Why we’ll trend in 2013

2012-12-09 10:00

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The way we experience the world as consumers is changing all the time. One of the biggest changes in 2013 will be in how emerging markets woo one another instead of looking to the developed world, says an international trend-monitoring organisation.

trendwatching.com uses thousands of “happy spotters” worldwide to figure out which trends are blossoming, which are so last season and which will reshape the world from month to month or year to year.

In its latest trend briefing, released this month and looking ahead to 2013, trendwatching.com identifies several trends to look out for next year:

»?The continued rise – and

rise and rise – of mobile technology designed to “maximise absolutely every moment” and create consumers who “multitask, if not hypertask, their experiences, purchases and communications”;

»?Transparency: the emergence of brands that don’t just say they have nothing to hide, but which actively and constantly prove to their customers how honest and reliable they are; and

»?A conscious decision by brands created in emerging markets to focus on other emerging markets rather than on trying to flog their wares in developed countries.

trendwatching.com’s lead strategist, David Mattin, told City Press during an interview from the company’s head office in London that 2013 was “really a historic tipping point year when it comes to the global economy”.

Mattin said that next year, for the first time, the combined gross domestic products (GDPs) of emerging markets would exceed the combined GDPs of developed markets.

This means the middle class in emerging markets – such as South Africa, China, India and Brazil – is increasingly being targeted by brands or companies that have been started in similar markets, Mattin said.

trendwatching.com uses its happy spotters and a framework the company has developed in the 10 years since its inception to assess where and how trends are developing, and whether they are here to stay.

“We have a framework of more than 100 consumer trends organised under themes or megatrends. A megatrend would be the move towards ever-greater transparency in the corporate and brand world.

“Every so often, one time out of 100, we come across an innovation that doesn’t fit into our framework and that’s very exciting. It’s the first glimmer of a new consumer trend.”

One of the trends their spotters have identified for the coming year is what trendwatching.com calls “emerging squared”.

“A great South African example of this is the SA Tourism Board, which is targeting and catering to Indian tourists directly. (People are realising that pushing into) developed markets is not an immediate way to expand your business.”

Another example of emerging squared is a Brazilian frozen yoghurt brand, Yogaberry, which has decided to push into the Middle East. It has opened two branches in Tehran and is now expanding into the rest of the Middle East, signing a franchising deal across the United Arab Emirates.

“Developed markets have catered to emerging ones in the past two decades, and vice versa. Now products and services from emerging markets are being made for other emerging markets,” Mattin said.

It’s set to be a good year for emerging markets, it seems. Another trend that’s caught the eye of happy spotters is what the trendwatching site calls “celebration nation”.

This will see emerging markets “proudly export and even flaunt their national and cultural heritage in the next 12 months”, in the form of symbols, traditions and lifestyles that developing market countries have usually downplayed or even denied.

“As the balance shifts – as emerging markets and middle class consumers become more powerful, more influential – you’ll see a cultural shift,” Mattin said.

“Emerging market businesses will do more to celebrate their own national heritage and cultural history.”

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