2014 will build on consumer trends that have been shaping up over the last couple of years. This is no surprise.
Let’s examine four of those trends:
Great to (almost) get to know you
We’re used to getting plenty of content against no apparent payment. The internet has dramatically increased the spectrum of services we’re no longer prepared to pay for. And we’re also used to having part with varying amounts of personal information in exchange. How often have you spotted something you really want to read more about, only to U-turn when faced with a form you’re expected to fill out? The trend towards increased information requirements has finally peaked, and the more clever content providers have started to reduce the request to tolerable levels. 2014 should see a steady decrease in the amount of information requested of us. If you’re hosting valuable content behind an info-request wall, it is time to seriously consider making your offering more attractive by being slightly less annoying.
I care as far as I can care
Our generation has inherited a planet that was mindlessly assaulted by our predecessors. Unfortunately, we’ve also inherited the guilt associated with that harm, even if we are doing more than all our ancestors put together to set our green globe back on track. We are now made to feel guilty for consuming practically everything that has a measurable footprint. This goes beyond its weight in Carbon. The footprint includes the practices employed for manufacture and the way employees are treated along the way. 2014 will see a rise in the demand for guilt-offsetting products and services. The most sought after will be zero-guilt, where the benefit to society or the environment associated with a particular purchase offsets the sum total of guilt associated with it. Show you care and present products that are visibly guilt-free.
I’ll get my watch to talk to your shirt
We have expected more connected devices for several decades now. Douglas Adams predicted a smart-device that taps into Wikipedia when he wrote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the seventies. The trend for 2014 will go beyond connected devices used as communication and media consumption devices. It will see smarter, more bio-aware devices that relay data about your health to your medical carers. Cars that read your pulse, helmets that detect impact direction and shirts that detect breathing and movement will all be connected to the web for instant transmission of health-related information. As we’ve come to expect, the rich will have access to the finest healthcare first. But refer to the previous trend – we’ll see a much quicker cascade to affordability this year.
There is an ‘I’ in tribe
I have the ability to influence my immediate surroundings. I can wear headphones to make my world sound better, for instance. I can leave home an hour early to beat the traffic. But with more connected devices in everyone’s pockets, we are able to use information from across the tribe in any space to shape impromptu gatherings. Smart DJ software can read the musical tastes of everyone who has checked in to a bar and influence the playlist accordingly. GPS traffic data from multiple devices along the same stretch should shape traffic news. A percentage of vegetarians at any one beach should tell the right food truck to head that way…