From ‘urban pride’ to ‘forced sustainability’, according to trendwatching.com, even cautious consumers will crave pragmatic or exciting innovations in 2010.
1. BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL: When the downturn ends, there won’t be a return to ‘business as usual’. This year, prepare for ‘business as unusual’ as for the first time, there’s a global understanding, if not a feeling of urgency that sustainability, in every possible meaning of the word, is the only way forward.
In mature consumer societies, companies will have to do more than just embrace the notion of being a good corporate citizen. To truly prosper, they will have to ‘move with the culture’. This may mean displaying greater transparency and honesty, or having conversations as opposed to one-way advertising, or championing collaboration instead of an us-them mentality.
2. URBANY: Extreme urbanization will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world. Urban culture is THE culture. A forever-growing number of more sophisticated, more demanding, but also more try-out-prone, super-wired urban consumers are snapping up more ‘daring’ goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations. And thanks to near-total online transparency of the latest and greatest, those consumers opting to remain in rural areas will be tempted to act and shop online like urban consumers.
3. REAL-TIME REVIEWS: Whatever new product or service gets launched in 2010, it will be reviewed in real time. In short, with even more people sharing everything they do, buy, listen to, watch, attend, wear and so on, and with even more search engines and tracking services making it easy to find and group these ‘live dispatches’ by theme, topic or brand, this year will see ready-to-buy consumers tapping into a live stream of first-hand experiences from fellow consumers.
Just because they can, consumers who will need more specifics after reading a review, will want to get in direct touch with the reviewer – and because of the self-selecting nature of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, these direct conversations will actually be welcomed by the reviewer. By posting reviews for his peers, he or she is almost angling for a follow-up. This will lead to real conversations between like-minded customers and potential buyers, without the brand even being able to monitor what’s being said about its products, let alone being able to respond.
4. (F)LUXURY: With status symbols becoming more fragmented, luxury is whatever consumers want it to be in 2010. After all, what constitutes luxury is closely related to what constitutes scarcity and beyond the basic needs, scarcity is in the eye of the beholder, especially those beholders who are desperately trying to be unique.
So don’t worry about missing out on the next big thing in luxury, focus on defining it. How? By finding and coining the right (status) trigger for the right audience. Just declare that the end is nigh for anything that’s getting a little too affordable, too accessible, too polluting, or just too well-known. Then introduce something very different, appealing to the in-crowds who are ready to jump ship anyway.
5. MASS MINGLING: Online lifestyles are fueling and encouraging ‘real world’ meet-ups like there’s no tomorrow, shattering all cliches and predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future. More people than ever will be living large parts of their lives online in 2010. Yet, those same people will also mingle, meet up, and congregate more often with other ‘warm bodies’ in the offline world. In fact, social media and mobile communications are fueling a MASS MINGLING that defies virtually every cliché about diminished human interaction in our ‘online era’.
The opportunity is obvious: Anyone involved with anything that helps people get and stay in touch, that gets people from A-Z, or that accommodates those people before, during or after meeting-up with others, should not only rejoice in MASS MINGLING, but make it even easier for customers to meet up in any possible way.
6. ECO-EASY: In 2010, corporations and governments will force consumers to be more green by restricting the alternatives. Say goodbye to consumer choice.
While the current good intentions of corporations and consumers are helpful, serious eco-results will depend on making products and processes more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for consumers and companies to opt for less sustainable alternatives to begin with.
7. TRACKING & ALERTING: First of all, TRACKING & ALERTING is the new searching, as it saves consumers time, makes it impossible to forget or miss out, and thus ultimately gives them yet another level of control. Count on everything being tracked and alerted on: from friends (MASS MINGLING) to enemies, fuel prices, flights, authors, pizzas, and any mentions of oneself.
The real opportunity this year? TRACKING and ALERTING is something that consumers actually need and want, that delights them, that they crave. They are quite literally asking for relevant information, even giving you permission to provide them with more.
8. EMBEDDED GENEROSITY: Generosity as a trend will further adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative charity.
It incorporates all giving initiatives that make giving and donating painless, if not automatic. On top of that, with collaboration being such an integral part of the zeitgeist, expect lots of innovative corporate giving schemes that involve customers by letting them co-donate and/or co-decide.
9. PROFILE MYNING: With hundreds of millions of people now nurturing their online profiles, 2010 will be about consumers making money from these profiles, from intention-based models to digital afterlife services.
What insights can we possibly add to the avalanche of intelligence available on where social media is going? Here’s one modest attempt: the importance of owning and making the most (financially) of personal profiles. And no, we’re not referring to companies and advertisers making money from personal profiles, even though they’re dying to ‘mine’ personal data to serve up ‘relevant’ ads, but rather profile mining by its rightful owners, i.e. consumers.
10. MATURIALISM: 2010 will be even more opinionated, outspoken and raw than 2009; thank the anything-goes online world for that. Your audience can handle much more quirkiness, more daring innovations, more risqué communications and conversations, more exotic flavors and so on than traditional marketers could have ever dreamed of. In short; audiences in mature consumer societies no longer tolerate being treated like yesteryear’s uninformed, easily shocked, inexperienced, middle-of-the-road consumer.
For more information visit the website www.trendwatching.com