Trendwatching.com Releases Top Consumer Trends for 2011

Trendwatching.com, one of the world’s leading consumer trends firm, has released their top 11 Consumer Trends for 2011.  Here are some highlights:

1.     Random Acts of Kindness

According to Trendwatching.com, there’s no better way for a brand to put its money where its mouth (or heart) is than engaging in Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.). “Consumers' cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with (potential) customers in 2011.” Fueling the R.A.K. trend is brands’ ability to actually know what’s happening in consumers’ lives as people disclose more and more about their daily lives on Facebook and Twitter.

2.       Urbanomics

Urbanization remains one of the absolute mega trends for the coming decade. Here's just one telling stat: “Today, half the world’s population – 3 billion people – lives in urban areas. Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year.” (Source: Intuit, October 2010). “Catering to city-citizens in these vast urban entities requires a local, dedicated approach in products, services and campaigns.”

3.       Pricing Pandemonium

While consumers have always looked out for special offers and discounts, new technologies and services mean that 2011 will see total PRICE PANDEMONIUM. More consumers are constantly connected, and when they hear about new deals online can quickly and easily spread them through their social networks. Increasingly, consumers will be part of exclusive networks or groups to either receive special deals. Mobile devices increasingly enable consumers to find or receive dynamic deals right at the point of sale, or to compare prices online.  

4.       Made for China (if not BRIC)

Expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets. After all, it's where the money is right now, and Western brands are still favored over local ones. Affluent Chinese consumers prefer foreign brands: 52% of consumers whose annual income exceeds RMB 250,000 (USD 36,765) trust foreign brands more than Chinese ones while just 37% said they prefer the latter. (Source: McKinsey, September 2010)

5.       Online Status Symbols

Trendwatching.com reports that we'll see a rise in online status symbols in the next 12 months (after all, status symbols reflect the zeitgeist like nothing else). What started with showing off the number of visitors to one's Flickr pages or blog now also encompasses the number of one's Facebook friends (or any other social network), Twitter followers, Foursquare check-ins and a host of other metrics that indicate one's 'wiredness'.  Supply your  customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world' that

6.     Wellthy

Growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services to improve their quality of life, rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments.  “Consumerization” of health means that more consumers will choose products with embedded health benefits. An example is the “Sleep On It” mobile app that allows users to track their nightly sleeping patterns. The free tool can determine what factors may be affecting their sleep and how much sleep they need each night to feel rested and energized.

7.      Social-ites and Twinsumers

In 2011, word of mouth and recommendations will be even more dependent on peer to peer dynamics. I TWINSUMERS are consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes, and who are hence valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and experience.  SOCIAL-LITES are curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences. Opportunities for brands that create engaging content that consumers want to share, or that have personalities that actually engage consumers will be bigger than ever.

8.     Emerging Generosity

EMERGING GENEROSITY  is about brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) who will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale. It's a profound cultural change and a consumer demand that their counterparts in mature markets have had a few years to getting used to. 86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests.

9.     Planned Spontaneity

Two years ago, trendwatching.com highlighted NOWISM: consumers' lust for instant gratification being fuelled by ever quicker, more accessible real-time products and services. In 2011, expect to see consumers rushing to sign up to services (the PLANNED part) that allow for endless and almost effortless MASS MINGLING with friends, family, colleagues or strangers-who-may-become-friends-or-dates (the SPONTANEITY part ;-)  For consumers, knowing where they are and what's / who's around them is the key to PLANNED SPONTANEITY. That's about to get a whole lot easier, as geo-location becomes a key feature of social networks and web apps.

10.      Eco Superior

When it comes to 'green consumption', expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way. Think a combination of eco-friendly yet superior functionality, superior design, and/or superior savings. Why the need for ECO-SUPERIOR? The number of consumers actively seeking out 'green' products is reaching a plateau, as mainstream consumers start to question the value and efficiency of going green.  While 40% of consumers say they are willing to purchase green products, only 4% of consumers actually do when given the choice. (Source: Journal of Marketing, September 2010)

11.     Owner-less

Brands like Rent the Runway (fashion) and Avelle (handbags - formerly Bag, Borrow or Steal) and P1(luxury cars) have shown that for many consumers, access is better than ownership. For consumers, the appeal is obvious: Traditional ownership implies a certain level of responsibility, cost and commitment. Consumers looking for convenience and collecting as many experiences as possible want none of these things.  Fractional ownership and leasing lifestyle businesses offer the possibility of perpetual upgrades to the latest and greatest and allow consumers to access otherwise out-of-reach luxuries.

Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world's leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.

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