It’s a new year, and with it comes the opportunity for a fresh start for retailers as well as consumers. As in new years past, I’m inundated with a flurry of trend forecasts, surveys and predictions. One of the more interesting ones to cross my desk comes from JWT, New York, one of the world’s biggest marketing communications brands. It is the firm’s seventh annual year-end forecast of trends that will impact consumer behavior going forward.
“10 Trends for 2012” is a good read in general. And at a time when consumer behavior is so in flux, it provides retailers with some interesting insights as to what will be motivating their shoppers — and how they can best act on those behaviors. Not surprisingly, economic uncertainly and technology are driving several of the trends, according to the report.
“With our annual trends forecast, we aim to bring the outside in — to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions — and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain,” explained Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT.
Here’s JWT’s take on the trends to watch this year:
1. Navigating the new normal: As the new normal becomes a prolonged normal in the developed world, more brands will open up entry points for extremely cost-conscious consumers. Markets will find new opportunities in creating stripped-down offerings, smaller sizes and more accessible products and services.
2. Live a little: Stressed and worried consumers will look for ways to live a little without giving up a lot; loosening up once in a while by splurging on treats.
3. Generation gap: Enabled by technology, twenty-somethings, a “Lost Generation,” will transform itself, with many of them starting their own businesses.
4. The best of shared value: Increasingly, some corporations are deciding that making a profit and achieving social progress are not mutually exclusive goals.
5. Food as the new eco-issue: The eco-impact of food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders drive awareness around