Following an incredibly challenging 2020, experts are now predicting the U.S. this year will reach its fastest GDP growth rate in nearly 40 years. Driven by a nation eager to reconnect, we may be on the cusp of the fastest economic growth many of us will experience in our careers. If that sounds too good to be true, consider these recent developments:
- The U.S. reached its goal of 200 million vaccinations ahead of schedule.
- Money from the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package has now reached consumers, with more federal spending proposed.
- Stay-at-home orders and stimulus checks have driven a $1.4 trillion increase in personal savings and cash on hand, further fueling pent-up consumer demand.
- New business formations spiked to record levels in 2020, and have remained high so far this year.
The incredible accomplishments of the scientific and public health communities have paved the way for an economic wave no one expected a year ago. The scale and speed of the coming recovery could create a broad surge in consumer demand in the second half of 2021, representing an unprecedented growth opportunity.
In an effort to share the benefits of economic opportunity broadly, Facebook is focused on ensuring that entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, minority-owned businesses and diverse suppliers get access to training and support so they can succeed alongside more established competition.
No matter the size of your business, consider these three thought-starters as you prepare for the next wave of opportunity:
1. Consumers are feeling optimistic
Across Facebook platforms, we've seen exciting evidence of growing consumer confidence. For example, after global spending on travel fell 42% in 2020, conversations in Facebook travel groups recently returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Facebook Groups Data from March 2020 to March 2021.
Anticipation for communal events is building as well. According to Crowdtangle,1 public posts and interactions for a major 2021 U.S. arts and music festival on Facebook and Instagram have reached their highest levels in a year, even though the 2020 event was canceled.
Your challenge is to decide how your company will meet growing demand throughout the year. Have you and your team identified how the coming surge will affect your industry?
2. Connections are different now
Over the past year, people found new ways to celebrate, shop and create from the safety of their homes. For example, people used our platforms to connect with friends, creators, artists and businesses in new, video-rich ways that captured the feeling of being together in person. As a society, we've become more comfortable than ever with hybrid experiences that combine the digital and the physical.
- We saw this happen on Facebook for #Graduation2020, where students around the world hosted virtual ceremonies and parties, and utilized special features and custom filters in Messenger Rooms.
- Innovations in live performance streaming have paved the way for future live or online hybrid events.
- Exercise and cooking from home have both increased dramatically. Similarly, working from home and telehealth services are here to stay.
- Heightened expectations of convenience have changed grocery shopping, leading to an increase in e-commerce shopping.
Given these lasting, fundamental changes, be sure to build in-person and digital flexibility into your growth model for 2021 to connect with people and businesses. Consider which elements of your business have fully adapted to this hybrid expectation, and whether they need to evolve further to keep pace.
3. Ask the right questions now
Your marketing, analytics, finance, operations and communications teams will need to work in concert to fully capitalize on new opportunities this year. Start by asking yourself and your partners these key questions:
- Are our marketing budgets adaptable enough to respond to growth?
- How can we build brand awareness and intent with our campaigns ahead of a spike in activity later this year?
- How can we use measurement and attribution tools to get the performance visibility we need?
- Which elements of our supply chain are vulnerable to a surge in demand?
- Is our customer service team ready for a major spike in communications?
The speed at which change is taking place will catch some by surprise. Those who prepare now have the opportunity to set themselves apart. I encourage you to embrace optimism in your 2021 marketing plan and position your business to make the most of the moment.