Will The 21st Century Have Its «Roaring Twenties»?

Last year, liters of ink (and millions of bytes) ran to talk about the negative effects that the health crisis derived from the COVID-19 pandemic would have for almost all aspects of our lives. Now that vaccines are beginning to be applied in various parts of the globe, voices begin to be heard that envision what the world will be like when the health situation we suffer today ends.

To try to describe future patterns of social behavior we usually take a look at similar processes in the near past. The previous health emergency that broke the planet was the 1918-1920 flu. Like the epidemic caused by the Sars-Cov2 virus, mobility and physical coexistence between people was limited. Photos of families with all members wearing face masks and of wards with dozens of prostrate patients seem so close and familiar to us today.

What followed the lockdowns of that time was a time that various experts have called the Roaring Twenties. Society was thrown into a whirlwind of joy and frugality financed by unprecedented economic growth and the initiation of consumer financing plans. Nightlife, consumption, music and radio had prosperous years then.

However, the environment back then was not limited to a disease with planetary implications. The First World War ended in 1918 and civil wars were taking place in various parts of the globe that would define the destiny of some States; was the case of the U.S.S.R. and Mexico. These facts plus others that we will not list in this text indicate that it is somewhat risky to anticipate a trend like the Roaring Twenties for the decade that is beginning.

What remains for market researchers with the above scenario? It is true that fatigue due to restrictive measures and anxiety to recover normalcy in the face of measures taken by various countries will have consequences. The first we suffer are demonstrations in various cities against going ahead with the confinements and partial and total closures of various turns. So it is not unreasonable to hypothesize about an upcoming period of restorative «debauchery».

This can translate into new patterns of choice and consumption of products and services that cannot go unnoticed by consumer scholars. To the extent that we anticipate the needs and aspirations of people, brands and companies can be proactive and be allies in rebuilding a world that today is stressed and fearful.

We are challenged to redefine processes and behaviors in search of a safer environment for the world and people. COVID-19 was a sign that short-term global actions are possible. The lessons that this moment leaves us will continue with us for many years: better and more sanitary measures, more informed purchasing decisions, prioritizing expenses, and valuing contact with loved ones will be trends that we will live with or without a new Roaring Twenties.