Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Social-Lites to Urbanomics: Eleven "crucial" consumer trends for 2011

The just-published list of 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 by consumer analyst Trendwatching is an interesting read. More than one trend, not surprisingly, was borne of the social media revolution. Of particular note for the fashion business is #4: "Made for China (if not BRIC)". This flags the flurry of Western fashion and luxury brands to launch either limited edition products specifically tailored to, or else completely new brands in, the rapidly-developing BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia India, China). Goldman Sachs, which coined the term in 2001, reports that the BRICs have contributed over a third of world GDP growth over the past decade, growing from one sixth to nearly one quarter of the world economy. By 2050, predicts Goldman Sachs, their combined economies could eclipse those of the current richest countries of the world. This year's bespoke BRIC product includes Levi’s Denizen jeans brand for Asians; a 12-unit collection of Christian Dior Lady Blue Shanghai products, including a phone, that was only released in Shanghai; the new Hermès brand Shang Xia and Chloé's limited edition Marcie handbag, launched exclusively in Shanghai stores this month. Here is Trendwatching's 2011 list, complete with a dizzying array of buzzwords. Get with the program.

1. Random Acts of Kindness (aka RAKs) 
Seen as part of the Generation G (for generosity) megatrend, via which companies are using social media to monitor the temperature of consumer moods and acting on this intel with treats, surprises, pampering etc...

2. Urbanomics 
Tapped as "one of the absolute megatrends for the coming decade". Half the world’s population reportedly already lives in urban areas, with 180,000 people moving into cities daily. Research indicates that urban consumers tend to be "more daring, liberal, tolerant, experienced and more prone to trying out new products and services".

3. Pricing Pandemonium
From local discounts to flash sales, member sales, group buying, dynamic pricing and GPS-driven deals, pricing in 2011 will never be the same again according to Trendwatching. Fuelled, of course, by always-on connectivity.

4. Made for China (if not BRIC) See above.

5. Online Status Symbols 
From badges to widgets to Likes to Diggs, any kind of symbol, either virtual or real world, that helps consumers display to peers their online kudos eg connections, popularity. Digi bling in other words.

6. Wellthy 
The rise and rise of the wellness movement.

7. Social-Lites and Twinsumers 
Consumers have become curators in a new media landscape that is fuelled by word of mouth, recommends and person-to-person dynamics. Twinsumers? Consumers with similar consumer patterns and interests.

8. Emerging Generosity
Brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets will increasingly be expected to give, care and join Generation G - as opposed to simply selling and taking. If they don't, the Transparency Triumph will see to it that they are exposed as douches. 

9. Planned Spontaneity 
Getting together has never been easier. An evolution of Nowism, that is connected to Mass Mingling and which hinges on the exploding mobile trend of geo-tagging.

10. Eco Superior 

Products that aren’t just eco-friendly, but supposedly superior in every way to their less green predecessors. Examples include the Stealth Toilet and the new all-electric, zero emissions Renault DeZir that can reportedly reach 100km/h in five seconds. Just watch out for the Vélibs (see #11).  

11. Owner-less
The rise of organised sharing and rental programs, as opposed to outright ownership. Think clothing exchanges and car- and bicycle-sharing programs, such as the hugely popular Vélib bicycle service in Paris (in the picture, above). As documented in the 2010 book What's Mine In Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers.

Head to the Trendwatching website for much greater detail about these and other trends. 


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