Trendwatching: Six Consumer Trends for 2009

Every so often I like to read up on consumer related trends.  I have always felt this is important in the B2B world because consumers are at the very heart of what makes every economy tick.  And as the Internet has made the consumer a much more relevant and powerful force in the economy, keeping an eye on consumer trends can help us understand our clients wants and needs.

Trendwatching.com is one source I use to keep up on consumer trends.  It can be an annoying site as it is rather splashy with bold colors, pictures all over, and fancy names for trends.  However, underneath all that are usually some important trends.  I am on their newsletter list and they report on new trends regularly, so I am always getting an update on something new. 

So Trendwatching recently came out with their annual Trends report.  I don't have a budget to buy the report, so I have not seen it yet.  However, Trendwatching does provide us with their top six trends in their December 2008 briefing.   Here is a summary of those trends (check out those fancy names!)

  1. Nichetributes.  This trend is all about companies adding new attributes / features / additions to existing products, making them more practical for specific user groups (niches).  In doing so companies would be signaling to those users that the brand 'gets it’, that it cares, and in some cases even pays tribute to their lifestyle.
  2. Luxyoury.  While luxury is traditionally associated with the scarcity of a good/product, in 2009, Trendwatching says luxury providers will search for those products that are becoming little too affordable, too accessible, or just too well-known.  Then they will introduce something very different (if not the opposite), appealing to the in-crowds.
  3. Feedback 3.0.  This will be all about companies joining the Web 2.0 conversation, if only to get their side of the story in front of the mass audience that now scans reviews.  Expect smart companies to be increasingly able (and to increasingly demand) to post their apologies and solutions, preferably directly alongside reviews from unhappy customers.
  4. Econocierges.  Trendwatching says to expect a rise in firms and services dedicated to helping households go green in any possible way.  Some of this activity will result from cash-strapped consumers looking to make money by being green (example: generate and sell excess power to the power 'grid').
  5. Mapmainia.  Trendwatching expects 2009 to be a year in which everything will be plotted on online maps.  These new services will be embraced by eager consumer masses who will flock to anything from friend-finders to lowest-gas-price-locators.
  6. Happy ending.  Consumers will start to focus more on what truly makes them happy…and many will realize that does not mean shopping.  Successful companies will show consumers they care (examples include listening to real-time needs and wants, helping people to save money while being green, etc).

For more information on these specific trends, visit the Trendwatching briefing website here or download a shiny, bright PDF here.