As the New Year progresses, clients and agencies alike are scrambling to predict which course consumer habits will follow. Lucky for us here at Phelps, our Research and Strategy team has put together a list of the top 5 consumer trends they predict will take shape in 2017. Check back every Tuesday for our #StrategySquad's trend forecast for the coming year!
Maya says… 'Experience 4.0 Will Dominate"
What does this mean? Consumers are seeking enhanced experiences that blur the lines between the real and artificial environments more than ever before. Recent advancements in computer software have made technology such as virtual and augmented reality more popular because they don't subscribe to traditional technological constructs.
An example of this is… Coca-Cola 12 pack included a cutout VR headset holder where you can insert your smart phone to have a virtual experience.
What this suggests for your brand: Experiences are intangible but usually evoke emotions within a person. Think of ways you can put your consumer within your brand's narrative. This will allow your consumer to feel like a part of your brand which, in turn, will build loyalty and affinity.
Laura says… "Waste will be completely redefined."
What does this mean? The definition of waste has expanded to not only include food, but also time and resources. To capitalize off this, brands will have to optimize their processes and inefficiencies, while thinking of creative and beneficial ways to maximize sustainability.
- An example of this is… In Brazil, an NGO called Banco de Alimentos utilizes various food delivery services to allow consumers to both receive their food orders and give back donations to the delivery driver, saving time, money and additional wasted food resources while engaging their customers to participate in a greater communal cause.
What this suggests for your brand: Think of how your brand can become more resourceful whether in process, materials or time. Resourcefulness will show your consumer that you are aware of America's wastefulness and that you will not be part of the problem.
Desiree says… "People will seek to break their barrier of interests, demographics, and experiences."
What does this mean? Consumers will be looking to obtain new knowledge and new perspectives about the world around them. This will lead to an increase in consumer empathy, as well as a more holistic view of society and a broadening of horizons.
- An example of this is… Google Chrome developed a web browser extension called Escape Your Bubble This extension replaces the repetitive, one-sided content that clutters users' Facebook feeds with reliable, newsworthy articles that provides users a more diverse and balanced perspective. Its main goal is to challenge users to change their worldview and be more considerate of the other demographics and conflicting opinions that provides users a more diverse and balanced perspective.
What this suggests for your brand: With this trend, think of ways your brand can disrupt your consumers' silos and offer new perspectives. The underlying theme of this trend is empathy so show your consumers you are empathetic to their needs/wants or facilitate a dialogue among unlikely people.
Tori says… "Convenience will be regarded as the ultimate luxury."
What does this mean? Consumers are seeking seamless and time saving endeavors, with the main goal of achieving the same results in a more efficient and cost effective manner. The desire for automation and a hassle-free lifestyle will be first and foremost in consumers' mindsets when making those all-too-important decisions at the register.
- An example of this is… The Snoo Smart Sleeper is a smart crib designed to automatically respond to a distressed baby through soothing rocking movements and white noise sounds. It is designed to ease the struggles and stress of sleep for both the baby and their parents.
What this suggests for your brand: The definition of luxury has changed in the everyday world. So anticipate your consumers' needs and wants. Your consumers are looking for quick solutions so if your brand doesn't provide one, they will seek a brand that will.
Laura says..."Consumers will be more conscious of a brand's positive action."
What does this mean? Consumers are becoming more conscious of social issues and want to support brands that are working towards mending or changing society for the better. They don't want artificial empathy, but rather brands that are genuinely committed to remedying a social issue relevant to their consumers.
- An example of this is… Starbucks began and original series of podcasts, short stories, and videos called Starbucks Upstanders. This series showcases everyday people implementing positive change in their communities, inspiring listening consumers to act in compassionate and generous ways in their respective communities.
What this suggests for your brand: Consumers are looking for more than a quick donation to a charity. Figure out how your brand can speak on behalf of your consumers' to address society's ills. In these times, consumers are looking to brands more than ever.
The world is changing faster than ever and, as marketers, our job is to help brands set the pace, not just run to catch up. The key to implementing consumer trends successfully is to determine which ones fit, uniquely and naturally, with your brand and then determine how the trend can be applied in ways that foster affinity and growth. Keep in mind, there is a difference between being timely and relevant with trends and being trendy. Brands which offer continuous evolution fueled by a deep understanding of consumers' needs are the ones that will continue to succeed in our ever-moving marketplace.
Mintel North America 17 Consumer Trends
Trendwatching 2017 Trend Report
CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights