cultural, and Environmental Capital Changes Brands. Andjelic says, “The keyword of 2021 when it comes to content and commerce is P Commerce, which stands for personal commerce. Personal commerce is the antidote to Amazon and already exists in Shopify’s Handshake marketplace and also on Instagram, where mostly direct-to-consumer brands put their human face first — we know all about who they are, what they like, what they do in their free time. It’s making shopping personal again versus transactional.”


In agreement that brand marketing will be increasingly personal, Pandaily’s TechBuzz China co-host Rui Ma says that we are likely to see more top executives taking on the role of influencer. “I’d probably expect even more top CEOs and celebrities to get involved in livestreaming and short-form video. Especially for the CEOs, when done well it seems to be such a high ROI on generating publicity and building trust with their consumers.”


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