Thursday, December 4, 2008

Consumer trends in 2009

Trendwatching just released it's report on important consumer trends for 2009. The abbreviated version is a great summary and highlight a number of key issues which, as savvy marketers, we should all be aware of.

What's weird is that I really don't disagree with any of them. Let's take a look:


Nichetributes - "attributes, features, additions to existing products, making them more practical for specific user groups...a clear signal that the brand gets it...and pays tribute to consumer lifestyles"

I like this one. It's representative of a greater attentiveness on the part of brands to the unique and differentiated needs of their consumers. An examples is a mobile phone that syncs up with your Facebook contacts to provide you with a social network integrated address book.

Luxyoury - Consumer luxury is not what's precious, but what's scarce. Scarce experiences or rare opportunities for consumers to feel a part of something without the traditional act of consuming a rare product will now be perceived as luxurious. "Luxury in 2009 will comprise much, much more than ostentatiously flaunting wealth."

There's greater individual ownership of products and experiences all around. Brands have evolved from selling products which consumers demand, to selling experience which consumers demand because their product is the one being used.

Think about that!


Feedback 3.0 - my favourite trend on the list because it speaks to the social democratization of content. Thinking about the internet's use to provide consumers with a forum for voicing their opinions, Feedback 1.0 ca be understood as the time when "outraged individuals posted scathing reviews" and "brands were unaware or chose not to listen, dismissing these outbursts the way they'd dismissed any kind of customer dissatisfaction for decades."

Feedback 2.0 (our current state), is when consumers share and interact with each other, providing usage suggestions, improvements, and product-related tips. Consumers are having a conversation among themselves, and companies are listening but still not doing anything about it.

Feedback 3.0 occurs when an open dialogue is created online between brands and their consumers. It's when product demonstrations and testing results are used to show proof of effectiveness or directly engage irate commenters with things they've said about the brand. "Expect smart companies to be increasingly able to post their apologies and solutions, preferably directly alongside reviews from unhappy consumers."

Econcierge - refers to the increased use of services to give consumers a chance to assess the environmental impact of their consumption habits and lifestyle. Think of it like a more sophisticated version of an energy efficiency contractor who comes to your house and seals the cracks in your windows that cause drafts.

An awesome example of this is a USB stick that plugs into the dashboard of new Fiat cars. It loads a program into the car's operating system to actively monitor and review your driving skills to improve gas mileage. You drive and the car actually gives you a carbon friendliness score.


Mapmania - maybe it's because I always knew how to read maps and can navigate my way around pretty much anywhere with relative ease that I'm not blown away by the novelty of this fifth trend in 2009. As GPS and 3G mapping applications become more pervasive and integrated into handheld consumer devices (thus enabling geotagging)...consumers are flocking to mapping software to help them immediately find anything they need when they're not sitting in front of a laptop.

Happy ending - no, not that happy ending, you pervs!

"The most important side effect of these austere times is probably that consumers start questioning what truly makes them happy, which more often than not steers them towards the realization that happiness ain't just about traditional consumption." Gen Y loves being. A poor world economic climate can foster optimism about what potential solutions we as consumers can come up with to change things. Innovation is spurred when creative minds who are empowered to be themselves are able to find ways to democratically collaborate. "2009 will be an excellent years for businesses who show consumers that they really care."

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