Future Consumer Insights for 2018

From a global youth tsunami to a man vs. machine tipping point, what does the world look like in 2018?

With the new year just around the corner, we wanted to shed light on some of the craziest and most interesting consumer trends predicted for the year to come. Here, we bring you consumer insights to uncover creativity and innovation in other industries, so that you can turn overwhelm into opportunity. Be warned though – use this foresight for good, not evil!

So, what does 2018 have in store for us?

In 2017, we saw the rise of communal living, prosumer tourism and instagramable fitness as some of the leading consumer trends. Now as we move into the new year, the same mega-trends are still relevant, but the way they are applied take new heights. These are the underlying drivers shaping modern patterns of opportunity and all the weird and wacky products we see each year.

Our friends at Trend Hunters have recently unveiled a detailed list of the most exciting consumer insights that will actually impact us. While we don’t have time to delve into them all – here are our 5 top picks:

1. Interactive drinking games

Millennial party culture has hit back with another hit. Expect alcohol-fuelled game nights enticing you to spend an intimate and laughter-filled night in with friends.

The Brand ‘Stranger & Stranger’ Has Released a Board Game

 

2. Invisible Tech

The oversaturation of technology creates a consumer desire for subtlety. Undetectable Wireless Earphones anyone?

The Third Skin ‘Hy’ Wireless Ear Headphones Offer 18-Hours of Use

 

3. One-Size Fits None

Future thinking campaigns incorporate an omnicultural view that extends beyond diversity. That’s right traditional moulds are getting thrown out the window to celebrate imperfection and individuality.

This Lane Bryant Ad Shows Plus-Size Model Denise Bidot Unedited

 

4. Fast-Fad Lifestyle

Fast-fashion models hits other industries to bring us all kinds of weird and wonderful. In the information age, Lifestyle categories are leading with aesthetic as opposed to quality, with social media elevating them to popularity.

The Color-Changing Blended Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino

 

5. Sensorial Merchandising

Ever thought you’d see the day a Virtual Reality Nail Salon opens up? New flagship stores are incorporating tech into their business models, aiming to max out memorable customer experiences through elaborately immersive visual merchandising that sparks emotions. Anticipate sensory-packed retail experiences that you can share through social media.

WAH London’s New Flagship Incorporates VR Tech into Its Nail Salons

 

The World at Large

Okay great, we have new toys, tech, and colour-changing beverages to look forward to. That’s all well and good, but what is the world going to look like?

The Euromonitor International Report, 10 Global Macro Trends for the Next Five Years, reveals that:

Despite the uncertainties facing the global economy, certain trends are inevitable. The world will become smaller, more aged, more city-focused, more cautious and more polarised between the rich and poor. The climate will change, food prices will rise and economic power will shift from West to East”.

Oooph – that certainly doesn’t sound like the promising utopia I’d envisioned for the future. Luckily, the global trend experts at trendwatching.com paint a far rosier picture. Their insights for 2018 reveal three themes as the crux for future thinking brands to embody.

Truthful Consumerism

The future of consumerism in world of populism, polarization and post-truth is… truth. Hold on, what? Yes, you heard correctly, truthful consumerism aims to counter the chaos and uncertainty of today, by encouraging brands to personify one of these five core truths: transparency, aspiration, positive Impact, tolerance, empowerment.  These truths provide powerful and positive directions for new era of consumerism, where brands harness the power of innovation to build a better future. Best part of all, brands from Red Bull to PatagoniaWeChat to Airbnb are already embodying them.

 

The Future of Customer Experience

As you know, attention is a precious resource these days. In a hyper-competitive experience economy, consumers are digitally empowered, yet feel forever time-starved. There’s a clash of tech-fuelled convenience, free flowing media, experimentalism and relentless distraction. This trend emphasis the need to business and brands to develop strategy focused on either saving or seizing consumer attention. Amazon-Echo Look takes selfies and uses AI to act as your personal style assistant.

 

Glass Box Brands

Anyone remember the recent Uber sexism and bullying scandal? Well, in an age of radical transparency, the internal culture of a company is increasingly becoming their brand. There is more accountability than ever for business and incentive to embody the good values that previously may have only existed in mission statements. Connectivity, job automation and the intensifying search for a more meaningful consumerism are all driving this trend. As consumers, we can expect more meaningful consumerism and working environments. Check out this example of an Indian based startup offering paid leave to women on their period:

 

Conclusion

This radically transparent world can seem a scary one, but it’s also one full of opportunity. Power is increasingly in the hands of the consumer. We have a deep desire for positive impact alongside continued expectations for better experience. 2018 presents fad products, instore VR, in-home AI, sophisticated apps, better working environments, oh and more drinking game. While this information is no glass-ball into the future, we can see changes in human behaviour shaping modern society and business for the better.

Got your attention? If you’re interested in reading more about consumer insights and trends for 2018, make sure to check out one of these great resources: WGSN, Trend Hunter, Euromonitor or Trendwatching.

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