New York City-based-JWT (J. Walter Thompson Co.), a marketing communications company (www.jwtintelligence.com) released its 7th annual year-end forecast of key trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behavior in the year ahead.
The economy will push brands into opening up more entry points for extremely cost-sensitive consumers as the "new normal" becomes a prolonged normal in the developed world. At the same time, tough times will generate an unprecedented entrepreneurialism among today's Generation Go, or Lost Generation -- 20-somethings and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged slump with high unemployment -- thus creating their own opportunities.
This year, JWT believes the next big eco-issue will be the impact of our food choices on the environment, with various stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—driving awareness around the topic and rethinking what food is sold and how it's made. As more regions battle with food shortages and/or spiking costs, smarter practices around food will join the stable of green "best practices."
On the tech side, more flat surfaces will become screens, and more screens will be interactive—touching them, gesturing at them and talking to them will become part of our everyday behaviors. And as technology makes our individual worlds more personalized and niched—and narrows the types of content, experiences and people we're exposed to—greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view into our world.
Other key trends cited in the report include:
- Reengineering Randomness -- As our individual worlds become more personalized and niche-and the types of content, experiences and people we are exposed to become narrower-greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view into our worlds
- Marriage Optional -- A growing cohort of women is taking an alternate life route, one that doesn't include marriage as an essential checkpoint. Both in the West, where this trend is building, and in the East, where it's gaining momentum, "happily ever after" is being redefined as one person households, cohabiting or single motherhood.
"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," says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT.