Are fourth-quarter celebrations at risk, given the current Coronavirus crisis? That’s a question I’ve been hearing for the past several weeks. It was top-of-mind as I prepared The Return to Happy Holidays™, my seasonal color and trend forecast for Halloween, Harvest and Christmas assortments.
If Easter is any guide, we know that consumers will still celebrate. The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics in early April went back to consumers surveyed about Easter in March. Through targeted questions, they learned that 77% of Americans still planned to find ways to celebrate Easter. This number is remarkably similar to the 80% of consumers who have planned to do so over the prior 14 years.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, I believe that Halloween, Harvest and Christmas will actually hold greater meaning than they have in the past. The longing for cheer and a new appreciation for family and friends, experienced by so many of us now, will certainly persist half a year or so from now. In fact, these emotions will be amplified for some time to come.
Our behaviors will also change. Now that we can’t even trust the air we breathe, now that we regularly do things like disinfect our groceries before putting them away, door-to-door Halloween trick-or-treating may not survive. Harvest hayrides and pumpkin picking may become reservation-only events, so only those who know and trust each other—families or close friends—are together at any given time. Fun/pretty/colorful face masks may be among the top stocking stuffers for 2020 and beyond.
With our attitudes and priorities altered, perhaps permanently, how we celebrate will see changes. These changes will inform the trend assortments that consumers are drawn to.
For example, nothing with blood and gore will be a great trend fit for Halloween. People will have had enough of fear and death by the time October rolls around. In the case of Christmas, trends that are too opulent have the most potential to fall away, especially now that so many people have seen their incomes shrink. Trends like these did not feature in the my seasonal forecast.
In their place are looks evoking memories of simpler times. Nostalgia is also a reference point—and don’t forget that nostalgia looks different for each generation. Personal renewal is another key topic. So are lighthearted themes. Trends like these give consumers tacit permission to be happy, to smile again and to be joyful. Furthermore, assortments that deliver in this way are positioned not only to help consumers with much-needed emotional healing, but also to be successful at retail. I have provided inspiration and details for these topics, plus others in The Return to Happy Holidays.
To see more of my insights on color, material and design trends, follow @trendcurve on Instagramand Michelle Lamb on LinkedIn. Click here to learn more about the 14 trends in my fourth-quarter seasonal forecast, The Return to Happy Holidays.