STATE OF AMERICA
An Outsourced Life- More stressed and time crunched than ever, people will increasingly become accustomed to outsourcing things they previously did or were responsible for themselves. People will outsource parts of their life they don’t want in order to maximize parts they do. They are going to embrace “connected” objects and services to help with every day tasks and responsibilities. Current connected objects available that make life a little easier range from a sensor that monitors and transmits updates of the health of your plants via wifi to a milk jug that sends a text when milk supplies are low. This “internet of things” will make life more convenient, save time and ensure people will have a few less things to worry about.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
Real-Time Relevance – Busy consumers crave for personal, timely and useful information that is easy to understand. Expect people to want mobile, real-time information services that pay attention to their needs and respond accordingly. That means hyper-personal, super-synched, almost eerily accurate lifestyle assistance that arrives just as – or even better, just before – they realize they need it. For example, providing them with general, location-based traffic information? That’s OK. Information about the traffic jam that’s three minutes ahead of them? That’s Real-Time Relevance.
Servile Brands – The top-down days when consumers revered brands are long gone. Brands that want to regain relevance will have to go far beyond the usual great customer service clichés and turn servile. Brands will convert into lifestyle servants focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of their customers, whatever, wherever and whenever they are. Brands already becoming servile range from American Airlines that introduced a service delivering passengers’ luggage direct to their home, business or hotel to ticketing etailer AXS Invite that allows customers, who’ve purchased a sporting, cultural or music ticket, to reserve the adjacent seats for 48 hours to allow enough time for the ticket buyer to rally up a few friends to attend with them.
Virtual Consumption – Consumption has always been a form of self actualization, driven by the never-ending display of status and style. As absolute abundance clashes with ever-present eco-concerns and limited budgets, consuming virtually is becoming the perfect way for status-hungry consumers to “shop”. Virtual consumers are already busy accruing status via online sharing, reducing the emotional gap between traditional offline ownership and online, virtual “ownership”. Travel site Airbnb introduced its Wish List feature this year enabling users to not just virtually save properties but curate collections of desirable or interesting spaces (they may or may not visit) to share with friends. In the span of five months, two million wish lists were created. In 2013 shopping will be more virtual than ever, as social curation sites such as Pinterest and others continue to blur the boundaries between real and virtual consumption; and more consumers flaunt their good taste without having to physically buy.
ON THE RADAR
Twitter Year In Review: Twitter has released their annual collection of 2012’s hottest trends, topics and people across five categories. Check it out here and enter your Twitter information to see highlights from your own account’s year on Twitter.
Search giant Google has released its top search terms of the year, analyzing over 1.2 trillion queries in over 146 languages to reveal what its users have spent the last 12 months searching for. New additions to this year’s Google Zeitgeist include an interactive map that shows where and when some of the hottest terms spiked around the world as well as a downloadable Zeitgeist Android App. Check out the site or watch the video.
Facebook year In Review: Facebook took the pulse of the its global online community and assembled a series of trend lists chronicling the top events, the most popular public figures, the most listened to songs on Facebook. View the lists or click here to see your own year in review based on your account’s activity.