11 crucial consumer trends for 2011
This is the time for CEOs and marketers to chart business plans for next year. It is worth reviewing what global consumers, including Koreans, have in mind in 2011.
Trendwatching.com identified 11 interesting consumer trends for next year. Its message is clear. Marketers cannot be winners without utilizing social network services (SNS). Tracking and alerts are common features of SNS.
It advises producers to ride on the SNS tide, including Twitter, Facebook and Me2. Usage of social media is so common among consumers that successful marketing will become almost impossible without it.
Smartphones have changed the lifestyle of consumers so much that all marketing secrets lie in the smartphone world. Smart marketing is possible only when producers know the smart life of consumers.
About 600 million people, including seven million Koreans, are using smartphones worldwide. This will gather momentum.
Trendwatching.com listed 11 crucial consumer trends for next year.
It predicts (1) price pandemonium will be puzzling to both producers and consumers. Consumers will know instantly where the cheapest product is available through SNS.
It sees a rise in (2) online status symbols which reflect the spirit of the time. It started on Flickr pages or blogs and is spreading to other SNS.
Trend-sensitive marketers will provide both virtual and real-world symbols to their online-loving customers so that they can display them in all arenas.
It also coined (3) twinsumers. They are consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes. These twinsumers are valuable sources of tips on what to buy and experience.
From tips on SNS, consumers will rush to buy the same products. It means word of mouth and recommendations will become indispensable marketing tools.
It coined `socialites' which refer to everything about discovery as consumers actively broadcast, compile, comment, share and recommend content, products, purchases and experiences to SNS followers.
It noted many consumers are investing time and effort in their `branding-me’ campaign. They post profiles, opinions and recommendations on SNS.
SNS can also spread the so-called (4) random acts of kindness (RAK) far beyond its recipients as they tell friends and followers about the unexpected fantastic news.
For example, a Seoul-based flower delivery service can launch a social media campaign to cheer up Twitter users by sending them flowers. It can look up Twitter users that need a lift. Once found, the flower shop owner tweets the potential customer by sending a bouquet of flowers as a surprise gift.
After accepting the free flowers, the recipient may post their reaction on SNS. Other Tweeter followers will come to know the name of the flower shop. The RAK can become an effective marketing tool, even for small businesses.
Geolocation has become a key feature of social networks and web apps. SNS users constantly post where they eat, what they see and what they experience on their mobile gadgets. This will lead other SNS users to visit the same places.
Consumers want instant gratification through ever quick, accessible real-time products and services. It is called (5) planned spontaneity because consumers plan to sign up to services that allow for spontaneous mass mingling with friends, family, colleagues and strangers.
Young consumers are ready to share their location in return for smart suggestions about what they could be doing or whom they could be meeting.
Consumers want collection, aggregation, analysis and share interesting, funny and life-enhancing mobile data. More and more people want to share everything they do, purchase, listen to, watch, attend and wear in real time. Increasing numbers of search engines and tracking services make it easy to find and group these ‘live dispatches’ by theme, topic or brand.
Ready-to-buy consumers are tapping into a live stream of first-hand experiences from fellow consumers.
Made-in-China products are swamping the world. From next year, many countries will make products for the 1,300 billion Chinese. This trend creates new jargon (6) Made for China.
Well-being products have been in vogue in Korea. Worldwide, (7) wellthy (combination of well-being and healthy) products will catch the attention of consumers.
Consumers will also choose products from socially responsible companies. Making only the best products is not enough. Consumers will shun even the best goods from socially irresponsible companies. This trend is called the (8) emerging generosity from consumers.
Korea has also made significant progress in urbanization. Each day, a new city of 180,000 residents is being created worldwide. About 60 million rural residents are migrating into urban cities. These new urbanites will be the attractive new market for producers. Marketers must know (9) urbanomics. It predicts extreme urbanization will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world.
Green products or environment-friendly goods will continue to be the darling of consumers. From now on consumers will pick (10) eco-superior products. It means consumers want brands which are not only environment-friendly but also better than pollution-generating goods.
Marketers should also catch the emerging consumer trend of renting, rather than buying goods. It means booming rental businesses. Consumers want to enjoy products without owning them. This trend points to the emergence of (11) owner-less consumers.
Lee Chang-sup is the chief editorial writer of The Korea Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.