Consumer Trends in 2012

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Consumer Trends in 2012toolbox_businesswebsmall delivers an overview of 12 must-know consumer trends for you to run with in the next 12 months.


1.       Red Carpet

In 2012, department stores, airlines, hotels, theme parks, museums, if not entire cities and nations around the world will roll out the red carpet for the new emperors, showering Chinese visitors and customers with tailored services and perks, and in general, lavish attention and respect.

2.       DIY Health

Expect to see consumers take advantage of new technologies and apps to discreetly and continuously track, manage and be alerted to, any changes in their personal health.

3.       Dealer-Chic

In 2012, not only will consumers continue to hunt for deals and discounts, but they will do so with relish if not pride. Deals are now about more than just saving money: it’s the thrill, the pursuit, the control, and the perceived smartness, and thus a source of status too.

4.       Eco-cycology

Brands will increasingly take back all of their products for recycling (sometimes forced by new legislation), and recycle them responsibly and innovatively.

5.       Cash-less

Will coins and notes completely disappear in 2012? No. But a cashless future is (finally) upon us, as major players such as MasterCard and Google work to build a whole new eco-system of payments, rewards and offers around new mobile technologies.

6.       Bottom of the Urban Pyramid

The majority of consumers live in cities, yet in much of the world city life is chaotic, cramped and often none too pleasant. However at the same time, the creativity and vibrancy of these aspiring consumers, means that the global opportunities for brands which cater to the hundreds of millions of lower-income CITYSUMERS are unprecedented.

7.       Idle Sourcing

Anything that makes it downright simple- if not completely effortless- for consumers to contribute to something will be more popular than ever in 2012. Unlocked by the spread of ever smarter sensors in mobile phones, people will not only be able but increasingly willing, to broadcast information about where and what they are doing, to help improve products and services.

8.       Flawsome

Why to consumers, brands that behave more humanly, including exposing their flaws, will be awesome.

9.       Screen Culture

Thanks to the continued explosion of touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and the 'cloud', 2012 will see a SCREEN CULTURE that is not only more pervasive, but more personal, more immersive and more interactive than ever.

10.    Recommerce

It’s never been easier for savvy consumers to resell or trade in past purchases, and unlock the value in their current possessions. In 2012, ‘trading in’ is the new buying.

11.    Emerging Maturialism

While cultural differences will continue to shape consumer desires, middle-class and/or younger consumers in almost every market will embrace brands that push the boundaries. Expect frank, risqué or non-corporate products, services and campaigns from emerging markets to be on the rise in 2012.

 12. Point & Know

Consumers are used to being able to find out just about anything that’s online or text-based, but 2012 will see instant visual information gratification brought into the real and visual world with objects and even people.

For loyal readers, this is by now old news: the four ways to apply these consumer trends, and make some money from the innovations they spawn. Just ask yourself if they have the potential to (and if so, how):

  1. Influence or shape your company's vision.

  2. Inspire you to come up with a new business concept, an entirely new venture, a new brand.

  3. Add a new product, service or experience for a certain customer segment.

  4. Speak the language of those consumers already 'living' a trend.

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