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5 Paradoxical Consumer Trends


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Early 2014, five trend watchers teamed up to share their views on the consumer and societal evolutions for 2014 and beyond. In this brand-new consumer trends paper, we gathered 5 paradoxical trends defining the consumer of today and of the future:

1. Learn from Joeri Van den Bergh how global brands such as Heineken and Renault are using serendipity in their advertising.
2. Find out from Steven Van Belleghem how companies benefit from the abundance of useful information to predict consumer behavior.
3. Follow Tom Palmaerts to experience four possible cloaking channels: de-facing, de-sharing, de-leting and the dark web…
4. Discover with Sven Mastbooms how existing business models are under pressure due to the consumers’ urge to take a quicker, easier and cheaper shortcut to the solution.
5. And finally tune in to Herman Konings to find out how consumers are taking control of their own health.

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5 Paradoxical Consumer Trends

  1. 1. HermanKonings@soeproza TomPalmaerts@palmaerts SvenMastbooms@Sven_Seven JoeriVandenBergh@Joeri_InSites StevenVanBelleghem@StevenVBe 5 Trendwatchers
  2. 2. 1 By Herman Konings
  3. 3. Herman Konings (°1964) is Master in theoretical and change psychology and founder of Belgian trend and future research agency Pocket Marketing/nXt. As a renowned Belgian trendwatcher. Konings is sought after as a trends consultant and keynote speaker by companies and organizations throughout the globe. In addition, his insights have been featured in books and (other) media since 1999. Autogrill, BNP Paribas Fortis, Electrolux, Flemish Council, Henkel, IBM, ING Bank, JBC, Nespresso, Philips Lighting, Roularta Media, Siemens, Flanders Tourist Board, Unilever and VRT are a few of his clients. Herman Konings @soeproza @soeproza
  4. 4. This anti-aging trend is related to the writings of entrepreneur Michael Hogg, who described in his book ‘The Age-nostic Men‘ how you can feel and live like a 35- year-old when you are 53. Between 1950 and 2010 the average global life expectancy increased with 252 months. When age expectations go up, so does the number of patients and health becomes an increasingly important issue. In all corners of society and across all age categories, people start taking control of their own health. This amortality trend is built on two evolutions: more monitoring and benchmarking of life statistics on the one hand and carefree sporting just for fun without any feeling of competition towards the other, referred to as ‘sportainment’. @soeproza
  5. 5. Striving for health has turned into a spiritual thing, self- discipline being its highest level. In the same mind-frame of the ‘sharing trend’, sports are evolving from solitary community service for ‘caged hamsters’ to a health investment based on cosiness, appealing context and mutual support. Fitbits, Nike Fuelband and other instruments to measure our sport activities or burned calories, are only the start of the amortality trend. The after- war generations no longer wish to ‘grow old healthily’. They simply wish not to grow old at all! Amortality is an atypical alchemy, originating at the meeting point of believing in one’s own capacity and the increasing life expectancy. @soeproza
  6. 6. The Internet of bodies The Apple App Store alone offers over 50,000 health and fitness apps, most of which fit with the 0-1-2-3 norm: 0 manuals, 1 start button, 2 options and 3 seconds for your question to be answered. By 2017 the worldwide sales of (non-prescribed) portable health sensors - including apps and add-ons for smartphones - is estimated to hit half a billion a year. (Source: ABI Research). So instead of speaking about ‘apps’, we will speak about ‘adds‘ in 2014: add- on physical health monitoring tools linking your body to your smartphone with applications meant to motivate you into health-endorsing behavior. @soeproza
  7. 7. Some examples: Youw8 benchmarks your weight with that of people of the same age iBGStar monitors blood glucose levels for diabetes patients Tinké is an iPhone plug-in measuring blood pressure, pulse, oxygen and some other key health indicators permanently scoring your body functions on 100 Ignite app is a life expectancy calculator with gamified options and tips to live a healthier life and increase the number of hours you will be alive: the life number. Watch the introduction video @soeproza
  8. 8. Work (your) heart, play hard Millennials increasingly want to go to events where the excitement originates from feeling part of the crowd. They want to feel part of something greater and in an age where they are often separated by screens, they value these moments where they can come together and connect with peers. Not only connections with digital communities, but first and foremost with people in real units - and not exclusively age or gender peers. As our social and professional lives are configured more and more by bits and bytes, we see an increase in Generation Y’s longing for material substance and corporality. Conviviality is gaining in interest in our sporting activities; people share challenges and experiences. We are on the eve of a breakthrough of ‘sportainment’ in Europe. @soeproza
  9. 9. Some examples: Run Dem Crew A movement founded by Charlie Dark in 2007 as an alternative to traditional stuffy running clubs. Runners start with a hug and then run together without any competitive goal. The Run Dem Crew is now sponsored by Nike. Tough Mudder A boot camp for everyone, not only for the most sporting types. It started in the US in 2010 and immediately had 20,000 participants. The general philosophy is group thinking and participating implies you are to help and motivate others. In the meanwhile Tough Mudder organizes 52 different events on a yearly basis and no less than 700,000 people (of which 25% are women) took part in 2013. Naked Run for Freedom Originated from the Danish Roskilde festival. The festival encourages guests to get naked and race for charity. Runners are only allowed to wear a helmet and shoes. The annual recurrent attraction at Roskilde is the naked run around the campsite. Whether motivation comes from the free ticket to the next year’s festival given to the male and female winners, a desire to contribute to a worthy cause or the wish to experience a feeling of freedom, dozens of participants try their hand at nude-running every year. Color run 5 km of running while being sprayed with colored powder: a contest without competition, figures or statistics, it is simply about enjoying the mutual activity, also called party-cipation. @soeproza
  10. 10. In the past 5 years the share of sporting holidays (including climbing the Kilimanjaro or cycling to the top of Mont Ventoux in France) has already increased with 20% and 2014 will be a year filled with ‘sportainment’ for many Millennials. @soeproza
  11. 11. 2 By Sven Mastbooms
  12. 12. Born in Belgium, 1966. Self-taught entrepreneur. Started a communication and design agency at the age of 19. Co-founder and Creative director at Mainly working for media, telco and youth brands. Co-founder and Trend Translator at Travel companion for people and organizations on their journey towards sustainable innovation. Born curious, eager to learn. Gathering kindred spirits to make a difference. Big interest in education programs, trying to fill the gap by organizing free coding programs for kids during the weekend with volunteer coaches. Volunteering to promote STEM and IT-science in schools. Singularity University alumni. Sven Mastbooms @Sven_Seven @Sven_Seven
  13. 13. There is one thing we can agree on: Millennials have been taught all their lives to make as little effort as possible yet to find and reach what they want when they want it in a way that suits them best. They have grown up with a rather natural ‘shortcut reflex’. Older generations sometimes wrongfully mistake them for being idle. However there is not one single reason why we should make a detour. Yet we do so every day, because we were taught it wrongly, because we have been conditioned differently. So we do it out of habit or because there are rules, trainings and legislations which keep us from taking shortcuts. This trend focuses on the ‘shareconomy’ (or the ‘shortcut society’) which is embraced by Generation Y. @Sven_Seven
  14. 14. The access to information, technology, money and kindred spirits (peers) has been largely facilitated by social media and sharing. Just think about how P2P networks have done damage to the music, TV and movie business. In 2014, we will see an endless flow in several sectors of new peer-to-peer and shortcut initiatives which - based on the Millennials’ passion - will rock the boat of several classic sectors. Existing business models will get under pressure as a result of the Gen Y consumers’ urge to take a quicker, easier, cheaper and less strenuous shortcut to the solution. @Sven_Seven
  15. 15. A FEW EXAMPLES OF THIS shortcut economy @Sven_Seven
  16. 16. In the education sector The so-called MOOCs (= Massive Online Open Courses) such as Khan Academy, a non-profit educational website providing free world-class education for anyone anywhere through a video library and over 100,000 practical exercises. Other examples include: eDX, Coursera and Coderdojo, coaching youngsters aged 7 to 18 to learn how to code in a cozy club context, stressing the usage of open-source free software. @Sven_Seven
  17. 17. In the mobility sector Lyft is a cellphone application which allows users to ‘order’ a driver to their location in minutes. During their ride, passengers can play their own music and charge their mobile devices. All drivers are subjected to a criminal background check as well as a vehicle inspection and a two-hour training session. At the end of the trip, passengers pay the driver the amount of their choice in the form of a (technically optional) donation. Because Lyft facilitates pre-arranged travel instead of on-the-street taxi- hailing and operates on a donation system, its drivers do not need a taxi license. Although payment is not guaranteed, the majority of Lyft users are willing to pay the drivers a satisfactory rate. @Sven_Seven
  18. 18. Uber app Already active in 22 countries and 60 cities, offering cheap car loans to drivers (financial services), might start other services such as sharing/renting your equipment in cities (e.g. barbecues). Google is one of the investors and according to NYMag, Uber is already valued higher than Facebook and Twitter because it is profitable and does not depend on an ad revenue business model. FlyKly smart wheel Why buy a new bicycle if all you need is an electric wheel which can be installed on any bike? Engine, batteries, GPS chip and electronic lock are integrated in the wheel axle. The related app gives wheel and battery information as well as statistics on cycling style, itineraries etc. The GPS chip is connected to the cycling computer functions and suggests shorter and safer new routes, find-my-bike and of course route sharing with the FlyKly community. Other initiatives include BlaBla Car, Spinlister, Getaround, Side-car, Boatbound, Flightcar, Jumpseat. @Sven_Seven
  19. 19. In the travel sector Gen Y is the fastest growing customer segment in the travel industry. They are expected to finance half of all travel spending by 2020. Millennials are adventure seekers. Millennials want a great place to stay and an experience which fits with them, not an impersonal treatment in an anonymous environment. The industry has already created some new travel experiences that tap into this trend, such as portable container hotels that allow guests to stay in more off-the-beaten-track locations (e.g. Sleeping Around, Sleepbox Hotel…). Peer-to-peer lodging companies are challenging traditional hotels. Generation Y is simply more accustomed to networking with and trusting peers as illustrated by the following 2013 data (see graph on next slide). @Sven_Seven
  20. 20. @Sven_Seven JWTIntelligence-May3,2013
  21. 21. 3 By Tom Palmaerts
  22. 22. Tom Palmaerts is a trendwatcher and partner at Trendwolves, European youth intelligence. He continually expands a network of young and talented trendsetters, his main interests being micro- trends, tribes, online communities and street culture. At Trendwolves Palmaerts conducts trend research on the next five years. He is a worldwide keynote speaker and trend consultant. Working for brands such as Clariant, HP, Microsoft Innovation Center, Palm, PwC, Universal Music, Hello Bank!… Every year clients can read Trendwolves’ future vision in a trend report. On a daily basis brands can login to Youthr, a youth trend database for inspiration, strategy and insights. In 2008 Tom Palmaerts was awarded “Youth trend specialist of the year” by the Dutch trend-watching platform Second Sight, as a result of his drive, originality and passion. Since 2012 he teaches 'scenario thinking' and 'trendwatching’ at the University College Ghent. In September 2013 Tom Palmaerts received the ‘Trendwatcher of The Year’ award. "He is activating and can bring things in motion.” Tom Palmaerts @palmaerts @palmaerts
  23. 23. THE OLD TREND OF FOMO In 2014 the old trend of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, i.e. youngsters continuously wanting to stay informed about everything through social networks and cellphones) will be replaced by “cloaking”. Youngsters will create an increasing number of private pages or closed groups on Facebook or on other channels (e.g. the more anonymous Tumblr or Snapchat) to protect their content from the main audience. “I am what I share” is still valid for the Millennials but they will become more aware of who can see what. In 2013 Gen Y was swamped by the NSA eavesdropping scandals and Edward Snowden, the whistleblower, was voted ‘man of the year’ by several magazines and newspapers. These facts make youngsters think about what they drop online which could indeed possibly end up in the wrong hands, be it the government or someone closer to home: teachers, possible employers or ex-partners. @palmaerts
  25. 25. De-facing means you replace your profile picture on social networks by anonymous pictures, masks and so on. The idea of anonymity by de-facing was totally present in 2013 in the fashion world: Maison Martin Margiela - since 2002 part of the OTB holding of Diesel’s Renzo Rosso - used masked models on the catwalk and designed masks for, amongst others, Bjork and Kanye West. De-facing 1. @palmaerts
  26. 26. The #UNSELFIE also appeared late 2013 as a reaction to the overly popular #selfie photography. The unselfie focuses on a message, a worthy cause. It no longer is about what we look like but about what we stand for. For the socially engaged Millennials (see also #movember and #givingtuesday) and who expect a broader point of view from brands in society, this could definitely become a new trend in 2014. is a space to openly share what you're thinking and feeling with your friends. Speak freely, share anything, secretly. Just like with the unselfie it’s not about who you are, but about what you say. Anonymous. But you know everything is shared by your friends. The more people love your posts, the further they spread. Your thoughts can travel worldwide. #UNSELFIE @palmaerts
  27. 27. Late October last year Facebook had to admit for the very first time that the number of youngsters using the social network site seems to be decreasing. According to PEW research (June 2013) a mere 26% of the US Millennials trust the government, compared to 44% in 2004. Gen Y thinks there is less to commercial organizations using the details they posted in order to improve their offer and to get something in exchange than to the government using their details, because of security reasons. The ‘Stop Watching Us’ campaign started by Firefox in 2013 collected more than 588,000 signatures. Deleting your online presence does not seem to be a good idea for your privacy. Youngsters keep a light version of their Facebook (or other network). They find privacy by sharing a little bit and keeping control on their profile. De-sharing 2. @palmaerts
  28. 28. Deleting is the new default. Every day more pictures are shared on SnapChat (400 million) than on Facebook (350 million). So the question is: how is Facebook dealing with this new trend? The company recently bought Instagram when it became clear that an increasing number of youngsters prefer sharing pictures on Instagram, but SnapChat refused Facebook’s $3 billion offer late last year. Snapchat recently added an instant messaging service to the platform. After chatting, messages will self-destruct automatically. Snapchat changes the typical chatting apps and adds the idea of deleting as the new default to our sharing. At this moment teenagers don’t seem to like the new changes, but let’s see what they will think of it in a few weeks. De-leting 3. @palmaerts
  29. 29. Edward Snowden used the anonymity network Tor to send his information to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Websites which allow anonymous surfing, chatting or searching keep gaining in popularity among Millennials. For example, after exposure of the NSA scandal, suddenly got more than 3 million searches a day, an impressive increase compared with the 1.8 million the month before. Cryptocat - an app allowing you to surf directly from your browser in an encrypted environment - got the youth’s attention after a tweet by developer Nadim Kobeissi about his being questioned by the US Homeland Security Department. So-called ‘crypto parties’ are even organized, where youngsters explain to each other how to do things anonymously online. The initiator of these crypto parties is supposed to be The Guardian journalist @Asher_Wolf who is residing in Melbourne. The dark web 4. @palmaerts
  30. 30. 4 By Steven Van Belleghem
  31. 31. Steven is one of Europe's thought leaders in the field of social media, conversations and digital marketing. Throughout his career, Steven has studied the impact of digital and social media on consumers and organizations. He uses this knowledge to inspire and facilitate companies to adapt their existing approach to today’s reality. Throughout the years, he has hosted hundreds of workshops for top and middle management to help them with their conversation strategy. Steven loves to share his vision through inspiring papers and presentations. He also likes to share on his Slideshare page, which is one of the most successful pages in the world. His latest book The Conversation Company (over 10,000 copies sold in 6 months) details a clear philosophy and offers a roadmap on how to become a genuine customer-centric organization that exploits the possibilities of digital media to the full. Steven Van Belleghem @StevenVBe @StevenVBe
  32. 32. Five years ago marketers talked about chameleon consumers who were eclectic in their choices and therefore difficult for market researchers and marketing managers to segment or to predict. Today however we leave traces, willy-nilly, like a kind of consumer snail, through the choices and searches we do online or on mobile devices. As mentioned in the previous trend, Millennials increasingly react to this by hiding more and more; nonetheless companies still find an abundance of useful information to predict you as a consumer. @StevenVBe
  33. 33. About 80% of the information gathered about a person by the CIA is simply available online, so software increasingly replaces secret agents. Nate Silver perfectly predicted the results of the most recent American presidential election for 50 states. Internet TV station Netflix created its own series House of Cards, based on a detailed analysis of the big data they gather on subscription preferences. The series became a big success which was predictable for 90%. @StevenVBe
  34. 34. None of the Taco Bell launches in the past 5 years has failed, because the company has developed an algorithm which can calculate whether a given product will make it or not. The algorithm obtains data from till registrations (whether something sells well or not) but also from what is shared about the products on social media. Because you may buy a product but not like it. The result of the algorithm gives the go or no-go for every new product idea. @StevenVBe
  35. 35. In the meantime, Twitter does not only influence the stock market; if you analyze the right tweets, it can also predict it. @StevenVBe
  36. 36. In this age of algorithms companies will shift from a production for the average customer to tailor-made solutions for the individual client., a newcomer among British credit institutions since 2007, grants loans to its customers based on the solvency of their Facebook friends. This is how they can grant credits quicker and entirely online. The company obtains a 97% satisfaction score among customers and scores best in its market. @StevenVBe
  37. 37. What one shares on Facebook reveals more about your character and positive and negative characteristics than any personality test. IBM researcher Michelle Zhou can determine your personality by analyzing 200 of your tweets. The Weather Channel can predict consumer behavior and determine which products had better be sold on which days. Even colleges now use big data to predict whether students will perform better or not. @StevenVBe
  38. 38. The increased use of big consumer data and its clear usage for approaching consumers does have some disadvantages, however. As already mentioned in previous blog posts, Millennials are more and more concerned about their privacy. And right they are. @StevenVBe
  39. 39. Forbes already described before how the US retailer Target gave a pregnancy score to every female client, based on their purchases of given product categories – therefore they could almost predict whether a woman was pregnant and which stage of the pregnancy she was in. At a given point the Minneapolis branch was visited by an angry father of a teenage daughter who suddenly started receiving mails for baby clothing. Turned out that Target had predicted the daughter’s pregnancy before she had told her father. Since then, Target has applied the coupon program for pregnant women, by also adding coupons for products which are highly unlikely to be purchased by a pregnant woman. This is how the retailer avoids the mailings to seem too intrusive to its customers. @StevenVBe
  40. 40. In the end, nothing is as boring as being predictable and being predicted. I get many reading suggestions from, which may be useful, but Millennials (in particular), known as stimulation junkies, want to really be surprised or experience something unusual. Which is how one trend leads to reactions, leading in their turn to new trends. @StevenVBe
  41. 41. 5 By Joeri Van den Bergh
  42. 42. Joeri Van den Bergh is the co-founder of InSites Consulting, a global ‘new generation’ research agency with offices in the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. He has extensive experience with all aspects of branding, marketing and advertising to kids, teens and young adults. His clients include global customers such as Heinz, Vodafone, PepsiCo, MTV Networks, Sony, AB InBev, Skype, Heineken and Coca-Cola. His latest and bestselling publication ‘How Cool Brands Stay Hot’ recently won the ‘Best Book in Marketing’ award by the American Marketing Association and the ‘Marketing Book of the Year’ award by Expert Marketer. Joeri Van den Bergh @Joeri_InSites @Joeri_InSites
  43. 43. THAASOPHOBIA As a reaction to our by algorithms predicted behavior, the over-personalization of products, services and ad messages, too many suggested links or purchases in our social media, on e-commerce sites or even in shops, we will fight a harder battle against boredom in 2014. We are suffering from “Thaasophobia”, the fear of being idle, of standing still or of getting bored. @Joeri_InSites
  44. 44. Visual2013RenaultClioRSCommercial Even speed dating is no longer speedy enough, unless it literally happens as in this 2013 Renault Clio RS commercial. @Joeri_InSites
  45. 45. We increasingly feel a need for unexpected, coincidental, fun discoveries and surprises in a society in which everything is becoming too predictable. It has been scientifically proven that a sandwich is better when prepared by someone else, because otherwise we anticipate too much on the taste (based on the fact that we know the ingredients), which kills the appetite. 2014 will be the year of serendipity. @Joeri_InSites
  46. 46. Many inventions and discoveries are the consequence of ‘sheer luck’, as serendipity could be described. Think about X-rays, Kellogg’s cornflakes, 3M’s Post-its, the HP inkjet printer, Viagra, the teabag, penicillin or the discovery of America. So the notion ‘serendipity’ is also important in a way that it could be at the start of a new economy, The Serendipity Economy, where other less fixed methods of collaboration increase the chances of coincidental discoveries. Collaborative social networks for companies such as Yammer and more open- ended research methods such as Consumer Consulting Boards are supporting this new way of business thinking. @Joeri_InSites
  47. 47. Even thé number 1 algorithm company, Google, still shows the “I’m feeling lucky” button which immediately takes you to the first search result based on your search words. This is possibly costing Google a yearly 110 million dollars in missed income from advertising. And how about Google’s famous Doodles. Aren’t they regularly surprising and intriguing us and making a boring search job more fun? @Joeri_InSites
  48. 48. The urge for serendipity has also infiltrated events such as TomorrowLand en TomorrowWorld, since ‘being surprised by an event’ is the number 1 main criterion for Millennials, as we learn from an InSites Consulting survey realized in 13 countries (Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, the UK & the USA) earlier this year (full results will be shared in September 2014). @Joeri_InSites
  49. 49. But it is also a “business an sich”, such as the lovely surprise boxes on or the Belgian (which stands for Discover Beauty) or the ‘Pochette surprise’ for €20 at the fashionable Paris retailer Colette. Panera bread, the American bakery-and-café chain, has also included a healthy portion of serendipity in its MyPanera loyalty card. @Joeri_InSites
  50. 50. Talking about playing with cards… …board games, which traditionally have strict rules, now also give more room to coincidences. Examples are Cards against humanity - immensely popular in the US - and Shut you Mao - new and since recently sponsored by Kickstarter. @Joeri_InSites
  51. 51. Computer games - such as Mindcraft - are very popular with the youngest generation. Mindcraft is an ‘open world game’ that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. Since its release late 2011, over 33 million copies have been sold. @Joeri_InSites
  52. 52. is a curated jukebox which contains 22 playlists of 22 tracks each. All tracks are selected by deejays from 4 cities. The idea is that you get surprised, that you discover new genres and new music, without registering. @Joeri_InSites
  53. 53. Renault introduced serendipity in this year’s test drives with the ‘Va va voom’ button, but the version for girls was the most successful one on Youtube. @Joeri_InSites
  54. 54. Jeep introduced the “Get lost” button into their GPS system. Jeep drivers can select it and choose their terrain from options such as mountain, sand or woods. The GPS will then take them to one of 28 off-road destinations in the middle of nowhere. @Joeri_InSites
  55. 55. And last but not least, Heineken has been using serendipity since 2013 as the core of their positioning and viral marketing. From the departure roulette through the #dropped campaign all the way to the most recent Christmas Carol karaoke which has already reached more than 2.5 million views after it was launched last week. @Joeri_InSites
  56. 56. HermanKonings@soeproza TomPalmaerts@palmaerts SvenMastbooms@Sven_Seven JoeriVandenBergh@Joeri_InSites StevenVanBelleghem@StevenVBe Thank you!