By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Are you still celebrating the fact 2020 is done?
It’s been over for two weeks now but I have news for you… 2020 will be a part of our cultural fabric forever. Not just COVID-19, vaccine updates and weird looking sports on television, the past year created some major trends.
Below The Best Sellers’ List is about to rank the top 10 trends from 2020. And these cultural phenomenons fit into two categories: long-lasting or temporary. I’ve observed things that I think will benefit society for decades to come and a few trends that I pray stop soon.
A global pandemic has a way of forcing the public to adjust and create a new norm. That pandemic might help some things like mask resurface like U.S. Americans wearing the facial covering back in 1918.
The rules seem to be changing daily but through it all we’ve kept ourselves entertained, informed, healthy and prepared. So let’s jump into the top 10 trends of 2020 and which category they fit into.
- Plant-based meat
The Impossible Whopper at Burger King was the first major player in this arena back in August 2019. Then other fast food chains like Hardee’s dropped the Beyond Burger. No longer just a niche product, consumers seem to seek out the plant-based meat sandwiches throughout 2020.
The market for these burgers and type of products is predicted to grow 28 percent each year until it reaches $85 billion by 2030.
What’s behind this trend? The increasing number of consumers with health, environmental, and animal welfare concerns. Restaurants like Burger King, KFC and Subway are leading the way with plant-based meat menu items.
Tyson Foods, Applegate and Perdue, have recently introduced meat-veggie hybrid products like sausage, chicken nuggets, burger patties, and meatballs to bring the trend into our homes full-time.
- Celebrities taking over Youtube
At first I thought it was cool seeing movie star Will Smith having a Youtube channel. Then more and more familiar names started popping up in 2020 as content creators. B-list and C-list has-been celebrities began to use the platform stealing views, ideas and topics from Youtube-grown products.
This trend trickled over to over social media apps and podcasts. The list of celebrities spewing out their thoughts, opinions and attempts at humor have grown tremendously.
There were famous people on the internet prior to 2020 with Youtube channels and podcast like Dax Shepard, Anna Faris, and Jonathan Van Ness.
Now you can add to the list names like Sophia Bush, Pam Beesly and Angela Martin. Kate Hudson released a podcast with her older brother, Oliver. Even Barack and Michelle Obama agreed to produce and record their own podcast content for Spotify.
I guess all that time at home bored our rich and famous. They needed something to do and to make some money. For this trend to continue, these famous folks need to be entertaining and worth the listen. And their interest has to stay strong.
- Go cashless
Since 2005, I don’t carry more than $20 in my wallet. When Samuel L. Jackson asks ‘What’s in your wallet?’ I reply ‘Not much Sir.’
With a national coin shortage back in early 2020, most U.S. Americans decided to use their debit cards primarily. Although the debit card and other financial technology are frequent in our society, many U.S. Americans still prefer to pay in cash.
But the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to shift away from cash transactions for fear of coming in contact with coronavirus. Money is known for being dirty. And most credit and debit cards remain in your possession. Out of an abundance of caution, some stores have stopped accepting cash and some have been asking customers to provide exact change.
Studies have shown money is not a huge transmitter of COVID-19 but consumers have more faith in their cards.
The main caution of becoming a cashless society is privacy. Using a card leaves a huge paper trail. And there are still a few people in the United States without a debit or credit card. That applies to roughly 14.1 million adults and 6.4 million children who were unbanked.
- Online shopping for everything
2020 was great to Amazon. The shipping giant was the most used online shopping source last year.
Overall there was a rise in online purchases because of smartphones, shopping apps, social media, social commerce, transformative technology, online markets like Amazon, Ebay and Walmart.
While Baby Boomers still prefer to use cash, the Millennials and Gen Z will whip out that credit/debit card in a heartbeat to purchase things from toilet paper to a new car.
The ecommerce trend can be seen at our grocery stores with pick-up service. And boxes at your front door means Christmas on a daily basis.
The new Amazon warehouse in Frayser, next door to Nike, stay buzzing. Even through tough economic times these business have stayed steady.
- Space in line
Since I was 16 years old, I’ve had a two-foot rule. If I stood behind somebody in line I made sure a couple of feet of space was there. It would allow my fellow shopper to at least turnaround 360-degrees without hitting me. But sadly several of my fellow consumers wouldn’t return the favor. Plenty of times I would reach for some chewing game at checkout and hit another human.
There were a few times I could smell somebody’s breath or tap into the edge of their shoes. That means we’re too close. At least tell me your name.
Then came a blessing out of the COVID-19 crisis, “Six Feet Apart.” Luke Combs even recorded a song about it in May 2020.
I’m going to enjoy this trend while it last. But even in December during the holiday season, I had a few people invading my bubble. That illustrated to me that some folks just won’t respect personal space.
- Official goodbye to cable
Confusion… most of my entertainment comes from Youtube and Hulu. I rarely watch traditional TV. Then if I visit a friend with Netflix, it’s time for me to binge watch until they kick me out.
In 2020 several companies released that many have cut the cord and bid farewell to cable.
Here are some of the streaming options we have in 2021: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Peacock and much more.
The only real question is which streaming service will you subscribe to next? Stay-at-home orders, quarantine mandates and a generation used to limited commercials have made streaming services so convenient. From new programming to reviving the classics, there is a streaming platform for all U.S. Americans. In addition, movies can now debut in the comfort of our living rooms.
- Fist bump/Elbow bump
I’m a hugger. I really do miss being able to hug friends and family, especially those I haven’t seen in a long time. So now the fist bump is the new hug for those you really miss. And the elbow bump is the greeting for that friend you encounter every once in a while.
The fist bump started as a greeting between the bros decades ago. Then when Barack Obama made his bid for president, the gesture became more mainstream and trendy. Before it became part of the campaign trail, the fist bump was the standard greeting in gyms. And you pulled it out to congratulate somebody.
Now I remember the elbow bump back in the 1980s with the Bash Brothers in Oakland. After you crushed a home run for the Athletics, you greeted your bro with an elbow to elbow greeting. But using the elbow bump to endure a pandemic isn’t new. During the avian flu scare of 2006, the 2009 swine flu pandemic and the Ebola outbreak of 2014 we pulled out this greeting.
The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged health officials to support the elbow bump as an alternative to hand-shaking to reduce the spread of germs.
- In-house workouts
Home gyms I remember as a 5-year-old working out beside my dad with my plastic weights. I grew up with a treadmill, weight bench and dumbbells in my parent’s den.
But once gyms and workout facilities shutdown back in March, the home gym became a necessity. In 2020, live-streaming workout classes put a twist on things. Say it with me… “Peloton!”
This trend has evolved from the early days of watching early morning programming on ESPN with three people sweating on beach towels. Now with Peloton, the evolution is here with live-streaming cycling classes. There is a variety of options joining the classics like the treadmill, weights and elliptical. People dropped large chunks of money to workout at home using their iPad, smartphone, laptop, or smart TV in real time.
Some platforms people have subscribed to are Yogaia, Ompractice, Charge Running, NEOU Fitness, Openfit, HIIT, or Fortë.
This trend is strong but most workouts are fads. A lot of these participants will run back to their gym once the coast is cleared of COVID-19.
- Zoom everything
Office meeting, school conference, even Thanksgiving, just use Zoom. The use of the software jumped 30-fold in April once the global pandemic took shape forcing most of us to work from home. At its peak, the firm counted more than 300 million daily participants in virtual meetings, while paying customers have more than tripled.
Zoom got paid to the tune of billions last year. A Chinese-born software engineer, Mr Yuan started the company in 2011. Less than a decade later the company is worth billions.
Zoom is the go-to platform for big and small companies. Over the holidays it became a convenient way to reach out to family on your phone. But now other similar types of platforms are on the market gaining traction.
But our hope overall it to get back to in-person meetings, family gatherings and having a more personal touch with things. Zoom will always have a place in our society now because we need that option. Will Zoom be the thing in five years or even by the end of 2021? I doubt that.
- Mask on the
The face of 2020 had a mask on it. From company logos to cute sayings to mouths, masks came in multiple styles and designs. Although mask haven’t been mandated everywhere in America, most adults own more than one mask.
So when you have to run to the store real quick or take care of a pop-up errand, you need your mask somewhere convenient with quick access. What better place than your steering column.
Oh placing your mask on the rearview mirror is nice but you can easily get to the door of an establishment just to be told to turnaround. But if you’re in a hurry and you’re rushing out of the car, the mask hanging on your turn signal practically jumps into your hands.
Just a quick glimpse while walking in the parking lot, most cars having the new look of mask on the steering column. Man, woman, old, young, any ethnic group, mask on the steering wheel has trickled into 2021. I pray this trend becomes a tradition from October to March for the rest of my life.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.