I’m doing a pro bono piece of work for Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade organisation. Its to help the Traidcraft board with their 10 year vision and 3 year strategic plan and the rough title of the presentation they’d like me to give is the customer environment – thinking ten years ahead.
Gulp. I know, looking ten years ahead is a bit of a finger-in-the-air exercise and with a remit that includes UK demographic trends, broad brush consumer trends, shopping behaviours, what we’re likely to be buying (food and non food) in 2020 and ethical consumers, it’s a VERY big ask.
Which is why I’d really like some help. Inspired by Neil crowdsourcing his online communities speech, I asked Traidcraft and they said that they’re happy for me to use this blog to ask if any of you might be able to help me out a little bit with this?
Have you recently stumbled across something interesting on t’interweb that relates to this? Got strong opinions on future shopping behaviors (especially mail order/online)? Are you a keen futurologist in your spare time?
I have to pull this all together in three weeks – if any of you can help out I promise to share the final presentation (minus any commercially sensitive bits) here on the blog and to fully credit anyone’s contribution, however small.
Thankyouverymuch in advance.
(my email is sevensteps at tiscali dotcodotuk)
5 thoughts on “2020 vision – help needed with charidee consumer trends presentation please”
Righto, first off, the thing about the future is that it’s pretty much the same as the past. Technology changes, but people remain the same. When it comes to how people shop, it comes down to how people make choices and the mistake most companies make is exactly the same as the one economists make…..that people make perfectly sensible, rational choices.
But they don’t. Thanks to quirks of evolution, our rational side is always at war with out instinctive, emotional side. The instinctive side tends to take over when we have to make a decison quick (like run from that Lion).
It’s winning in more and more shopping decisions as we all continually suffer the tyranny of choice.
Even in recession, we make too much stuff. Life’s too complex, we’re too busy to plan and think…so we let the instinctive side do more…even we though we don’t know this.
Behavioural Economics is new-ish discipline working to understand what really drives people to make the decisions they do – which is great for any brand, escpescially a retail, who wants to influence and ultimateley ‘bias’ that choice.
Here’s a couple of hard and fast rules:
We love scarcity – sounds silly, but something is instinctively more valuable to us if it’s rare. Until they found a cheap way to extract it, the nobility has alumiium cultlery. Limited editions, limited offers, all that still works. This is maybe even more important in a world of unlimted choice – tell someone they can’t have it and they’ll want it even more.
If you want someone to choose something, give them a slightly less good alternative. It sounds daft, but we find it easier to choose by basis of comparison, and we like to compare like with like. So if you want to pull, go out with a slightly uglier twin. If you want to sell a certain fridge at a certain offer, also make available a similar fridge, not quite as good, with a less good offer. Once again, when we’re awash with choice, this will be a powerful tool.
We like to belong – we’re much more likely to buy something if we know others like us have. That’s why album charts are so important to the music industry – we buy what we think is popular. Any chance you have to share a top 10 or a winning taste test, do it.
We do odd things when aroused. Judgement disappears when we get in an emotional state – much of good retail needs to be about getting people excited (and how will you do this in an evermore online future?)
Like I say, this stuff isn’t new, it’s real human behaviour – the trick is applying this to new technology – that changes, but people do not.
Thinking about the future though, there’s a dividing line between those under the age of about 25ish and those above. Those above that age will still respond to traditional ‘above the line’ interruption communications, of course, you have to be interesting and earn attentiion etc.
For those under 25, they just don’t consume media that way. They’re used to being in control and doing stuff in a multi platform way…………..so if you’re going to have anything to do with kids, learn new skills.
Or you could focus on the baby boomers with all the money….
Hope that helps Gemma. No time to spellcheck or anything. Time to do the baby feed before setting off for work….
…and this should come in handy (on homes family and stuff)..source LSN Global
Family sizes are changing, and our homes are adapting to accommodate new social and environmental behaviours.
UK households are becoming more integrated, connected and multifunctional. By 2020, blended technology will become the norm. Communal spaces – whether within the home or the wider community –will be more common. And, with 12m of us potentially working from our apartments or houses, the concept of the home office will be redefined.
A typical Friday evening is spent sitting together in the media room, watching BBC HD iPlayer. Only the family isn’t really together: one of the kids is bidding for something online, the eldest is playing a game on his new iPhone, and mum’s looking at photos on Facebook. Dad’s got one eye on the programme he missed yesterday, while the other’s on his BlackBerry, checking Twitter feeds. Staying in is an act of post-recessionary precaution – but families like this one will spend £50bn on technology by 2010, according to Mintel, happily sacrificing other forms of entertainment to get the latest in-home gadgets.
This set-up is typical of today’s average UK family. These are aspirational, mainly white voters who define themselves as working or middle class. They live in the home counties in a house worth about £200k. He (aged 40) and she (37) holiday once a year, and together bring home over £700 a week. Spaghetti Bolognese used to be their favourite dish, but now they prefer Chinese food.
A decade ago, the family living in this house used possessions and dining out to impress. The Mondeo was the object of desire. Now, as aspirations change, the car of choice is a second-hand Peugeot – a practical vehicle for getting the family about. The recession, underpinned with trends like Homedulgence (where people entertain themselves and others at home, rather than going out), have encouraged people to make the home a more proactive place for engaging with friends and family.
Dinner parties are thrown at home to save money, but also because this demographic prides itself on cooking from scratch. They throw in fresh vegetables from the garden to impress their guests (see our report on Food Trends for more). They aspire to buying organic food, but use cheap cuts of meat while the recession bites. They compost and recycle, and they want to get some solar panelling like they’ve seen on the Channel 4 show Grand Designs, once things have picked up. Before the recession, they spent £1,319 each year on their home.
We’ve dubbed this shift in tastes The New Normal it’s a change in UK household behaviours that is set to define the coming decade.
Mondeo Man and Woman haven’t only changed their car. According to the Future Foundation, 70% of ‘Peugeot People’ are concerned about what they can do to help the environment. While Mondeo Man and Woman binned 85% of their waste without thought, Peugeot People put 54% of their rubbish into landfill, according to the Office for National Statistics. They’d like to put in even less.
The biggest change to our lifestyle is the result of technology. Nearly three quarters (71%) of people have a computer now, compared to just 58% in 2003, according to Mintel. The number of people with internet access rose by 184% between 2000 and 2008, according to Nielsen; 23% of Peugeot People rate the internet as the most important ‘gadget’ in their life, using it to socialise, shop and date, as well as to access music and tv shows.
In 2000, the Mondeos had yet to experience Wikipedia. They’d only been using Google for two years, collectively putting in fewer than 500,000 searches a day. Likewise, dvds had only been on the market for a few years. The iPod was still a year off. In 1997, 19% of people had digital tv; now, 89% do. Wireless internet wasn’t in the home. The consequence of these advances is that there has been a 75% increase in technology sales over the last decade.
A number of issues have accelerated these changes. The recession, climate change and an increased focus on sustainability in the media have forced the average person to drastically realign his or her values, as our Consumer Attitudes Audit and Brand Personality Register demonstrate.
The change in ethos is significant. Lifestyle bingeing is a thing of the past. Peugeot People don’t think these old ways can be sustained, and they are doing something about it, albeit in small steps.
They only buy what they need, and they buy the best version they can afford. This has considerably changed the way their house looks. Austerity and a new sense of sobriety are very much part of their new day-to-day philosophy. There is also a new sense of design: a more pared-down aesthetic rules, and our Peugeot People are buying products with a sense of history – products that will last
Because of these changes, there is a curious hybrid of high technology and natural, sober furnishings in our lounges. The sleek white B&B Italia copy of 10 years ago has been replaced by something inspired by Ercol, and better made. The ‘Louis Ghost Chair’ by Philippe Starck for Kartell is no longer the object of desire. Instead, there’s an appreciation for craftsmanship – 63% of us would rather buy one beautifully made item than lots of cheaper items, according to the Future Foundation, and 61% of us are trying to buy less. Classics are back.
‘The chairs we sell most are the Eames fibreglass chairs,’ says Sheridan Coakley, founder and managing director of furniture manufacturer and retailer SCP.
‘Merchandise is picked up with a collector’s eye,’ says trends researcher Li Edelkoort. ‘Things that are unique are important. Trends aren’t.’
Materials move in and out of popularity, though. This year, it’s wood: natural, humble and durable. It’s evident in most of the furnishings: according to Mintel, sales of wood shutters have grown by 44% in the last few years. Wood suits this DIY-keen generation, whose members might download ‘designer’ instructions online to make their own furniture.
But it’s not on furnishings that money is spent. We spend 25% less on home furnishings today than we did five years ago, according to GfK. ‘The home-furnishings business is suffering,’ Coakley confirms. Rather, gadgets are the popular choice, and we each spend £2,050 a year on tech, according to electronics retailer Micro Anvika, because we rely on it. Nearly four in 10 (38%) of us would give up a night out to buy an iPod, according to Mintel, as this is how we now access our information.
There is no freestanding cd unit in this lounge (there are no cds) and the bookshelf could go the same way. Amazon’s wireless reading device, Kindle, increased the company’s income by 24% in the US at the beginning of 2009 and the e-book is expected to be as popular in the UK. Interiors are set to become more compact, neutral and less cluttered as books, dvds and cds are replaced with iPods, Kindles, e-readers and MP3 players.
‘Our thirst for technology means when desirable new technologies are launched such as LCD and plasma, the value of the market can easily grow. The same thing happened with laptops,’ says Nigel Catlow, business group director of consumer electronics at GfK Retail and Technology. So when Philips launches its 3D WOWvx tv over the next year, this family will find the money to buy it – alongside the computer games controlled by thought alone, due to launch in the next few years.
This technology binge might sit at odds with the family’s green credentials, but consumers keep a check on how much electricity they use: 64% never leave their television on standby overnight, according to the Office for National Statistics, and energy consumption monitors are increasing in popularit
Ten years ago, the kitchen unit was Boffi inspired – a sterile stainless-steel or Corian unit with sleek surfaces, and professional sink taps. Gadgets were plentiful – the number of coffee machines sold doubled in five years. Appliances were bright, retro and showy.
The way we behave in our kitchen has changed hugely. According to Mintel, a decade of celebrity chefs stressing the importance of home cooking and quality ingredients means 41% of us now cook everything from scratch and only 11% of us use a microwave regularly. More 18-24-year-olds than 25-30-year-olds or 35-44-year-olds rate the cooker as one of the most important electrical devices. Cooking is now a slower and more considered activity, a fact made evident by the year-on-year increase in sales of slow cookers and crock pots.
In the kitchen, too, overindulgence is frowned upon. Fewer but better ingredients are used, less food is thrown away, and the egg is back: as consumers seek to economise, Mintel predicts eggs to go up 15% in value in 2009 due to their relatively cheap price, further awareness about their health benefits and consumers’ desire to make meals from scratch to save money. It is the only food market to see double-digit growth forecast for 2009.
But this doesn’t mean we’ve stopped experimenting – 45% say experimenting is the strongest influence on the food they eat. Many ethnic dishes are prepared in the British kitchen. Organic food remains ideologically popular even if people aren’t splashing out on it, and healthier foods are important, especially with 30% of under-13s suffering from obesity. After the recession, this family will spend £2k more each year on food, according to price comparison website uSwitch.
Contrary to popular belief, 82% of parents have dinner with their children every day, and 58% have dinner with all the members of the household every day, according to the Future Foundation. Eating together in this room will become more popular, but there are still distractions – a BBC iPlayer is in here, as is a laptop, on which to download recipes.
White goods, such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines, are bought for their energy-efficiency levels. We are also witnessing the rise of the chill cabinet for wine and for storing chilled foods, fresh vegetables and herbs. Food is nurtured and valued, so more room is given to storing fresh produce in larders and other storage areas.
Overall, the biggest shift is that Peugeot People have connected the kitchen with the garden. The compost goes into the garden, and produce from the garden comes into the kitchen.
Nearly half (45%) of 25-44-year-olds feel the need to be closer to the countryside, and 44% of settled suburban dwellers grow or plan to grow their own vegetables, according to the Future Foundation. A similar proportion (49%) of adults garden, according to ‘Social Trends 2008’, a report by the Office for National Statistics. At DIY retailer B&Q, sales of fruit and vegetable seeds increased by almost a third last year; seed supplier Suttons now sells more vegetable seeds than flower seeds.
For those without a garden who are nonetheless keen to grow their own produce, the allotment is back. According to the principal local authorities in England, 76,330 people are waiting for an allotment – in some areas, people could be waiting as long as 40 years.
‘We’ve come full circle,’ says landscape gardener Stephen Woodhams, who is also a Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner. ‘Children need to learn how to grow vegetables.’
Lack of a garden is no barrier, with walls and roof spaces used to grow food. ‘Communal spaces are becoming vegetable plots. For tight communal spaces, we’re becoming more creative, creating rooftop gardens and shared courtyards,’ Woodhams says. Design research studio loop.pH has developed accessible ways in which to grow food in compact urban areas.
Window farming systems are being developed, whereby salad leaves, for example, can be grown hydroponically in compact units (like small water bottles) that are stacked on top of one another.
In terms of design, Woodhams says, gardens are starting to look more like outdoor rooms. ‘A lot of people want outdoor kitchens with a BBQ and sink,’ he says. There was a trend for outdoor furniture to resemble indoor furniture, but the recession nipped that in the bud, and opulence has been replaced with practicality, as consumers focus on what’s needed. However, the idea of the garden as a third room is strong, and, as outdoor space is increasingly coordinated with the house, colours, patterns and materials used inside will increasingly be found outside.
‘Whatever their budget, people want their garden to be sustainable,’ Woodhams says. ‘They want native plants that are suitable for the conditions and that don’t need lots of water. In the future, the sculpture will be a water collector rather than a water feature, so people can save water and use it when needed.’ Weed beds that clean household water for use in the garden are becoming popular as well.
‘We are seeing an increase in personal PR campaigns, facilitated and pressured by social media,’ says Richard Martin, business director at media agency Mediaedge:cia. ‘People are behaving more like celebrities, sharing their public persona through photos, blogs and self-publishing. Being constantly on show seems to make first impressions more important.’
The bathroom is where preparations for the online image take place, and is also increasingly considered to be a personal spa. ‘This is a room for pampering as well as self-diagnosis, and is the only room in the whole house where you have total privacy,’ Edelkoort says. ‘They are the only places for busy mums to be completely alone.’
Bathrooms are increasingly styled as wetrooms, where the shower unit has dissolved into the fabric of the room. The appliance of choice is the overhead rain shower. Large, jacuzzi-style baths are also popular, but there will be a sharp change here soon. While the wetroom style will remain, the appliances that ravenously consume water rather than value it will quickly look dated. As consumers become more eco-aware, they will fit appliances that monitor water use, and will probably lose the bath.
In 2010, the government will launch its Clean Energy Cashback scheme, whereby homeowners will be paid for any excess green electricity they feed into the grid. The scheme aims to encourage householders to fit solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps. The Peugeot Person family, among the 70% concerned about what they can do to protect the environment, aspires to live this way: 58% of them believe it is their task to make their home energy efficient, according to the Future Foundation – especially as living in a house that hasn’t been refitted for reduced carbon emissions will be seen as uncouth.
But the works won’t happen this year – just 3% of Brits have a means of generating renewable energy, and 11% will make plans to do so this year, according to the Future Foundation. Meanwhile, 53% think they are doing enough, and 35% say they need advice about what to do next. This family is open to change, but is not prepared to splash out just yet.
The house displays signs of eco-awareness, but for now it’s through austerity rather than substantial investment: buying less, using less, monitoring usage, insulating the house and buying appliances that use electricity efficiently.
By 2016, the government aim is for all new buildings to be carbon neutral, and their aesthetic will alter to help achieve this. Holger Kehne, co-founder of Plasma Studio architects, says it’s as much about insulation and careful placing as investing in alternative energies – for example, putting the windows on the south of the house for heat gain. This is in line with RIBA’s advice to architects: the design of a dwelling generally focuses on keeping heat in and making use of heat gains such as from daylight, internal lighting and heat from cookers.
A significant development in the next 10 years will be how the fabric of households and families will change. By 2020, for the first time, more of us will be living alone (37%) than as married couples (36%), and children living with both of their biological parents in the same household will be in the minority, according to the Future Foundation. There will be more re-formed families, two families merging to become one, and others that live ‘apart together’.
The biggest change will be in the number of young adults living with their parents: two thirds of 20-24-year-old men and a quarter of 25-29-year-old women will be living at home, according to the Future Foundation.
‘This generation doesn’t feel the need to leave home to prove itself,’ says trends consultant William Higham. ‘They are more prudent with money and more together financially. They will contribute to the home. And the way pensions are going, grandparents will also be moving in, too.’
This will result in more extensions to the home and more multigenerational living, Higham says. In the Netherlands, the first buildings to accommodate three generations are being built.
‘The house is about solutions,’ says interior designer Ilse Crawford. ‘It’s a living puzzle – you have the basic structure, but then the rest fits you. People are comfy with the idea of personalised space.’
However, this family might not own a property. ‘We’ve moved away from the idea of possession,’ Higham says. ‘This generation hasn’t owned physical cds – they don’t care about possessions, they just want access.’
In 10 years’ time, the New Millennials (children born between 1981 and 2000) will be grown up and will turn into Mr and Mrs Average. If they do buy their own home, they are likely to do so at an older age than previous generations, and will buy fewer properties. Nearly half of 25-34-year-olds expect to move house just once or twice, according to the Future Foundation. And houses will be bought to be homes, rather than investments. They will be lived in and extended in an unconventional, estate agent-unfriendly manner, to suit the needs of the fami
The kitchen will increasingly become the social heart of the house, so more of the house’s space will be given to this zone.
‘Kitchens will become more countrified,’ Edelkoort says. ‘There will be the influence of the farm, and they will look like people use them. There will be long, thin benches which are big enough for lots of people to gather round and to prepare food at. There might even be a daybed where others sit or lie as the chef works.’
Appliances will be on broadband and will become more intelligent to reduce energy consumption. ‘They will save up energy during off-peak times and make it easier to distribute energy throughout the day,’ says technology consultant Don Norman.
‘Appliances won’t become more complicated with more dials,’ says designer Paul Priestman of Priestman Goode. ‘You’ll have buttons that make the machine do what you did last time.’
Food will have RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, with information about the freshness and healthiness of each product, so users can track a sausage’s journey from pig to plate. It’s possible that appliances and RFID-tagged food will be able to ‘talk’ so fridges can scan the food stored in them and search the internet for recipes.
The kitchen will be full of home-grown and locally sourced produce. Products that make cooking from scratch easier, such as Electrolux Inspiro ovens that automatically determine cooking times, will be fitted as standard.
At the other end of the scale, making fast food will be just as common. This generation hasn’t slowed down – rather, it has sped up, and we can expect to see a lot of new technology and foods that enable quick food preparation.
Synthetic food will be mainstream. By 2020, it is predicted that 60% of the population will spend more on healthy food, but only 29% will spend more on organic food. The functional food market – which is already worth $72.3bn – will be in full swing. Their goals will be to heighten our performance and enhance our health. Nanofoods that strip out fats and sugars, and with added nutrients and vitamins, will be commonplace.
Electrolux’s Inspiro oven features an automatic cooking technique comparable to the auto-focus function on cameras; ‘Philips Design Probe: Food’ by Philips Design; ‘Cocoon’ concept by Rickard Hederstierna for Electrolux Design Lab prepares genetically engineered and pre-packaged food using RFID signals
Securing the supply of food will become an increasingly important issue over the next decade.
‘Eighty percent of what is eaten in Britain is controlled by supermarkets, and only a fraction of this is locally grown,’ says John Thackara, producer of City Eco Lab, a series of sustainability projects that formed the centrepiece event of the 2008 St Etienne Design Biennale. ‘The UK is completely dependent on a system that would last two to three days if there were a hiccup,’
Thackara predicts that we will come to buy produce directly from producers. ‘Networks are already in place, such as box schemes that deliver local produce to your door,’ he says. ‘There will be a collaborative approach to food. We will stop relying on intermediaries and will get involved ourselves. Systems will be in place such as maps of what can be produced in an area.’
In the next 10 years, some homes will no longer be connected to an allotment, but to a working micro-farm. Families will own poultry and cattle; already, the sale of pigs has risen 40% this year, and 750,000 households in the UK keep chickens. By 2020, keeping livestock will become more mainstream.
Bedrooms in the 2020 house will be more like bedsits – each family member will have his or her own space, containing as much media and technology as the rest of the house does. ‘Everyone will always want a corner – a relaxing room or space,’ Higham says. For busy parents, the bedroom is their corner – a retreat. Like the bathroom, which is now a key room in the house, the bedroom will be a space for self-preservation and pampering. All mattresses will be orthopaedic.
With children living at home for longer, family homes will have more grown-ups, and the bedroom – no longer just for sleeping – will become a space to live in, a place where a parent can relax alone, consume media of his or her choice or read a book. The old family couch will be shunted in here, along with a tv and desktop computer. Consumers in their 30s and 40s will turn their bedrooms into media spaces with flat-screen tvs, digital projectors and wall screens. ‘Proactive relaxation’ will also take place, with the help of lighting, sound, vision and smell. In these ways, people will get more value out of what many have in the past seen as a redundant space.
The increased awareness in health and wellbeing could see the bedroom with another function – a small gym. As exercise equipment becomes both cheaper and more sophisticated, more people will invest in keep-fit gear.
In some households with large joined families, bedrooms could be turned into large, dormitory-style spaces for several children, Crawford suggests. Ultimately, she says, the interior design rule book will have been thrown away, and people will be more confident to do whatever best suits their specific requirements, choosing interior arrangements, no matter how unusual, that fill the need of the family.
The washlet (a toilet and bidet in one) has moved out of the bathroom into a small room of its own. For those with more space and money, there is a sauna. There won’t be bath and shower combinations – most people will only have a shower. ‘There could be quite a strong reaction against the bath,’ Crawford says.
Saving water is integral to this room. More appliances will have meters, and taps and showerheads that mix water with air will be standard.
Good lighting built into the fabric of the walls is important in this room – partly for grooming, but also for self-care. Self-examination is predicted to be part of daily life by 2020, so the bathroom will become more of a health room. Sales of kits to measure blood pressure, blood glucose and body fat rose 30% between 2002 and 2007 – these self-diagnosis devices will get more sophisticated and popular in the future. There is also scope for online diagnosis, whereby images taken from the home are externally assessed by dentists and doctors
Rooms as we have traditionally known them will change. Relaxing, reading, working and consuming media will be integrated into all areas of the house. Separate rooms will be replaced with big open spaces with room dividers. ‘Areas will be divided with textiles and there will be secret spaces,’ Edelkoort says.
‘Everyone will have a bedsit, so spaces downstairs will be more communal,’ Crawford says. ‘There will be much less furniture – the house will have been emptied and reduced to essentials.’ Shelves will display objects of value such as crafts and beautifully made books.
Predicting in more detail what the communal space will look like is difficult, because trends will be out of fashion. ‘Before, people wanted a [particular] look,’ Crawford says. ‘Now, they will want something tailored to their lives. It’s about creating a stage or frame for the family to live in. The American dream family has gone. This house is realistic about people – it doesn’t pretend that everyone wants to be together all the time. People do come together, but for activities, such as games or playing a musical instrument – the room will be messier.’
While media that one might find in a media room, such as a flat-screen tv or a Nintendo game system, began to make its way into the bedroom in 2010, by 2020 the accepted notion will be that media is everywhere. The media room, as such, will cease to exist, as there will now be media in every room, integrated into the fabric of the house.
‘Product design is becoming more like architecture,’ Priestman says. ‘‘Hof Houses’ being built now have technology integrated into the house. Screens and projectors have disappeared into the walls.’
‘By 2020, there will be so much media that we will see a lot of distraction-free zones and periods introduced,’ Norman says. ‘Parents may enforce a turn-off-at-mealtimes policy.’
Access to music and films is now only online. The objects that do exist are peripherals, such as add-on speakers or wireless headphones. ‘Designing has become more about interfaces. Accessing technology and media becomes more intuitive,’ Priestman says.
In 2020, the house will be completely carbon efficient. New houses will be integrated with carbon calculators and water monitors. We could also see an increase in self-cleaning surfaces that reduce the need for chemical cleaners, and walls embedded with appliances that suck dirt.
There will be a trend for living outside cities, but with the total number of households in the UK expected to increase by 2.4m to 28.9m, housing in towns will be dense. ‘We will lean towards the Japanese way of living,’ says Dominic McKenzie, director of Alison Brooks Architects, referring both to the density of accommodation in Tokyo, as well as the style of communal living familiar to the city. ‘We might also see a relaxation on building upwards, and roof extensions.’
‘We’re very romantic about the idea of shared communal space,’ Kehne says. ‘We’re interested in ways of bringing landscape into the city. There are more and more examples of shared communal spaces that are working.’
Villages will aim for self sufficiency in energy and, up to a point, food. ‘The garden will once again become part of the community,’ Woodhams says. ‘We spend so much time communicating on email, but nothing beats standing outdoors and asking your neighbour, ‘How are your peas growing?’ We miss that kind of communication.’
Communal living will extend to transport: while those who choose to own a car will have the most energy-efficient one on the market, others will rely on pay-as-you-go car-rental schemes, such as Streetcar.
We will get a taste for sharing, Thackara says, and this sentiment will hold for many objects – even lawnmowers.
What This Means to Your Brand
It is easy to blame the recession for some of the key changes we are witnessing in European households, and in UK homes especially. While this has undoubtedly had an impact, it is only part of the reason why these changes are taking place. Our growing concerns about waste, and how we reduce our carbon footprint, should also be factored in.
As far back as 2006 – before the recession – The Future Laboratory’s researchers were explaining to Trend Briefing attendees that austerity, sobriety and a push towards more considered methods of consumption would dominate consumer agendas for the coming decade. The recession has merely crystallised and brought forward a shift in how we live and what we need to live, and these changes will become permanent fixtures in the decade to come.
Just as celebrity defined the 90s, and bling and its associated excesses defined the 00s, controlled consumption will define the coming decade. This does not mean that people will not spend excessively. Nor does it mean that they will not pamper or preen themselves once more when markets pick up and lifestyle spends become more readily available. But it does mean that they will be more cautious about buying brands, products or services that do not reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
They will also look for brands that last and brands that help them reduce their environmental footprint in the home, especially if they receive carbon credits from local councils for reducing emissions, or penalties for being careless. Design, as opposed to designers, will define what they buy. You will hear the term ‘glimmer’ used by industry insiders to describe household goods, products or items of furniture that contain the hallmark characteristics likely to ‘spark’ a consumer’s interest, and attract their attention.
‘We are living in a time of huge possibilities, with more creative tools and global idea sharing than ever before. But we also face enormous constraints due to unprecedented problems such as climate change, strained natural resources and economic turmoil,’ says Warren Berger, author of Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Business, Your Life, and Maybe Even the World. ‘The time is ripe for innovative ideas and solutions. Glimmer curates the best thinking of the world’s top designers and lights the way forward.’
Technology sales are also set to grow as more people invest in their homes. We expect to see sales of flat-screen tvs, home cinemas, games consoles and lighting rise by 30%, as media rooms and bedrooms become the focus of consumers, particularly our ThirtyfiveUps and Generation Jonesers.
Why these two groups in particular? They are using their flats and houses as hometainment centres and spaces in which to indulge.
If the home office symbolised the shift to flexecutive living that 3m people in the UK made over the past decade, then the studio will define how we work out of the office over the next decade. This will be a more creative, collaborative and less hierarchical open-plan area, with the possibility of the home office being dispersed throughout the house. Flexible hours will potentially allow up to 12m people in the UK to choose their home as the new place to go to work. By 2020, a quarter of the population is likely to work from home more than once a week.
They will also stay put and invest: in gardens, roof terraces and canteen-style kitchens, with associated inside/outside dining areas that are set to drive furniture sales.
But remember: as people place an increased emphasis on health, wellness and the need to find more time alone, we expect to see bathrooms and bedrooms become new profit centres, as they are more actively and extensively used. These rooms will be more self-contained and will facilitate withdrawal from the communal hum of the general household.
Technology will drive sales in these areas, alongside beauty and pampering products, more effective storage systems, couches, recliners, easy chairs and tables as we make these occasional areas less about occasion and more about lifestyle strategy – the need to recharge, relax, recalibrate, indulge, or reboot mentally and physically.
Bathrooms and bedrooms have lain dormant, but, with the right push and a more proactive conversation with the consumer, they can become new places from which they – and you – can extract value.
I think Northern just covered everything I could possibly have thought of or found. As I don’t have time to read it all sorry if I duplicate anything he mentioned in more detail!
The IPA are making a big deal out of Behavioural Economics, books like Predictably Irrational do a good job of covering the topic in an easy to read fashion.
In terms of the attitudes of people towards buying there has been a lot of talk about how people actually change very little despite all the upheaval and technological growth around us. Yet it’s important to remember that the generations becoming adults between now and 2020 are the first to grow up with the internet and global communication as a fundamental part of their everyday lives. There’s a famous quote that we drastically overestimate short term change and drastically underestimate long term change; and this is worth bearing in mind in my view.
What we buy will probably be not as far from now as we tend to think. If previous trends say much then after this recession era of looking back and being nostalgic, there may well be an era of searching for the new.
Will try and add more if I get time!
Hope this helps.
I only got a chance to speed read this but some of Northern’s comments at the end chimed with the following.
There’s an important shift towards local. Clever people everywhere see that if it’s shipped in on fossil fuel it’s likely to not be there in 20 years or so. Maybe 5 who knows. So that’s local, barter economy, local currencies and a tectonic shift against the corporation and banks. Of course wonderful hypocrites that we are. We like some top down hierarchical, big agra, big pharma and big media stuff. So its likely that the future is a mix of what we want, what we want to be, what we cant do without, what we can’t admit we can’t do without and cutting out the stuff where we’re reliant on the institutions that provide them. Its slow moving but its undeniable. You only have to look at Russell Davies planning homework thing from three or four years ago. Its about cruise ships. He knew then where it was heading but he’s much to cautious to say it explicitly. I’m not.
I’ll retweet your link and maybe it will get some response but you know how it goes. I don’t even know if you’ve been getting my mails. Or I’d be inclined to go on a bit more but in any case. If you haven’t read/listened to most of Doug Rushkoffs blog/podcasts and/or Rob Paterson’s blog on food and self reliance you’re missing out on all the good stuff.