Flow Communications

From workspaces and the way we consume digital media to the foods we eat and the fashion that’ll grace our (probably online) catwalks, 2021 promises some fantastic trends.

Remaining remote

Let’s start with what we know: the work-from-home culture we’ve adapted to will be around a little longer, as we try to slow the spread of Covid-19. This Twitter thread predicts a few trends that’ll begin to emerge in 2021 and beyond, in the period that has been coined by some as the “remote work decade”:

Blurred lines

Because of the widespread adoption of remote working, the lines between work and holiday time will begin to blur. “Continued remote working will upend traditional vacation seasons,” according to one iAfrica article, using Airbnb search and booking data to summarise four trends taking shape:

1. Planning for the future

Many travellers are dreaming of adventures to new destinations once travel is no longer restricted. The article states that South Africans’ travel aspirations are “alive and well”, with trending dream destinations including the Leeward Islands in French Polynesia, Nampula province in Mozambique, Hawaii and Seoul, South Korea.

2. Live anywhere – taking life on the road

Airbnb statistics show a 128% increase in guest reviews mentioning the words “relocation”, “relocate”, “remote work” and “trying a new neighbourhood”. Its assumption is that people are testing new areas and cities before committing to relocating – something they might not have been able to do before because of work commitments, but that is now possible because of remote working.

3. Redefining the staycation

Many of us found this past festive season that exploring our own cities and country was far more viable and safer than travelling far and wide. There are even ways to explore our country from the comfort of our own homes, as this Flow Travel blog suggests.

4. The rise of pod travel

While researching this topic, my mind defaulted to a futuristic way of travel, one that avoids aeroplanes, crowded trains and busses – a teleportation travel bubble of sorts. Alas, pod travel is not a method of transport. Instead, it’s the term created to describe how we will end up travelling to remote spots in chosen groups of people – family or friends – to limit our contact with others.

Digital tech in 2021

Over the last year or so, the way we have been using digital technologies has changed enormously. We’ve learnt to shop for our groceries online, a far less time-consuming process than a trip to the supermarket.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2021 … Will we be shopping in online malls? Introducing WorldCard mall, which describes itself as “Africa’s first online mall”. On the other side of the coin, global online retailer Amazon has begun opening brick-and-mortar stores around the United States, including, recently, a couple of grocery stores in Seattle.

Predicting the future of e-commerce is tricky. However, consumers expect decent lead times, with some companies aiming for same-day delivery. Say goodbye to waiting 10 to 14 working days for something to be delivered.

What’s for dinner?

It’s safe to say that no predictions for last year’s food trends were accurate, with banana and sourdough bread and pineapple beer ranking as highly as they did! Food analysts predict that 2021 will see a number of changes in the way we eat, particularly as waste-free as possible. This trend is triggered by the financial and environmental strain our world is under.

Eating local, plant-based, fresh produce that doubles as a natural immune booster also tops the lists, as well as experimenting with global cuisines, as chefs from all over the world move into the social media space (for example, TikTok and Instagram Reels) to share quick and easy recipes.

Ghost kitchens will also start popping up, using the concept already used by online sushi company Oishi: no sit-downs, low overheads and a focus on fast, professional delivery.

Flow’s resident foodie, writer Willem Steenkamp, has this to say about food trends: “I’m fascinated by how foods are processed, and how little time and effort doing it yourself takes – resulting in much better-quality food and significant cost savings.

“This also leads me into exploring such trends as heritage cooking, veganism and canning, because I now have the skills – and some additional time, thanks to lockdown – to step completely out of my previous culinary paradigm. And that’s exciting!”

Masking your fashion sense

As with the food-trend predictions ahead of 2020, track pants and face masks were not on last year’s lists. Now, the likes of Vogue are giving consumers advice about cloth masks, while Elle has picked “61 stylish face masks” and provided shopping details.

Masks are now considered a must-have accessory, and the demand for tracksuit-type pants is at an all-time high.

According to the Malaysian news site The Star Online, “It looks like the trends of last year will continue on. The pandemic isn’t showing signs of going away, after all.” Among the trends predicted by the site are fashion being geared towards comfort, low-key trendy garments, and the rise of casual, comfortable workwear. Say farewell to the traditional suit and tie!

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