2011 Trends to Get on Board With

‘Trendwatching’ Sets Table for 2011 Main Courses

Trendwatching.com, the “independent and opinionated” website of world trends, has issued their “11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011,” and they are thought-provoking and well-researched. Here’s a summary.

1. “Random Acts of Kindness.” Trendwatching advises businesses to “pick up the tab” once in a while or offer consumers a “surprise gift” as ways to connect in 2011—“especially beleaguered consumers in North America, Europe and Japan.” They say that acts of kindness will go a longer way—via social networks. (This is a bit like the idea of finding your evangelists.) Two examples: Interflora sending flowers to tweeters who need a pick-me-up; and KLM giving personalized gifts to their passengers. (They look online to find information about you. Would I be redundant in saying that times have changed?)

2. “Urbanomics.” Half the world’s population lives in urban areas, according to Intuit. By nature, these folks will be a little more willing to try new products and services. “…go for products, services, experiences or campaigns that tailor to the very specific (and often more refined, more experienced) needs of urbanites worldwide, if not city by city,” Trendwatching writes.

3. “Pricing Pandemonium.” The group-buying phenomenon is changing habits worldwide (Groupon and Living Social in the U.S., for example, and and Daily Deal in Germany.) Trendwatching also cites time-limited offers (Twitter flash sales) and “innovative dynamic pricing models, such as the U.S.-based Off and Away, which auctions hotel rooms, and Swoopo, a German ‘entertainment shopping’ site where every bid placed extends the auction’s time period.”

4. “Made for China (If Not Bric).” This one is pretty self-explanatory. Do you have something that can be marketed in China? I would add India (where there are more English speakers).

5. “Online Status Symbols.” How wired are you? Trendwatching predicts that we’ll be seeing more and more online symbols that show just how connected—or not—we really are. “U.S.-based CrowdedInk offers an app that allows users to generate mugs filled with pictures of their Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Users only need to enter their username, and a preview of the mug is automatically generated in minutes.” (Uh-oh. Time to get some younger Facebook friends.)

6. “Wellthy.” This one is particularly important to many SIPA members involved in the health field. “An estimated 500 million people worldwide are expected to be using mobile healthcare applications by 2015. (Source: Reasearch2Guidance, November 2010)” Trendwatching also points to the influx of portable monitoring technologies, medical social networks and products with “embedded health benefits.” “The Strollometer is a device that tracks all aspects of a new mother’s strolling routine,” for example.

7. “Social-Lites and Twinsumers.” This seems to be about the old line, “Everyone’s a critic.” Because in a way, we are now. Trendwatchers calls our new roles “curators,” meaning we are building our own brand with everything that we do, whether it’s tweeting about a movie we enjoyed, clicking “like” on Facebook or endorsing someone on LinkedIn.

8. “Emerging Generosity.” “…86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests.” Giving is becoming more and more expected, according to Trendwatchers. “This year, any brand or individual doing exceptionally well, will be expected to join GENERATION G[enerosity]. Thanks to shifts in power and a relentless TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH, the ones who don’t know how to give will have no excuses left and nowhere to hide.”

9. “Planned Spontanaeity.” This one is pretty interesting. Trendwatching predicts that more and more people will continue to sign up for all the social networks, as long as they are still getting worthwhile benefits. So I’ll give you more of my personal information—like where I am all the time—if you tell me what or who is waiting for me there.

10. “Eco-Superior.” “…expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way.” Trendwatching provides an example of the famous Cinque Terre towns in Italy now banning plastic water bottles on hikes. Instead visitors can purchase metal flasks. Better—and better for us.

11. “Owner-less.” We will see more and more of the “Netflix treatment,” Trendwatching writes. “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.” They point to car-sharing companies like Zipcar in the U.S. “Daimler has added Hamburg and Austin, Texas, following the successful pilot of their car2go pilot in Ulm (Germany)…Peugeot launched its Mu ‘mobility’ service in the UK after successful launches in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.” Bicycle sharing programs are everywhere now, including Washington, D.C., London, Minnesota’s Twin Cities and across the Ruhr in Germany.

Again, check out the full article. They do a great job with links.

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