Trendwatching.comis one of the world’s leading consumer-trends firms relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters. They are a great resource for trends and have honed a list of 11 Trend Watching Tips to further develop your trend-watching skills. To stay ahead of the competition in this challenging marketing place, Considered-Purchase Brands must look to 9 of these important trends if they want to find new opportunities for innovation and fulfillment.
1. Random Acts of Kindness
Building upon the golden rule of “it’s always better to give than receive,” this pay-it-forward societal nicety is now a growing trend for companies who want to connect with consumers on a more personal level. For example, Considered-Purchase Brands can engage with potential customers along the buying cycle with a no-strings-attached special offer.
“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) According to Trendwatching’s report, urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced and more prone to trying out new products and services.
For Considered-Purchase Brands, this can mean a more targeted approach to reaching consumers, with specialized campaigns for urbanites, or even tailoring specific products for urban dwellers. For example, BMW’s Megacity vehicle. This considered-purchase is specifically designed for a key audience interested in fuel economy and green living, while still also part of the affluent consumer set who can afford to spend.
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. Brands will continue to respond with a host of innovative new business models and pricing strategies in the next 12 months, building on: Group buying, Member sales, Flash sales, Local discounts and Dynamic pricing.
While you may not immediately think “Flash Mob” when you think “considered-purchase products,” there is something to be said for the last minute dash for savings. Consumers today are constantly connected via mobile devices and other online technologies. With discounts and deals offered very second, even large investment, considered-purchase brands can take part in this latest trend to get consumers to say yes faster.
4. Made for China (If not BRIC)
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)
Like all consumers, these Chinese, Indian, Russian or Brazilian consumers will appreciate products that are tailored to their needs, wants and desires, either for practical reasons (shape, size, features) or because of the deep-rooted desire for recognition (cultural pride, heritage, lifestyles).
In 2011, more ‘Western’ brands will continue to launch new products and even new brands dedicated to consumers in emerging markets. This is especially important for Considered-Purchase Brands moving into the future, and we’ll need to examine the buying cycle dynamics for emerging markets.
5. Online Status Symbols
Similar to the way tell-tale logos and iconic emblems helped to define the status symbols of considered-purchase products, the online world has its own version. In 2011, Considered-Purchase Brands should help generate those online affinities through the virtual status symbols and iconography that will allow brand enthusiasts to post to their profiles and indicate they are part of the “in crowd.”
Another way that some considered-purchase consumers are keeping up with the Joneses is through finding new ways to improve the quality of their lives. More than the biggest, newest, shiniest product, it’s about finding the latest greatest health products and services.
- 73% of US consumers consider being physically fit important to being “well,” with 74% including “feeling good about themselves.” (Source: The Hartman Group, August 2010)
- An estimated 500 million people worldwide are expected to be using mobile healthcare applications by 2015. (Source: Reasearch2Guidance, November 2010)
- There were nearly 17,000 health apps available in major app stores in November 2010, with 57% of them being aimed at consumers rather than health care professionals. (Source: Reasearch2Guidance, November 2010)
- The heaviest use of health or medical related apps is by young adults: about 15% of those aged 18 to 29 have such apps, compared to 8% of users aged 30 to 49. (Source: The Pew Internet Project, October 2010)
For 2011, Considered-Purchase Health and Wellness Brands should look forward to increased opportunities and more receptive consumers as the year progresses.
7. Social-ites and Twinsumers
If 2010 was the Age of Recommendation, then 2011 will be a more specialized and customized age of recommendation as word of mouth success becomes even more dependent on person-2-person dynamics.
As Trendwatching.com reports:
If TWINSUMERS* (consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes, and who are valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and experience) are all about improving “search curation,” SOCIAL-LITES are all about discovery, as consumers become curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences.
This trend is especially important for considered-purchase brands as they engage audiences throughout the buying cycle and recommendations for these high investment/high consequence purchases become even more important. Now consumers don’t want to just read the thoughts and opinions of other consumers, they want to be sure those consumers are of the same like-minds and background — making it an even more credible recommendation.
8. Emerging Generosity
In September 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett hosted a dinner for China’s ultra-rich to promote philanthropy. The event was similar to their efforts to get US billionaires to pledge to give away at least half their wealth, although the two denied that they were recreating the pledge or pressurizing people to give, merely using the event to answer questions and discuss issues around developing a culture of philanthropy. (Source: Washington Post, October 2010.)
Combining the behavior patterns of Generation G(enerosity) with the latest trend of “Random Acts of Kindness” and “Made for BRIC,” consumers from emerging markets are going to continue with the trend of philanthropy and generosity in 2011. This is especially important for considered-purchase brands in these segments. As stated previously, consumers want to engage with companies and brands that are well-rounded members of their community. Companies and brands that give back create the community that consumers are quick to engage with.
In 2009 and 2010, we saw trends showing the need for green. But for many considered-purchase brands who specialize in green products, the purchasing power of “green” has plateaued.
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)
This means that for considered-purchase brands, the marketing messaging has become that much more important. More than being “green,” products must also be great. In 2011, look to see increased marketing trends that help position green products as the “superior” choice, as they are not only eco-friendly, but also superior to traditional products in every other way.
The 2011 TrendWatching.com report included 11 upcoming trends, but these top nine are most pertinent for Considered-Purchase Brands. To read more about all of the trends listed above and the additional trends of Planned Sponteneity and Ownerless, visit the 2011 TrendWatching Report.
How do you see these trends shaping your marketing initiatives next year? Join the conversation below.