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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Guevara

2021 PREDICTIONS? these are the only two that matter

There are many 2021 predictions out there for marketers and advertisers, but after reading many of them and following up by researching consumer and behavioural data, I’ve come to conclude that there are only two key trends that all brands, marketers and advertisers should really pay attention to in 2021.

1. The majority of consumers are still at home

Back in March of 2020 restaurants, gyms, malls, and all non-essential businesses closed their doors to consumers and all of Canada turned to their mobile devices. Almost immediately brands put a stop to all marketing and advertising efforts and scratched their heads. Left without a clue on what to do or how to react to the pandemic, many marketers shrugged and thought that this change in consumer behaviour and the shift in trends would only be temporary. Fast forward to January 2021 and many Canadians are still at home. Mobile performance website App Annie is forecasting that time spent in key “at-home” apps is expected to top 1.3 trillion hours alone in 2021. Those are 1.3 trillion hours that brands can insert themselves in with messaging and advertising, reaching highly targeted consumers.

Some key app types brands should consider advertising in during 2021 are food delivery apps as the majority of Canadians continue to order inn and not dine out resulting in the majority of QSR businesses heavily using food delivery apps to fulfil customer orders. Finance and banking apps will also continue to grow their user base across generations and will be a hot place to advertise in. Other notable apps to consider reaching already engaged consumers are fitness (expected growth of 23% in 2021), education (expected growth of 62% in 2021), business (expected growth of 57% in 2021) and shopping (expected growth of 40% in 2021). App Annie also notes that in 2021 consumers will set a new record for mobile shopping at 1 billion hours spent on mobile devices.

At some point we will all get back to life as we once new it but the time spent at home will have changed the way many consumers shop, how they shop, and where they shop.

2. Canadians are gamers and love streaming video

During Q3 2020, the height of the pandemic in Canada, mobile games saw a 15% spike in weekly downloads and this growth continues to show no signs of stopping. App Annie has also predicted that spend on mobile games will exceed $120 billion in 2021. This increase in revenue is fuelled by modern mobile phone technology and new advances in 5G broadband cellular networks, which will help provide new experiences to gamers that were previously only available on console or PC. This is a big trend to consider for any brand looking to maximize their reach across generations including the younger Gen Z consumer and older boomers.

Currently there are 21.2 million gamers in Canada and they are spending $23.3 billion dollars on gaming, making it the 8th largest market in the world. Additionally, mobile gamers in an older age bracket tend to be influencers within their social circles and hold large purchasing power in their households. These same gamers are also content-hungry Canadians and are consuming content on streaming apps as a direct response. The forecasted result will be an increase of 85% in video streaming app installs during this new year. The demand for new and more curated content will have Canadians seeking out new video streaming apps and streaming providers to fill the void created by theatre closures and the slow production of new episodes of their favourite shows. This shift further prsents brands with more places to reach highly targeted consumers.

There are a lot of great tips for advertising in 2021 but the reality is that the majority of Canadians are still home, and the trends that were once thought to be temporary are here to stay. The modern consumer has changed and with it the customer journey and path to purchase. For brands, 2021 is a time to rethink the customer profile and consider that where Canadians spend their time has changed. Their shopping habits have changed, and their needs and wants have changed.

If in 2021 you’re thinking of new places to reach already engaged consumers in a brand safe environment and in a highly targeted manner then consider mobile in-app advertising as your vehicle to achieving digital advertising success.


Carlos Guevara is the Marketing Manager at APEX Mobile Media, previous host of the podcast "In Search of Good Data" and has helped various organizations in the private and non-profit sector to become more customer-centric with the use of enriched data.



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