Selecting the 'Real' Trends

The trick is picking a 'real' trend ? as opposed to the fake trends. Some of the factors to keep in mind are

· · Age complexity - the stereotypical image of each age group is no longer applicable; there is much more behavioural variation within each age group. Traditional age behaviour patterns are breaking down with more "generational congestion", eg baby boomers do not act their age, children are maturing faster, adults are acting younger (the rise of "kidults") and people aged over 60 are enjoying a "second youth".

· · Life-stage complexity (this is linked with age complexity)- the days of predictable behaviour by consumers, based on the stage they are in their lives, are over. This is not a new trend, but it means strategies based on traditional demographics are increasingly ineffective.

· · Gender complexity - the rise of the metrosexual and "the increasing feminisation of both society and men" has created a "strong cross-over of product usage and behaviours from males to females and vice versa".

· · Income complexity - rising wealth is changing the way people behave, with well-heeled consumers looking for "anti-luxury" products and poorer consumers fuelling the "masstige" trend, that is, luxury products sold at reasonable prices.

· · Convenience - the trend of time-poor consumers looking for more convenient products continues to create new revenue opportunities for many companies.

· · Health - the search for healthier products continues to gather strength. Now the focus has shifted to spiritual as well as physical well-being.

· · Sensory - increasing stress, rising affluence and globalisation are prompting consumers to look for new and more intense sensations. For packaged-goods companies, this means consumers are increasingly demanding about the quality, pleasure, variety and experience that products offer.

· · Individualism - another well-established trend, the anti-mass-marketing attitude of some consumers, is creating opportunities for mass-marketers to personalise and customise products and "to help consumers express themselves through their consumption choices".

· · Homing - although cocooning (people locking themselves away in their homes to avoid an ugly, difficult world) was never as big here as in the United States, the homing trend is catching on. The home and family are increasingly important ideals, driving sales of home-theatre equipment, security systems and many other products.

· · Connectivity - unhappy about the fast-paced, impersonal nature of modern life, some consumers are focusing on their local communities and "lifestyles that are rich in relationships". Marketers can help people feel connected by developing products and services that "bring people together".


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