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10 consumer trends for this coming year

Trendspotting firm trendwatching.com has been watching the way the wind blows for companies (and consumers) in 2013.

Image: markhillary via Flickr/Creative Commons

THERE ARE SOME people for whom predicting the way the world will turn is more than a New Year’s Day hobby – it’s their entire career. Trendwatching.com is one of these sentiment trackers and they have just released their annual Trend Briefing for the coming year.

As they focus on the world of consumerism, their brief gives insights into how they think we will buy – and be sold to – in 2013. You might want to watch out for some of these…

1. Presumers and Custowners

This picks up on the Fundit or Kickstarter-style model of consumers being asked to get involved at the funding and launch stage of new products. In this way, they feel more invested in a product than they would were they to just buy it off the shelf.

2. Emerging (part 2)

While the US is worried about the strong growth in the Chinese economy, and all exporting countries worry about being able to compete with the low cost of goods produced there, it appears that developing markets will move on from just selling their wares to developed markets (ie, us). They are now targeting their own massive domestic populations.

3. Mobile moments

Smartphones are big news and have been becoming so for the last few days. (Which is why TheJournal.ie spends a great deal of time trying to bring you the best user experience on its iPhone and Android apps). What Trendwatching.com reckons will happen this year is a phenomenon they are dubbing ‘mobile moments’ in which companies will want to provide on-the-go multi-tasking services through smartphones.

4. New life inside

This is an eco-consumer trend for products and services that are not simply recyclable by your local recycling collectors but by the consumer themselves. An example given is ‘Sprout’ pencil which, when it is down to the nub, can be planted – a seed capsule hidden in the tip of the pencil “will dissolve upon contact with water, allowing the seed inside to grow”.

5. Appscriptions

These are apps (again on smartphones and tablets and other mobile devices) which will be given an official stamp of approval by certain health and medical bodies to form part of a treatment regime. For example, the Australian government’s National Prescribing Service has launched an Antibiotics Reminder app so that patients take the exact dosage for the right amount of time.

6. Celebration Nation

Patriotism to one’s cultural heritage should be explored, as apparently brands that are hyperlocal will become a fashion and product trend to watch. Good news for The Gathering then.

7. Data myning

We are becoming aware that most moves we make on the internet are being stored for posterity by certain internet browsers, sites etc. But this year, says Trendwatching.com, will be the one where consumers will say, ‘Okay, if there is so much data out there about my behaviour, why can’t I make use of it?’ To this end, consumers will be “turning to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behaviour and/or save money”.

8. Again made here

Environmental concerns (about transporting goods long distances), the effect of the recession and a desire to support local business is leading to “the spread of new local manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing and make-on-demand”.

9. Full frontal

Or rather full disclosure from brands and companies. This is more than having “nothing to hide” – this is going out of their way to show stats and hard reports that display green credentials or back up claims about buying local produce (in a supermarket chain, for example).

10. Demanding brands

This is a difficult concept for companies, and consumers, as it requires both to take a leap of confidence. This is how Trendwatching describes it:

Expect to witness a daring change in the relationship between ambitious, responsible brands and their customers in 2013. Switched-on brands that are embarking on the much-needed journey towards a more sustainable and socially-responsible future will demand that their customers also contribute, and in doing so earn the respect of even the most hyper-demanding of consumers.

But consumers aren’t going to put themselves out for brands unless they truly believe in the bigger vision. So, in positioning yourself as a DEMANDING BRAND, make sure you’re 100% transparent and sincere. Otherwise, it’s time to stick to being a servile brand.

This example of a Brazilian soccer club getting its followers to support its charitable blood donation campaign is a good example of what they’re talking about.

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