Here's a glance at the 10 trends they believe will shape this next year.
Searching for Stability
While many indicators point to the beginnings of an economic recovery, consumers will continue to exercise restraint until they see more clear, dependable and closer-to-home signs of stability. Unemployment lifting will be a key barometer for consumers. (Example: People are still delaying big-ticket purchases.)
Reading the Fine Print
Consumers will be working harder than ever, putting more time and energy into finding good values, reading the fine print and learning the ins and outs of nutrition, environmental impact and ethical business practices. (Example: As banks, airlines and other ailing service industries impose a complex raft of fees and conditions on customers, failure to pay close attention will be costly.)
While manufacturers and retailers have become increasingly transparent in recent years, legal requirements and competitive pressures will force fuller disclosure about everything from ingredients and calorie counts to carbon footprints and sourcing. (Example: Walmart is working with its suppliers to develop a sustainability index for all its products.)
The Devil Wears Packaging
As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew. (Example: Kenco Coffee in the U.K. recently launched Eco Refills, which it says use 97 percent less packaging than its glass jars.)
It's BIC, and It’s Bigger Than Ever
The vaunted BRIC emerging markets are now down to BIC—and while developed nations remain hobbled by the financial crisis, Brazil, India and China are emerging stronger than ever, both economically and politically. (Example: As the appetite for luxury in the developed world wanes, it’s on the rise in China; in October, dozens of French luxury labels, including Christian Dior and Chanel, launched a Web site <http://www.ccolbert.fr/> to promote their brands in the region.)
Products designed for emerging markets are increasingly filtering into the developed world, where consumers are welcoming them as cheaper and simpler alternatives to existing choices. (Example: India’s Mahindra & Mahindra is gaining market share against John Deere, offering suburban lawn-owners in the U.S. a lower-horsepower tractor at lower prices.)
Retooling for an Aging World
As the world’s population grows older than it’s ever been, watch for a proliferation of products and services that cater to this demographic as they strive to live independently for as long as they can. (Example: Thermador has designed a glass cooktop that automatically shuts off when cooking is completed.)
Life in Real Time
The Web is evolving into a constantly updating stream of real-time information, conversation, memes and images. This is creating an increasingly mass culture and shifting perceptions of “current,” moving modern life into the “now.” (Example: During the World Series, the Huffington Post created a real-time hub that collected the Twitter feeds of baseball writers, Yankees mavens and Phillies commenters.)
With more location-based services and advanced mobile and mapping technologies hitting the market, the conversation will become as much about “where I am” as it is about “what I’m doing” and “what’s on my mind.” (Example: Foursquare, a gaming app, uses geo-tagging technology to help users find and share bars, restaurants and other venues with friends.)
The ongoing shift from words to images will accelerate, and we’ll see increasingly innovative ways to explain and illuminate complex topics. (Example: The animated online short “The Crisis of Credit Visualized <http://www.crisisofcredit.com/> ” blends storytelling, journalism and analysis to make a complex topic easier to grasp.)
If you'd like to read about each trend in detail, you can purchase the full report by clicking here.
Here's what I am wondering…which of these trends do you think will have the most impact on your business in 2010? And…what are you doing to maximize the opportunity?