Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Consumer Trends for 2010 and Beyond

Cheryl Swanson, Managing Partner at Toniq (a trending, branding, and marketing company) sent an interesting roundup of the consumer trends that will coalesce or emerge in 2010 . From skin care advances to KaBoomers' growing market clout, the Trendscape, as she calls it, will continue to morph at an accelerating pace. Here's a fast-forward of what's in store for us.

Skin Care: The Next Fast Food
Many current skin care products - even some natural ones - are loaded with chemicals and metals, which our bodies absorb on a daily basis while our drains deposit the residue into our water supply. The consumer push-back that began with tobacco and more recently has focused on fast foods will soon be aimed at leading cosmetics companies and faux organic/natural lines as consumers realize their potentially harmful impact on body and environment. Brands like Pangea Organics are leading the charge to a new age of natural, effective, and sustainable skin care lines.

Personal Care Marketers Beware
Personal care marketers like P&G, Unilever, and Colgate-Palmolive need to be prepared for the oncoming consumer rejection of parabens, petroleum, ammonium sulfates, and other chemical "baddies" as they did with trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and MSG in packaged and fast foods. Once the social networks are mobilized against these ingredients, companies need to be ready (SOON!) with natural and efficacious alternatives. As fast-fooders from McD's to Taco Bell have been compelled to post ingredients and caloric totals while developing more balanced menus, so too will personal care brands be forced to heed the growing consumer demand for transparency, accurate labeling, resourcing data, efficacy claims, etc., while true organics will continue to gain market share.

The Great Recession has brought about a redefinition of luxury, especially in the currently moribund aspirational segment. While some lux brands have responded to "luxury shame" with a more discreet display of their logos, a key shift will be toward the creation of limited-edition affordable designer "artifacts" (Lux-iFacts), especially collectible jewelery, fragrance, accessories, and home objects that represent the designers' level of quality and prestige at friendlier price points. Consumers are tiring of being "frugalistas," shopping only at big box stores or buying on sale. Lux-iFacts allow consumers to indulge their need for quality, design, and prestige with small, yet beautiful pieces.

Marketers will seek to energize their lines with special collections in curated retail/gallery experiences, pop-up showcases, and innovative interactive applications for mobile 24/7 shoppers.

Designer basics will become available in branded vending machines (private clubs, airports, restaurants) - what we call Lux-O-Vending - offering a spectrum of goods from miniature artwork, comfort shoes, accessories, makeup, or in-flight survival kits complete with cashmere travel wrap/blanket, socks/slippers, fragrance, makeup, even technology.

Discovery - AstroH2O
Spatially, and perhaps temporally far off, the lure of off-planet water sources is growing; witness the recent moon bombing and Martian search for water. As world leaders increasingly recognize the impending depletion of this most vital of resources, expect far-sighted corporations to step up to support the search and mobilize brand advocates. Watch for a leading brand to align itself with NASA in the quest over the next two to five years. Outer space will be "in again" soon, out of necessity.

Life on Demand - A Visual Language Imperative
The demand for everything all the time - everywhere - is fast becoming a cultural imperative focused on mobile handsets that present brand marketers the greatest challenge ever. As everything goes mobile - entertainment, education, shopping, information, socializing - the impact on brands is monumental as they attempt to transition from the old brand value/equity proposition (large/larger screens) to the new rich media environment (small/tiny screens).

What happens to the visual brand proposition as the blurring of the online and offline media spaces accelerates? Brands are increasingly challenged to find new means of managing their presence in 2D virtual catalog/storefront Web pages to 3D worlds, on-shelf displays, and pop-up environments. Traditional package design cannot successfully play across a cell phone micro-screen to the giant Times Square video network. Expect a major wave of brand simplification and redesigns in the coming years to cope with the screen revolution.

Boomers have always had a major impact on marketing and they are about to have another HUGE IMPACT on the marketplace. Why? Marketers are starting to realize the benefit of targeting products to the 50+ demographic. And why not? They've been marketed to their entire lives. They like to shop and spend, have the money, and are open to all product/service categories that will help them "Live Younger Longer." Many 60 year-olds are healthier then 35 year-olds, so watch this market boom over the next 10 years.

KaBoomer wants extend well beyond medicinal and financial services offerings to energy, indulgence, Better-for-You (BFY) fashion, and fun categories that leverage their inherent optimism. This trend could challenge AARP to reinvent itself.

Fun-Frugality 2010
The "Frugalista" movement will continue through 2010, but watch for a growing backlash as our yearning for luxury, indulgence, and designer logos slowly reasserts itself. Brand diehards will end their deprivations and re-emerge to indulge their special interests, while cutting back in less significant categories.

We won't see a return to luxury as we've known it, but will see smaller, regular indulgences in both mass and premium channels. Watch for marketers to appease our needs with little indulgences like logo-covered T-shirts or super premium hot chocolate, as long as it's fun and proving that it doesn't have to cost a lot to mean a lot.

Newbie DIYers
From the affluent to the mainstream, people are doing more for themselves, and they need help. Newbies are learning how to paint a wall, decorate, even clean their own homes (!). Brands have the opportunity to play a key role in this conversation. One great example, Premium Tide, which didn't replace other laundry detergents as much as it substituted for dry-cleaning.

Tweet-Talk & Language Evolving
Twitter is about to have a tsunami-like force on the English language as its 140-character limit seeps into our consciousness, thought processes, writing, and speaking patterns. Tweet-Talk is on the rise as its info-bit status updates and creative abbreviations permeate the collective conversation.

I found Cheryl's information very interesting - the reason for the long post. Now, I'll understand the approach behind the positioning of all kinds of brands I know or discover.

I'm a little disturbed by the possibility of extending our reach for resources to the moon or beyond. We have already done significant damage to our own planet. I'd hate to think we might start to plunder outer space. Can you visualize those scolding aliens?

Logo courtesy of Toniq


Unknown said...

it was interesting for me to read that organic skincare could be a leading trend in the near future. Just a couple of days ago i read a research that said that organic skin and beauty products are not gaining any more market share in US.
I would hope to see more organic skin, hair care and beauty items becoming popular with general public.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anna,

I think (have absolutely NO data) that organic products have been slow to catch on because, as a rule, they are more expensive than chemical-laden products. Given the economic problems we are all experiencing, there may have been dampened demand. I bet that as the economy improves, the demand for natural and organic products will increase. Just a hunch.