One of the things entrepreneurs are proud of is being forward thinking. We invent and utilize new technologies and business ideas and consumers tend to follow. Well, sometimes it’s consumers who take the lead and business owners are the ones who have to catch up.
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This is the case with mobile technologies. As JWT Intelligence, one of my favorite marketing and forecasting firms, says in its recently issued annual trends report: “The smartphone is perhaps the biggest single influence on consumer change. It has shifted from being a communication device to a pocket portal to the world: a way to share, search the streetscape, pay for items and document vacations.” The report predicts, “Within decades, in many parts of the world, there will be few who remember life without mobile phones.” Ericsson forecasts that by 2020, 90% of the world’s population over age 6 will have a mobile phone.
That means as we head into 2015 you must make sure your websites, email marketing and any other digital marketing you do, is mobile-friendly.
As a result, JWT Intelligence predicts that “Connected Kids” will be a major trend next year. Already 75% of American children under the age of 8 have access to a smartphone or tablet. “Kids,” the report says, “are more connected digitally than ever, and new toys and services are rising to satisfy their hunger for technology.”
Surprisingly (or maybe not if you have or know younger kids), “children under 10 are more technically advanced even than their teenage siblings. Their familiarity with technology, and their expectations of it, go far beyond that of previous generations.”
This is significant, since these kids are our future customers and clients, and their expectations are being set now. You can’t afford to disappoint them now—or later.
Hot Beauty Ingredient
The health and beauty sector is always good for a few hot trends. This one might surprise you. Minerals have been a “hot” beauty component since 1994 when entrepreneur Leslie Blodgett launched Bare Escentuals (which makes Bare Minerals cosmetics). In 2010, international cosmetics giant Shiseido bought the company for about $1.7 billion.
This year the “hot” beauty mineral is charcoal. Yes, charcoal. JWT Intelligence says this “rising reverence for minerals in beauty, largely centered on charcoal [is] inspired by the ingestible-health trend.” Already several juice companies are using charcoal as an ingredient, and apparently there’s a charcoal-infused lemonade on the market, as well as charcoal soap.
In my last column I told you about the foods that are expected to be especially hot next year, but one trend I didn’t mention that JWT Intelligence highlights is the “fake meat” phenomenon. Apparently there’s been a “crop of food-science startups” that have attracted the attention of venture capitalists. The desire for vegan foods is on the rise. One company created fake chicken and a “beef crumble” that’s made with pea protein. Another infuses its veggie burgers with “plant blood” so they sizzle like the real thing.
As I wrote more than a year ago, men are increasingly embracing yoga and buying yogawear (hence the “broga” term). But yoga clothier Lululemon is launching a men’s yogawear store—and more companies are expected to follow. Why not get a jump on the big retailers and, if yoga is big in your market, launch your own line first?
There are plenty of other interesting trends you can learn about in this report. It’s worth a look.
Happy New Year!