What does the customer of tomorrow want? I was at the launch of futurist Elina Hiltunen’s new book and petification was the morning’s first consumer trend. Elina identifies and explains 18 consumer trends that can have an impact on you, me and on different businesses through us.
The trends already exist – it’s a question of how well we identify them and can we put them to use in for example developing new services or developing existing ones? Megatrends are the big changes that are already having an impact and have been taken into account in several business fields – population growth, digitalization, longer life expectancy etc. Trends on the other hand are changes of direction in behavior or situations. And weak signals are the first signs of change, the rising phenomen (Hiltunen, 2017, 56).
The following are the trends that I picked up from Elina.
Changes of direction
Petification – digitalization is here as well. Smart devices are entering the pet industry – – PetPace helps you observe your pet’s health and TailTalk sensor the feelings of your pet. In USA you can purchase the lazy dogwalker’s Pooper-service – the scooper will take care of picking up the organic waste for you for a price of 15 dollars per month. And you can buy a genetically engineered aquarium fish that glows in the dark as a Xmas present.
Hello Kitty business class on the airplane is all about the trend of taking care of your inner child and the need to stay young, relaxed and experimental. The soft throwable mike belongs in theis trend as well. The perfect me -trend includes sharing your own views and opinions with bigger audiences – hate talk is the negative side of this and brave acts the positive one. We are many –trend manifests itself in the courage to be yourself – being different and non-perfect makes us more interesting.
There’s no typical consumer
Something for everyone – the positive side of this trend is that even a niche segment can be interesting for a company when in global scale. Stereotypes are breaking down – in her book Elina Hiltunen mentions an interesting example – the physical change of the barbie for a healthier and more real look. And barbie’s friend sits in a wheelchair.
Also the aspects of getting old are changing – at my hairdresser’s I stumbled across Ari Seth Cohen’s superb book Advanced Style. Older & wiser – all the models are over 70 with an attitude.
The new and weird – what stuck with me was the KFC nail polish that tastes like chicken…Well, IKEA is already selling bikes and insurance and OP Bank is into transportation and leasings cars.
Digital and smart device consumers – as our consuming is digitalizing and we’re leaving trails online, more and more information is at the same time gathered about us, our behavior and interests. Hello Barbie seeks answers to your questions from the cloud services and on the other hand the old fashioned printed book is coming again. The temple of mind, soul and body – as stress has increased in our lives the interest in physical and mental health is increasing as well. We might even pick or change a job based on it increasing our wellbeing even if the monetary value is less.
Easy, cheap, right now – there is a counter trend to this in the form of conscientious consuming. The power of many, the do good consumer and We’re all heroes – all these trends have ethics in their core, the customer of tomorrow wants to support her values with her wallet. We all have the power to make an impact – even one person can trigger a change in today’s world.
Do you want to be a trend hunter?
I’m interested in anything new – in my projects I map the past, present and future to gain deeper understanding of the needs and wants of people to help create new business models with my customers. Trends are a great way of anchoring a vision and help to inspire internal change.
Good tools are a big help on the road. Elina gives a good tip in the beginning of the book: open a project page on Facebook and use it to post different material on and around the topic you’re interested in. This helps you become a trend hunter as well.