I have been a big fan of Trend Watching for a couple of years now, mainly after stumbling across their monthly trend briefings. So, I was really excited when I heard they were bringing their Consumer Trend Seminars to Sydney.

I headed along to the half-day seminar, which is being run in 13 cities over the next couple of months. It covered the key global consumer trends as well as top 10 Asia Pacific consumer trends. The final session was an interactive workshop to help attendees apply their new-found knowledge. Or to put it another way – how to convince their bosses to implement their new ideas!

Parts of the seminar were tailored to the Australian audience, with a smattering of Australian businesses mentioned. And the information was certainly up to date, with all the video interviews with consumers on the streets of the world, only just days old.

Henry Mason, Trend Watching’s global head of research, ran us through the mega trends and also a number of the sub-trends and I’ve reproduced the full list below.  Don’t you just love some of the names – Statusphere, Infolust, Fuzzynomics, Social Cramming!

But what defines a consumer trend? Trend Watching calls it:

A manifestation of something that has ‘unlocked’ or newly service an existing consumer need, desire, want or value.

Trend Watching isn’t just listing what’s hot right now or peering into a crystal ball and “guessing” the next big thing. I see their value as being able to look across markets and industries and identify ideas that can be combined or applied in new spaces. It’s about helping you catch “the wave” before it catches you!

Here are a couple example and insights that stood out for me:

  • Consumers are increasingly desiring the “unique” or to put it another way – they no longer want to keep up with the Jone’s, they want something different

  • Status stories, skills and smarts. How are you empowering your customer to cram or quickly develop new skills and enabling them to tell the world?  Virtual visibility is now a social currency – does it really matter if it is not seen and recorded online?!

  • Are there ways your business can bring features of the online world, offline, to provide a more relevant experience for your customers? An example I loved was a clothes racks that show how many “likes” that particular item has received online

  • What info do you have that you can make accessible to your customers, which will help them feel empowered? The rise of DIY health sites and services are examples of this

  • Are you keeping an eye on the needs of the emerging consumer markets? Two examples of these new consumers were given – Virgin and Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Consumers. Virgin consumers are newly affluent Asian consumers that are buying certain products and services for the first time. While BOP consumers want urban conveniences that cater to their more limited lifestyles and prospects. Both of these consumer markets are growing at a dramatic rate, and businesses need to get better at understanding their specific needs

  • Is your brand being as relevant and interesting as possible? If not, you run the risk of not being “discovered” online because the majority of consumers are now using the online to discover by “default”, they are not actively searching for you anymore

About our Ambassador // Lisa Fox is a recovering a Government Lawyer and the Cofounder and Director of the peer-to-peer rental site, Open Shed.  Lisa is passionate about spreading the word about the Australian Collaborative Consumption movement and helping Australians access what they need when they need it! Connect with Lisa via @_lisafox or @openshed.