Do you sometimes wish you had a crystal ball to figure out what the next consumer trends will be?
We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have the next best thing: five trends to watch for in 2017, thanks to TrendWatching.com. By examining new innovations, the organization has come up with a list that predicts what consumers will look for in the coming year.
1. Virtual experience economy
In the past few years, the experience economy—an opportunity for consumers to experience things such as concerts or vacations—has grown. The next step will be the virtual experience economy. Why will it be popular? The traditional limitations of cost, accessibility and personal capacity will no longer apply. All the consumer will need is time.
Examples: Music group ABBA is planning a virtual tour in 2018; Alibaba, an online retailer, launched Buy+, a virtual reality shopping experience that can make customers feel as if they are in Macy’s in New York.
2. Worlds apart
In the modern era of globalization, people will fall into two camps—New Global Citizens, who like the idea of an interconnected world, and Nation Nurturers, those who favor the familiar. “This isn’t an easy trend to tackle by any stretch,” the online article says. “It requires deep thinking about who you are as a brand and who your customers are (or want to be).”
Examples: Copenhagen-based travel website Momondo posted a video that highlighted the hidden racial diversity that exists in the DNA of all individuals; Singapore-based Tiger Beer set up a pop-up store in New York’s Chinatown, called Tiger Trading Co., to redefine Asian stereotypes by showcasing products from the worlds of art, fashion, technology and design, representing more than 700 artists from Asia; Starbucks launched Upstanders, an original series of podcasts, short stories and videos that highlights individuals across the United States who work to make a difference in their communities with the goal of uniting Americans during election season.
3. Incognito individuals
In a digital world, anonymity has its benefits and drawbacks. In the coming year, companies will help amplify the benefits and eliminate the drawbacks so that everyone can have fair and equal treatment.
Examples: Interviewing.io, a U.S.-developed platform for engineers to practice technical job interviews, has voice-masking software that disguises the voices of both the candidate and the interviewer; Candid, an anonymous chat app, filters out abusive posts (no trolls allowed) and unsubstantiated rumors.
4. Capacity capture
Sustainability has become an important value to today’s consumer. Now smart companies are taking it a step further by finding new ways to eliminate any waste.
Examples: United Kingdom’s Nissan electric vehicle owners can sell excess power back to the National Grid; São Paulo-based food bank Banco de Alimentos launched Reverse Delivery, an initiative that asks customers if they want to donate any food to the needy when they order restaurant food to be delivered. When the driver drops off food, customers give them their canned food donation for the food bank.
5. Big Brother brands
Today’s technology has the ability to offer personalized service in ways unlike anything before. And while it might sound a bit like George Orwell’s imagined Big Brother, consumers welcome the personalization. It’s predicted that in the coming years, screens will become less important and the voice will become the interface of the future, according to TrendWatching.com. The rise of artificial intelligence assistants (think Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Baidu’s Duer) mean consumers are growing more comfortable with the technology.
Example: Google announced its Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. “Once permission is granted, the USD 129 ‘always-on’ device connects to the user’s Google accounts and scans emails, calendars and files and photos uploaded to Google to check appointments, create lists, add items to a shopping list and more,” the article says. “Via voice commands, users can ask Google Home questions and receive real-time weather, traffic and sports updates.”