11 crucial consumer trends for 2011

Some of its predictions for the year include:

Random acts of kindness: Expect companies to monitor consumers’ public moods and act upon them with random acts of kindness. Consumers’ cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with customers in 2011.

Urbanomics: Urbanisation remains one of the decade’s absolute mega trends. Today, half the world’s population – three billion people – lives in urban areas. Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year. Urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced, more prone to trying out new products and services. These effects tend to be even more pronounced in emerging markets.

Price pandemonium: While consumers have always looked out for special offers and discounts, new technologies and services mean that 2011 will see total price pandemonium. More consumers are constantly connected, and when they hear about new deals online can quickly and easily spread them through their social networks. Mobile devices increasingly enable consumers to find or receive dynamic deals right at the point of sale, or to compare prices online. Case in point: Amazon.com has just released an iPhone app that allows users to compare prices by scanning the product’s barcode, photographing it or saying its name. Always-on connectivity is changing consumer spending habits in myriad ways.

Online status symbols: Online culture still is the culture. What started with showing off the number of visitors to one’s Flickr pages or blog now also encompasses the number of one’s Facebook friends (or any other social network), Twitter followers and host of other metrics that indicate one’s ‘wiredness’. In 2011, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or ‘real world’ that helps them display to peers their online contributions, interestingness, creations or popularity.

Eco superior: The number one challenge for governments, consumers and businesses (recession or no recession) in 2011 remains the quest for more environmentally sustainable societies and economies. With the number of consumers actively seeking out ‘green’ products reaching plateau, as they start to question the value and efficiency of going green, expect rise in Eco Superior products: These are products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way. Think combination of eco-friendly yet superior functionality, superior design, and/or superior savings.

• For more information on these and the six other key consumer trends for 2011 visit: http://www.trendwatching.com

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