Too fast a pace, too little time, causes societal schizophrenia and
forces us to assume multiple roles
Faith Popcorn's 99 LIVES Observations:
• I tuned in to 99 Lives when someone at a BrainReserve
TrendProbe said, "Today I don’t even have time to realize how
busy I am."
• I predict that by 2010, 90% of all consumer goods will be home-
• Time is the new money: people would rather spend money than
• 80% of Americans are looking for ways to simplify their lives.
A reaching back to our spiritual roots, taking what was secure
from the past
in order to be ready for the future.
Faith Popcorn's ANCHORING Observations:
• 69% of Americans believe in angels, and 46% have their own guardian
• Two-thirds of Americans report mystical experiences.
• 90% say religion is important.
• 72% pray every day.
• 40% us believe in faith healing.
• Christian bookstores reap $3 billion in annual sales.
• The Internet has over 72,000 sites devoted to Christian themes.
• People are looking beyond Western traditions to alternative spirituality
• 3 million Americans practice yoga & martial arts.
• Many of us are looking for more personal anchors, exploring family
The Internet and software shelves are full of systems for tracking
Rootsweb.com gets 400,000 hits a day.
Polluted air, contaminated water and tainted food stir up a storm
consumer doubt and uncertainty.
Faith Popcorn's ATMOSFEAR Observations:
• I first noticed this Trend at a hospital several years ago. I passed
someone in the hallway pulling their sleeve down to cover their hand
before turning a doorknob. What’s that, I thought?
– Bacteria & germs worry 96% of adults (up from 77% in ‘95).
– Headlines scream about E.coli, mad cow disease, listeria, pfiesteria,
– Bottled water sales in U.S. have risen 144% in last 10 years.
• 73% of Americans use antibacterial liquid soap. Are we clean enough yet?
Awareness that good health extends longevity and leads to a new
way of life.
Faith Popcorn's BEING ALIVE Observations:
• The quickest illustration of this Trend is the incredible surge in
organic products. Now organics are a $7.6 billion business, up
200% in the last 5 years.
– Think about herbal additives: Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, Kava. Herbal
additives in food or in the form of capsules, tinctures, extracts or teas
are now routinely used by one third of American adults.
• Fitness club membership is up 64% over the last 7 years for those aged 39-
• And we’re trying to improve mental health at the same time. Witness the
"sweat shop fitness & wellness facility" in Albany, NY, where clients get
therapy while working out.
• People are gobbling up green tea – even as ice cream.
• Alternativity is a big part of this Trend. Think acupuncture, magnets,
• We are even seeing the rise of alternative pet care: the Holistic Veterinary
Association counts 700 member vets.
Working women and men, questioning personal/career
satisfaction and goals,
opt for simpler living.
• Faith Popcorn's CASHING OUT Observations:
• Sheryl Crow’s hit song sums this one up: "All I wanna do is have some fun;
I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one"
• Stressed consumers are searching for fulfillment and simplicity in the following areas:
Back to basics
• Back to basics
• 51% of Americans prefer more free time, even if it means less income.
• Over 4 million city-dwellers moved out of cities in the last 4 years.
• People looking for ways out of the rat-race have formed support groups to help with
• Leisure time for the briefcase set:
• Prominent leaders are leaving to spend more time with their families:
• Susan Molinari and Bill Paxon: both U.S. House Representatives resigned to devote
time to family.
• Patty Stonesifer: former head of Microsoft’s interactive division left that pressure-
cooker job for a more temperate pace as president of the Gates Library Foundation
– Sergio Zyman, marketing guru for Coke, left to spend more time hanging out at home.
• One way out is Entrepreneurship
– Someone starts a home-based business every 11 seconds.
Oh, and those home-based businesses are raking in $401 billion in annual revenues!
Belonging to a group that represents common feelings, causes or
validating one's own belief system.
Faith Popcorn's CLANNING Observations:
• As joiners, we Americans want to share our opinions, beliefs, complaints – whatever
it is we’re feeling.
• The AIDS ribbon is a terrific example of Clanning at work in the social realm; there
are actually more than 500,000 support groups for different health concerns.
• "Superparents" may be the next Clan: with the booming market for fertility drugs, twin
births are up 42% over the last 15 years, and for those really going for the gusto,
births of triplets or more are up 272% during the same period.
• The list is endless: teens are forming virgin clubs, tea-lovers are joining tea-clubs,
women named Betty are bonding over their name, even Harley Davidson does a
"ladies of Harley" group.
• Some groups turn this collective energy into clout: the Single Women’s Alliance
Network (SWAN) taps into the 40 million-strong U.S. population of single women,
negotiating products and services at a discount for its membership, based on their
extraordinary purchasing power.
– Small town solidarity is turning up in wallets: some municipalities are now issuing their own
currencies to encourage local spending and rebuild communities without relying on going to
– Andy Warhol once said, "I think it would be terrific if everybody was alike."
Now THERE’s a Clan!
The need to protect oneself from the harsh, unpredictable realities
of the outside world.
Faith Popcorn's COCOONING Observations:
• Martha Stewart, B. Smith and Katie Brown have turned "home-making
voyeurism" into big business.
• Home improvement is a $143 billion business.
• The armored Cocoon is changing our neighborhoods and homes:
• Gated communities house 4 million Americans.
• Private security is now a $104 billion market.
• And when we’re tucked safely indoors, we want to enjoy ourselves: movie
theaters are now installed in some 16.6 million homes.
• Not to mention working at home:
• New surveys show that only 17% of workers want that corner office; a clear
majority would prefer to work in a home office.
• The number of U.S. at-home workers is up 100% in the last 5 years, for a
total of 10.1 million. In 20 yrs, 1 in 7 workers will be a full-time telecommuter.
• An old prayer brings this Trend home: "Bless these walls so firm and stout,
keeping want and trouble out."
Nostalgic for their carefree childhood, baby boomers find comfort
in familiar pursuits and products from their youth.
Faith Popcorn's DOWN-AGING Observations:
• "To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am." -- Bernard Baruch
• "Star Wars" made millions the second time around with a grown-up fan
• S’mores and cotton candy are now a popular dessert in restaurants, and
Manhattan even sports a downtown eatery called Peanut Butter & Co.,
serving sandwiches of nothing but.
• My favorite online auction, eBay, posts 1,941 hits for Pez dispensers.
• The median age of a Harley customer has risen to 42; ten years ago it was
• Car makers are appealing to boomer tastes by bringing back old favorites
like the Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet’s Nomad station wagon from the ’50s,
and of course the VW Bug.
To offset a depersonalized society, consumers crave recognition of
Faith Popcorn's EGONOMICS Observations:
• I saw the critical importance of this Trend when a consumer said to me, "I used to be a name.
Then I became a number. Now I’m a bar-code."
• Customization will be an enormous part of the future marketplace. Even now, it has turned up in
some crazy corners: a company called My Twin Doll will take a photograph of your child and
produce a custom doll that looks just like her! (They’re starting young…)
• The growing market in body piercing, tattoos & branding is about a lot of things, not least of all
• Check out this company that bakes cookies with a "you are what you eat" attitude.
The Clever Cookie Company has recently introduced a cutstomized cookie imprinted with a
color photograph in edible ink.
• Even the dead are requiring custom treatment:
• Ashes can be launched into space;
• Sportsmen’s ashes can be turned into buckshot and…
• Viewlogy (rhymes with eulogy) allows the story-teller in all of us to be posthumously indulged: a
sealed video tombstone on which mourners can watch the life-story as told by the deceased and
• Fashion has been among the first industries to make Egonomics part of its best practices:
• The Custom Foot takes your particular measurements, allows you to preview styles, fabric and
leather types, and sends the data to its factory in Tuscany, and back comes a pair of custom
• And it's not just for the high-end; "Mass-Class" has arrived.
The way women think and behave is impacting business, causing
a marketing shift away from a hierarchical model toward a
Faith Popcorn's EVEOLUTION Observations:
• It was Chairman Mao who said, "women hold up half the sky".
• Let me answer once and for all the age-old stumper: What do women want?
• The numbers on women in business may surprise you:
• Women-owned businesses employ more than the Fortune 500 combined: 18.5 million
• They do $2.3 trillion in annual sales.
• Women own 8 million businesses in the U.S., or 1/3 of all U.S. firms. And by the way
this figure has risen 78% since ‘87.
• A woman opens a new business every 60 seconds. Women are leaving corporate
America at twice the rate of men.
• By the year 2005, 40% of all firms will be female-owned.
• Four out of five Japanese small business owners are women.
• As for women’s consumer power, they control 80% of household spending.
• Women purchase 75% of all over-the-counter drugs.
• Women influence 90% of all car purchases.
• Women own 53% of all stocks.
The modern age whets our desire for roads untaken.
Faith Popcorn's FANTASY ADVENTURE Observations:
• Thornton Wilder summed this one up nicely: "when you’re safe at home, you wish you were
having an adventure. When you’re having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home."
• Ever wonder what’s going on with Luxor, Las Vegas? Apparently of the 56% of us who gamble,
97% prefer to do so in over-the-top settings.
• Theme parks are booming, with annual revenues of $6 billion.
• Even when we do travel, we are thirsty for adventure in our hotel rooms: One Australian hotel
offers upscale tree-houses for $900 a night (and you won’t be roughing it, with TV, AC, and
minibar access assured).
• Vacationers looking for vicarious thrills may want to try a storm-chaser package: for $1800, you
can learn the ins and outs of tornadoes, following them from a safe distance of course.
Exotic Fantasy in the food realm:
• Biblical cuisine; fusion menus of all kinds; always some new ingredient you haven’t yet heard of.
• Vampire wines from Transylvania bring a shiver to your dinner-table (labels are printed with
dripping blood in case you somehow missed the point).
• Using herbs found in archaeological digs, one fragrance master has recreated Cleopatra’s
• Of course, the Web is any Fantasy Adventurer’s dream: we can self-create as often as we like in
cyberspace, adopting any gender, image, or name. Anonymity enables fantasy.
A new socioquake transforms mainstream America and the world
as the pillars of society are questioned and rejected.
Faith Popcorn's ICON TOPPLING Observations:
• Wilt Chamberlain expressed the essence of this Trend: "No man roots
• Skeptical consumers are ready to bring down the long-accepted
monuments of business, government, celebrity and society.
• Large companies no longer hold our trust. Corporate behemoths like
AT&T, Amex, and IBM are scrambling to look small.
• Loyalty to a single employer has gone the way of the dinosaur; temp
agencies are the single largest employment sector in the U.S.
• Forget celebrity spokespeople: ads now spotlight the unfamous, the
wannabes and the who-was-that’s – even a couple of Real People – to
sell their wares.
• A Yankelovich survey shows that customers trust friends above
experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust
friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities).
Consumers are having a secret bacchanal. They're mad as hell
and want to cut loose again.
Faith Popcorn's PLEASURE REVENGE Observations:
• An old Spanish proverb captures the spirit of this Trend: "living well
is the best revenge."
• Tired of being told what’s good for them, rebellious consumers are
indifferent to rules & regulations. They’re cutting loose & publicly
savoring forbidden fruits.
• Martinis, red meat, and cigars: these are the hallmarks of your
Pleasure Revenge consumer.
• Beef consumption has reached a new high: 64 lbs. per person per
year. There were 5.2 billion hamburgers eaten last year.
• One New York gym ran an ad saying: "Look at it this way. The more
you exercise, the healthier your lungs, the more you can smoke."
Stressed-out consumers want to indulge in affordable luxuries
and seek ways to reward themselves.
Faith Popcorn's SMALL INDULGENCES Observations:
• Good things come in small packages like never before:
• Sunglasses have become "cars for the face." The average pair now costs $77.
Sunglass Hut has 2,116 stores, with annual sales of $418 million.
• The old Bic may not be good enough for the occasional letter we sit down to write;
Mont Blanc now sells $350 million in fancy pens every year.
• $7.99 for a tube of Rembrandt toothpaste? You betcha!
• Premium-priced necessities are currently the largest growth area in packaged goods:
Henry James reminds us that "there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour
dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." But did he have any idea how far
we’d go with this tea thing?
• Zagat’s now has a tea category, to match the rise of afternoon tea in
• Specialty and exotic teas are brewing all over America as we surf.
• Whimsical tea pots, replicas of ancient tea pots.
• Elegant dinners may have menus designed around tea, as at the Ritz Carlton.
• And for the true fanatics out there, we spotted vanity license plates spelling words like
SOS (SAVE OUR SOCIETY)
The country rediscovers a social conscience of ethics, passion
Faith Popcorn's SOS Observations:
• A bumper sticker sums this one up "There's no hope, but I may be wrong."
• Concerned with the fate of the planet, consumers respond to marketers who
exhibit a social conscience attuned to ethics, environment, and education.
• Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse created an edible schoolyard, using an
organic garden as a classroom.
• Working Assets phone service uses major carriers (like Sprint), but applies
2 cents of every dollar in revenue to a chosen cause of the month.
• 182 major investing institutions make socially responsible investments,
amounting to $639 billion in annual assets (almost 10 times the size of the
Vanguard S&P Index 500 fund).
• In fact, S.O.S. is becoming the corporate standard.
Frustrated, often angry consumers are manipulating the
through pressure, protest and politics.
Faith Popcorn's VIGILANTE CONSUMER Observations:
• When I’m explaining this Trend to clients, I ask them to examine their own companies
carefully: Every business contains the seeds of its own destruction.
• Consumers seek real products, benefits, people, communication, and value.
• When they are disappointed, consumers can be formidable enemies: at any given
time, there are 150 boycotts in progress nationwide.
• The poster-children for this Trend would have to be Nike and Kathie Lee Gifford:
consumers care about what’s behind the brand, what it stands for and whose labor
has built it.
• The tools for Vigilante Consumer action have exploded with the Web. For example,
the FAA’s Website now provides detailed safety records of all commercial planes;
travelers can read the specs of any plane they’ll be traveling on, and re-book
• Popular Culture reflects these themes as well: The Dilbert Principle was the #1-selling
book for over 200 weeks. Its theme? A downsized engineer strikes back.
• The private label phenomenon is another index of consumer discontent; it’s all about
the rejection of brand names. Private label sales are up 38% over the past three
• In fact, discount/off-price outlets are the fastest growing sector of retail. One-third of
all groceries are now bought at warehouse clubs.