The end of COVID is inching nearer.  Millions of us are anxious to celebrate with our families, travel, eat out, take cruises, return to places of worship, attend weddings and enjoy our freedom.

Great news for the world.  But not necessarily good news for any firm that has benefited from the shutdown, particularly those related to services and products for the home.

The second half of 2021 may be cataclysmic for brands that haven’t marketed to drive desire for their brand or built brand equity.  Consumers devoured the internet while they were stuck at home.  But, it was void of marketing from hotels, cruise lines, travel companies, restaurants, medical, amusement parks and many other categories during the pandemic.  It was open season for design and home brands; probably the greatest opportunity for businesses to penetrate the minds of best prospects without hindrance from major brands that, for a short period of time, had nothing to sell.  For almost a year, purveyors of products and services for homes had consumers mostly to themselves.

Everything is about to change. 

The best time may be behind us; but it’s not too late if you’re focused and aggressive.

Typically, business owners forget that consumers have many places where they can spend their money.  And, your competitive set is far larger than imagined.  Except during a pandemic.

And it was the absence of those categories that caused consumers to look inward to the environment in which they were imprisoned.  Consumers spend their disposable dollars wherever they may be – or whoever owns their heart and therefore wallet.  This worked to the benefit of anyone in a business related to residential homes.

It was false demand.  

The impact of COVID, when people were forced to stay home, is reversing itself.  Newton’s third law will take effect “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Those of us, which is the vast majority of us, who were required to stay home are going to get as far from their homes as possible.

Home is a becoming a pain point and negative reminder of what we’ve all been through.  You can expect consumer dollars for home products and services to dry up substantially.  To be clear, as busy as you were over the last year, you can expect the opposite now that consumers aren’t dragooned to remain home.

COVID made it easy for brands in the design and home furnishings industries.  This is about to change dramatically.  It’s time for you to become an aggressive marketer to remain on top of your category.

All the categories that couldn’t serve their clients during the pandemic are coming back, and their marketing machines are revving up.  Hello Disney, Marriott, Delta and thousands of others that had to go dark during the pandemic.    

It’s going to be more difficult than ever to cut through the clutter amid the coming noise.  Worse, it’s going to be very difficult to convince consumers to invest in what they want to escape from.

You may leave your home now.

The messaging across the hospitality categories will be the same ‘you may leave your home now.’  And you can bet they will.

Consumer’s pent-up demand for all they weren’t allowed to do will take precedent.  You’ll soon be fighting for your best prospect’s share of wallet with airlines, resorts and every major ‘experience’ brand including countries!  Their ads will saturate the marketplace pulling dollars that a year ago were destined for products and services related to the home.

The best marketer always wins.

The best marketer always wins regardless of the category.  By the third quarter, it will be very difficult for home brands to catch the eyes and ears of consumers who will be drowning in ads telling them to travel, eat out, visit family; you’re no longer a prisoner of your home.

Those in luxury home will be fine as evidenced by substantial gains made in the private jet industry highlighted in chart above dated May 9, 2021.  The affluent never stopped traveling from home to home.

But, substantial headwinds should be expected for those in mass or upper middle design and home sectors.  The party is coming to a close. 

Marketing big ticket and luxury products or services is about planting seeds.  Don’t delay.  Now is the time for you to start marketing heavily to build brand preference.  The most successful home businesses invest 8% – 15% of gross sales in marketing.  It’s your time to do the same; prepare now for the coming dry spell as consumers rethink what’s important to them.