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Looking back:

Brands that defined 2020

How do you sum up a year like 2020? While these past 11 months have been era-defining, it's not easy to find a single word or sentiment that can sum up a year that has encompassed a global pandemic, a worsening environmental crisis and international protests against police brutality.

So as the year draws to a close, instead of attempting to sum up 2020 with a ranking of the top launches we have spotted, we have instead curated a list of brands that we feel reflect the mood of 2020 and the way consumer mindsets are evolving.

The launch of brands like Topicals and Radswan demonstrate the ongoing focus that new beauty companies have on serving customers beyond the white millennial. Meanwhile, brands are continuing to move ideas in the health and wellness spaces forward, from Loftie's light-powered alarm clock that works with our circadian rhythms to Emme's smart pill case that pushes a notification to its owner's smartphone when they forget to take their meds.

Others are more overtly capitalising on the fact our lives have, for the majority of this year, been centred around our homes, whether we are busy making sourdough loaves or scrambling to get our home offices set up.

The pandemic has also provided an opportunity for some traditionally boring categories to flourish. Sales of items like hand sanitiser (which rose 300% in March), face masks (up 510% between Q1 and Q2, although now starting to slow), toilet paper (up 700% from February to March) and even kettlebells have all skyrocketed.

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