JWT claims the trends will drive or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behaviour in the year ahead. According to JWT the trends indicate shifts that are likely to be with us for some time. The forecast predicts that we will see everyday objects become smarter as technology is embedded into them to help us monitor and gauge our performance and the world around us.
“In our forecast of trends for the near future, new technology continues to take centre stage, as we see major shifts tied to warp-speed developments in mobile, social and data technologies,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT. “Many of our trends reflect how businesses are driving, leveraging or counteracting technology’s omnipresence in our lives, and how consumers are responding to its pull.”
The research results also focus on health, the rising awareness of the impact of stress, and its effect on happiness and well-being – and how businesses are addressing this issue.
The report is the result of quantitative surveys conducted in the US and UK conducted in 2012, with input from JWT planners across markets, including Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UK, the US and Venezuela.
According to JWT the trends indicate shifts that are likely to be with us for some time.
JWT’s 10 Trends for 2013 are as follows -
1. Play as a Competitive Advantage
Adults will increasingly adopt for themselves the revitalised idea that kids should have plenty of unstructured play to balance out today’s plethora of organised and tech-based activities. In an age when people feel they can’t spare time for pursuits that don’t have specific goals attached, there will be a growing realisation that unstructured time begets more imagination, creativity and innovation—all competitive advantages.
Example - Spacious, a recently formed organisation in Washington DC, champions the idea of adult play and has sponsored events such as an “adult recess” that included pie-throwing and games of Twister.
2. The Super Stress Era
While life has always been filled with stressors big and small, these are mounting and multiplying: We’re entering the era of super stress. And as stress gets more widely recognised as both a serious medical concern and rising cost issue, governments, employers and brands alike will need to ramp up efforts to help prevent and reduce it.
Example - Recognising that the drive to succeed for white-collar workers in Chinese megacities has led to intense pressure and long working hours, outdoor brand The North Face created a campaign advocating that people escape - if only for a weekend - to nature.
3. Intelligent Objects
Everyday objects are evolving into tech-infused smart devices with augmented functionality. As more ordinary items become interactive, intelligent objects, our interactions with them will get more interesting, enjoyable and useful.
Example - Designed for skiers and snowboarders, Oakley’s new Airwave goggles use GPS sensors, Bluetooth and a display so that skiers can see their speed, location, altitude and distance traveled, and can also read text messages or emails on the screen.
4. Predictive Personalisation
As data analysis becomes more cost efficient, the science gets more sophisticated and consumers generate more measurable data than ever, brands will increasingly be able to predict customer behavior, needs or wants - and tailor offers and communications very precisely.
Example - As a part of its “Know Me” program, British Airways relies on a database of passenger info it gathered from many sources over the course of several years to give highly personalised service to its VIP frequent flyers.
5. The Mobile Fingerprint
Our smartphones are evolving to become wallets, keys, health consultants and more. Soon they’ll become de facto fingerprints, our identity all in one place.
Example - A commercial from Indian telecom Idea Cellular reflects the notion that a mobile number can serve not only as an identifier but as an equaliser: A group of men having an argument approach the head of their town council, who declares that to end name-calling and fighting over caste status, people will be identified by their mobile number.
6. Sensory Explosion
In a digital world, where more of life is virtual and online, we’ll place a premium on sensory stimulation. Marketers will look for more ways to engage the senses - and as they amp up the stimuli, consumers will come to expect ever more potent products and experiences.
Example - Dunkin’ Donuts installed a technology in buses around Seoul that released coffee aromas whenever the brand’s jingle was played.
7. Everything Is Retail
Shopping is shifting from an activity that takes place in physical stores or online to a value exchange that can play out in multiple new and novel ways. Since almost anything can be a retail channel, thanks largely to mobile technology, brands must get increasingly creative in where and how they sell their goods.
Example - During the 2012 holiday shopping period, Mattel and Walmart Canada created a “virtual pop-up toy store” in Toronto's underground walkway, featuring two walls of 3D toy images accompanied by QR codes; consumers could use their smartphones to scan the codes and pay, then the items would be delivered.
8. Peer Power
As the peer-to-peer marketplace expands in size and scope - moving beyond goods to a wide range of services - it will increasingly upend major industries from hospitality and education to tourism and transportation.
Example - Peer-to-peer lodging companies, such as Airbnb, Wimdu and 9flats, are challenging traditional hotels by enabling consumers to host travelers in a wide variety of often unique and affordable accommodations, from couches to rooms to full homes.
9. Going Public in Private
In an era when living publicly is becoming the default, people are coming up with creative ways to carve out private spaces in their lives. Rather than rejecting today’s ubiquitous social media and sharing tools outright, we’re reaping all the benefits of maintaining a vibrant digital identity while gradually defining and managing a new notion of privacy for the 21st century.
Example - Argentina’s Norte Beer ensures that “What happens in the club stays in the club” with the Photoblocker beer cooler, distributed to local bars: When it detects the flash from a photo, the cooler emits a bright light, making potentially incriminating images unusable.
10. Health & Happiness - Hand in Hand
Happiness is coming to be seen as a core component of health and wellness, with the rising notion that a happier person is a healthier person - and, in turn, a healthier person is a happier person.
Example - In Australia, Nestlé’s “Happily Healthy Project” is a bid to educate consumers about the health-happiness link. The campaign’s website lets users take a test to measure their HHQ, or Happily Healthy Quotient, which asks about lifestyle, behaviours and attitudes.
Trends forecasts from JWT in past years have included - “Food as the New Eco-Issue” in 2012 - the environmental impact of our food choices is becoming a prominent concern; “De-Teching” in 2011 - more people logging off, at least temporarily, to get a break from technology; “Location-Based Everything” in 2010 - the explosion of location-based or aware services that leverage data from mobile phones; “The Small Movement” in 2009 - the shift away from “bigger is better” in everything from homes to cars to stores; and “Radical Transparency” in 2008 - the “nothing to hide” ethos seen in some online behaviours.
The 10 Trends for 2013 report is available at JWTIntelligence.com