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To plan for the new year, marketers typically turn to the most recent year’s data and insights to identify emerging trends and figure out which consumer behaviors are likely to stick around.

With a pandemic creating profound social, economic, and technological shifts, making sense of 2020 might seem a near impossible task. But many of the changes that took place last year were not fundamentally new. Instead, the pandemic acted as a catalyst to accelerate behaviors already underway. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in consumers’ increased integration of digital technology into all aspects of their lives — including e-commerce, entertainment, education, and telemedicine.

This past year also saw a worldwide push for social justice, one that had implications for brands across the globe.

The effects of these external catalysts aren’t just going to disappear at year’s end. To get ready for 2021 and beyond, marketers will need to embrace agility over certainty, make data and analytics part of their business process and provide customers with a more personal and seamless experience — all while reassuring and reminding people that businesses are getting the basics right.

How do we know this? Google has taken a look back at billions of search queries from 2020, as well as consumer behaviors, surveys, and interviews, and landed on five key insights.

Take a deeper dive into the consumer research and data below.