At FREED we are very clear that any innovation strategy must be based on the knowledge of the macro and micro consumer trends that reveal the behaviour of people, as well as on the analysis of the impact you expect them to have on your industry.
So when we talk about insights-based innovation we express the enormous importance of trend research in innovation management. That is why we have included in the dynamics we carry out with our clients an activity that helps to identify consumer trends and how companies are turning them into opportunities, while at the same time encouraging the idea of solutions and an innovation strategy.
What is a trend?
A trend is a new manifestation of a fundamental need of people, through a new behaviour, a new attitude or expectation (Manson et. al., 2015., Trend Driven Innovation). For example, the COVID-19 pandemic is already generating trends that emerged from the need to adapt our personal and business relationships.But there are also others that were changing our lives, the way we work and interact with brands.
In this article and the following one we will review several consumer trends with the intention of helping you develop an innovation strategy. The idea is that you can give answers to questions such as:
- What are the local and global trends in your industry?
- Which ones mark people's behaviour? How do they impact your business and industry?
- How do they impact your environment?
- What are the most important changes that will occur in the medium and long term?
- What do these changes mean for your company and industry?
12 consumer trends to analyze
1- Low contact economy
Experiencing a pandemic has disrupted our lives, which will lead us to acquire new post-COVID-19 habits and regulations. This is how a new global economic paradigm arises based on reduction of close contact in interactions, restrictions due to hygiene measures and permanent changes in industries.
2- Digital shopping trip
New marketing channels emerge simultaneously with the growth of disruptive retail models and the convergence of the sales and marketing environments. As consumers adopt digital, traditional business models are changing and more and more stages of the buying process are digital . Likewise, new purchasing processes are created through messaging applications: 53% of those surveyed in 14 markets indicated that they will probably prefer to buy from companies with which they can communicate through messages (Nielsen, March 2016).
3- Everything on the cell phone
3 billion people could have a cell phone by the end of 2020 and it would probably be their only access to the internet (Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2017). In other words, more and more people enter the digital world by skipping the computer stage and it is increasingly normal for them to start exploring the internet and a digital life directly through a smartphone. 1 in 4 people only connects to the internet with their cell phone (comScore, September 2017).
4- M-commerce: the massification of cell phone purchases
More and more people are discovering the convenience of buying through cell phones and prefer fast and fluid experiences when it comes to spending their money. Nearly 1 in 4 shoppers in the United States use express checkout (one click) (Facebook, December 2016). Furthermore, 1 in 3 people in the United States wants to make more purchases with their smartphone, but 1 in 2 claims that slow or poor navigation sites are an obstacle (Kantar, August 2016).
5- I want it now!
Consumers seek immediate gratification and fluid experiences, consistent with their desire to dedicate more time to professional life and social relationships. Especially the youngest, need instant access to information and news on their cell phones because they allow them to move 41% faster through websites and applications than on a computer (Facebook, March 2017).
6- Always connected: there is no life without internet
Having internet access is something appreciated and a priority all over the world. In the United States, 50% of people would be willing to postpone vacations or cancel a dinner out because they are online (comScore, March 2017). We have many channels to evade, imagine, explore and create while riding the subway or bored at home, thanks to 24/7 connectivity and digital experiences that blur the line between the real and the virtual.
7- Everything must be personalized
Consumers will tend to spend their money on personalized products and experiences. This includes travelers as, in a survey conducted in the United States, approximately 1 in 2 stated that personalized ads save time and effort (GfK, May 2016).
8- Internet of things: everything connected and automated
The Internet of Things is already a reality, as more and more people connect their devices, appliances and even cars. Almost half of virtual assistant users want their invoices and purchases to be automatic. Loyalty with companies will go through there, to a great extent.
9- Less is more: consolidate applications.
The trend is that the applications most used by people increase their functionalities; therefore, it is possible that a few can cover all user needs. It is common to hear people complaining that they must delete applications to free up space on their devices.
10- The video explosion
Our predilection for video on cell phones seems to be somewhat insatiable and is reflected in the fact that a third of smartphone buyers in the United States found video the best platform to discover new products (Kantar, August 2016). Likewise, people will want to share collective and multisensory experiences on the internet, and the way to participate in them is streaming video. 1 in 5 videos on Facebook is a live broadcast (Facebook, April 2017).
11- We are all experts
Today's consumer is more informed and inquisitive. Conversations about user experience increased 5.2 times in one year among Facebook users in the United States (Facebook, November 2016). The constant technological evolution is also changing the relationship that people have with brands. That is why companies must constantly innovate to attract buyers who inquire and know what they want.
12- Virtual relationships: digitally together
Our ability to handle different technological tools and the integration of their use into daily life, leads us to create and live experiences with other people, but remotely.
Think about your innovation strategy
What do you think of these first 12 trends that we have reviewed? Do you think they will affect your company and the industry in which it operates? Leave us your comments.
You can now start to analyze and think about your innovation strategy, but remember that we will soon publish another article where we will see more consumer trends that will surely inspire you.
 Nielsen, March 2016.
 Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2017.
 comScore, September 2017.
 Facebook, December 2016.
 Kantar, August 2016.
 Facebook, March 2017.
 comScore, March 2017.
 GfK, May 2016.
 Kantar, August 2016.
 Facebook, April 2017.
 Facebook, November 2016.