How brands are shaping consumers’ DIY routines

Baking bread, experimenting with home-made skin care, or cultivating an (indoor) garden. What do-it-yourself (DIY) projects did you take on during lockdown? Rest assured, you were not alone in your pursuit of personal fulfillment. As witnessed in our global qualitative COVID-19 consumers community, many of us embraced this period of quarantine to explore new interests and enjoy the simple things in life. The limited access to usual pastimes accelerated the DIY trend and led to the rise of ‘Consumer Creators’ or ‘Prosumers’.

Self-reliance as an act to take control

The worldwide pandemic has introduced a lot of uncertainties, making people feel lost and afraid. In an attempt to regain control over their lives, consumers experimented with being more self-reliant (e.g. baking their own bread or making their own skin mask) as a way to be independent and thus in control. On top of that, fact seems that the sharing (of these creator projects) on social media boosts the brain’s feel-good chemical dopamine. And it’s that welcoming boost of positivity that has fueled the rise of ‘prosumerism’ during this unprecedented crisis. But also for post-lockdown times, consumers express the intention to keep up their new (DYI) habits, as expressed by this Philippine youngster who raves about the joy of home-cooked meals:

“Cooking your own meals makes a TON of difference. Aside from the fact that I get to eat delicious and nutritious food in the comfort of my own home, there’s also a feeling of accomplishment whenever you finish such a task. Sure, it’s a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’re sure to enjoy every last bit of what you cook.”

Philippines, 18-24

From soothing cravings to battling ‘lockdown hair

As social feeds were flooded with pictures of home-made kimchi, sourdough bread and fancy home-cooked meals, brands and businesses were forced to rethink their business models. So, how did they service consumers in their new DIY routines?

In the food sector, restaurants did not only offer take-out as a response to their consumers’ cravings, but also cooking kits. Burger chain Patty & Bun was among the first to provide such a meal box, the quarantine patty box, to help soothe the craving for cheeseburgers. Similarly, Burger King in France shared the ingredient list of the Whopper, their signature burger, to support their fans in making their own ‘quarantine version’ while waiting for the return of the real thing. Of course, home-cooked efforts need to be complemented with an appropriate drink. In the US, online retailer Uncommon Goods offers a variety of make-at-home drink sets, including beer, wine, gin, cocktails and even Bubble Tea kits. A sweet craving after a home-made meal? Magnum partnered up with Deliveroo to deliver a ‘DIY make my Magnum’ kit to consumers’ doorstep, including a handy guide to lead consumers through their creative experience with ice cream toppings.

A free make-your-own Magnum kit is here | Latest news | Hot Dinners

With more time on their hands, or out of pure necessity (think ‘lockdown hairstyles’), people started revising their beauty rituals, prioritizing skin care over make-up and experimenting with home-made skin products. New beauty brand Face-Kit debuted during the corona crisis with a powder-based face-mask kit. The kit includes everything from mask ingredients, mixing bowl and brush to cleansing cloth. Face-Kit even includes a short meditation, allowing users to enjoy a 10-minute guided meditation while the mask is doing the work.

Deconstructed Face Masks : plant based face mask

With ‘lockdown hairstyles’ being a trending topic on social media, hair brand Bleach organized a digital hair salon to support clients in their DIY hair endeavors. During their virtual ‘hair parties’, expert stylists gave advice on individual hair needs and color choices.

Similarly, skin products brand Kiehl’s launched virtual consultations to support their consumers in finding the products that are best suited for their needs.

In fashion, the existing trends of customization and upcycling spiked during COVID-19. Workwear brand Dickies tapped into their young consumers’ creative energy by sending its Dickies Girl collection to the design duo Zig Zag Goods who reworked the pieces on Instagram Live. These live customization workshops became a hit with many youngsters, who reached out to the duo after the session with questions about techniques and materials. This allowed both Dickies and the designers to reach new audiences and inspire other young people to customize their clothes.

Finally, entertaining children – responsibly – is a real challenge for parents who are juggling professional and family responsibilities. Dyson picked up on this friction and developed 44 engineering challenges for children, from making a balloon-powered car to building a bridge with spaghetti. These educational activities encouraged the young minds to explore and learn in a fun way, while alleviating the parents’ burden to foresee creative and useful pastimes.

Dyson devises 44 engineering challenges for children during lockdown

While being confined at home, consumers sought and found fulfillment in many DIY passions, from cooking to self-care, home improvement, kids entertainment, and even DIY fashion. However, whether these new interests will turn into habits that stick is something only future will tell.

Tune in and hear from Joeri Van den Bergh (Future Consumer Expert & co-founder InSites Consulting) and Sarah Van Oerle (our COVID-19 Community Manager) what consumers envision as their new reality. Consumers Unmasked: Insights into an evolving COVID-19 reality!

Interested in tapping into your own consumers unmasked community? Check out our dedicated COVID-19 online community approach and get in touch!

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