As someone who watches for trends in technology one of the many sites I frequent is Trendwatching.com. They offer a bevy of free research reports on global Trends with pithy insightful commentary and links. If your not getting their free reports or buying the paid stuff, then your missing out. Their most recent Trend Briefing is by far the best I’ve read so far. They pulled out all the stops for this, their 5th anniversary issue, covering 5 of the hottest trends that are happening right now.
The first is the growth and expansion of Gen Z. This demo / psychographic is a marketers wet dream, a group so large and influential that it makes both Gen X and Gen Y seem like Baby-boomers. Here’s a quote:
Consider this research nugget: a Swiss study has found that when sufficiently exposed to child-friendly brand jingles, tunes and spoken messages during pregnancy, up to 77% of all newborns not only recognize these brand markers, but develop a brand preference that could last until puberty, and probably into adulthood (final results are not yet available as the project only started two years ago).
Now thats brand loyalty and its only the first trend the Briefing covers. The second is even more intriguing a trend which I have personally noticed in many companies. They call it Blandtastic and define it as the “search for unsurprising, unpretentious, unremarkable locales and products”. They have found that this trend is sweeping the US, EU and parts of Asia-Pacific. While Central and South America are lagging behind they are expected to catch-up in the very near future led the somewhat Blandtastic countries of Honduras and Panama.
By far the most disturbing trend the folks at Trendwatching have identified is the growing Eco-fatigue in US consumers. The rage marketing savvy consumers feel against the increasingly corporate green movement is resulting in a collective cry of “Enough already!” As consumer backlash increases and mega brands, always slow to adapt, continue to push a corporate green message “expect many more blue chip brands to bend over and take the fun out of robust, honest products, further alienating consumers who are yearning for authenticity.”
Do you have a pet? If so, you are probably among the growing number of pet owners tired of feeding and caring for the increasingly overweight and over-pampered animals. Pet-passe is what this trend has been dubbed, and it highlights what has to be one of the most important shifts in consumer behavior to come along in many years. Again Trendwatching.com put it best:
From BusinessWeek’s Pet Economy special to CNN’s Luxury Pet Hotels piece, the pet industry certainly seems to be flying high. But as always, what goes up, must come down. In pet capitals like Sao Paulo and Perth, the word is that pets are, well, passé. And interestingly enough, it’s the same people who propelled the pet trend to untold heights that are now deflating it: older baby boomers and 30-something singles, who for years have embraced pets as surrogate partners and children.
It’s these households of one that are discovering that to be truly independent and free, to really focus on ‘Me, Myself and I’, it doesn’t help to have an animal around, needing 24/7 care and attention. Not to mention the cost of having to provide food, medical care and so on; money that is obviously better spent on travel, dinners or spa treatments.
I think these are some of the most important trends to be watching out for as you build your online or offline business. The impact Gen Z and Blandtastic will have on the marketing of any new product or service will be profound and lasting. While, reversing the negative impact of corporate greening of the environmental movement is going to be critical to keeping consumers involved and active in the fight against global warming.