Companies seeking to reach out to consumers this year need to prove they are good corporate citizens and also need to tailor their products, services and messaging to an audience that is constantly online, according to consumer insights firm trendwatching.com.
Trendwatching.com’s? top 10 consumer trends for 2010:
1. Business as unusual: Companies must move “with the culture,” meaning they need to be transparent and honest about their efforts to conduct environmentally sustainable business practices and genuinely collaborate with their customers rather than try to dictate to them. Trendwatching.com cites Google, Amazon, Zappos and Virgin as four companies that are successfully conducting “business as unusual.”
2. Urbany: As of 2008, more than half of the world’s population resides in cities. This means increasingly sophisticated consumers want daring goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.
3. Real-time Reviews: Consumers are constantly online with immediate access to reviews of products and services by fellow consumers. Companies must either offer products and services which are so good they are beyond criticism or involve customers in product design from day one to minimize the chance of a bad reaction.
4. (F)luxury: Consumers want luxury, but there is no longer a clear definition of “luxury.” To create a sense of luxury, companies should produce products and services that are scarce or radically different from what is on the marketplace.
5. Mass Mingling: Consumers who interact online through social networks increasingly are taking those virtual relationships into the “real world.” Companies should help facilitate real-world meetups from social networks in a way that promotes their brand.
6. Eco-Easy: Time-strapped consumers want to be ecologically conscious but don’t want to expend time or effort in doing so, creating a market for products and services that make it easy to be “green.”
7. Tracking & Alerting: Using online technology, consumers want to instantly track and be alerted of events and information they find interesting or important.
8. Embedded Generosity: Consumers will continue to respond well to products and services which have a charitable component, such as apparel items which have a portion of their profits donated to a worthy cause.
9. Profile Myning: Consumers are increasingly protective of their online privacy and are receptive to products and services which offer security for online social networking activities.
10. Maturalism: Short for “mature materialism,” this trend revolves around consumers’ increasing receptiveness to products, services and advertising campaigns which are edgy, controversial and push social boundaries.
A recent study on the social networking habits of US women by social media platform SheSpeaks supports trendwatcher’s predictions for the domination of the consumer marketplace by online social networks. The study found that 86% of US women now have a profile on at least one social networking site, with 50% of female social media users saying they have purchased products because of information on social networking sites, and 40% reporting they have used coupon codes found on social networks.