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Consumer Product Trends from A to Z: A Year in Review


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Learn the ABCs of consumer product trends for 2015!
A is for Autonomous driving, B is for Biometrics, C is for Collaborative economy, ...

Note: All opinions in this presentation are my own, and do not necessarily represent that of my employer.

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Consumer Product Trends from A to Z: A Year in Review

  1. 1. Consumer Product Trends: A Year in Review FROM A TO Z By: Rachel Rothman, @GHGadgetGIrl
  2. 2. A AUTONOMOUS DRIVING It’s been an ongoing evolution, from modern cruise control in the 1940s to more mainstream functions like backup cameras that we’ve come to expect in a car. The Newest vehicles have even more advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assists, and auto stop for pending crashes. This year’s winner: Tesla. Not the first to incorporate lots of advanced tech options, but it got people talking about things like unassisted lane switching and self-park and pick up. Assisted  Semi Autonomous  Fully Autonomous
  3. 3. B BIOMETRICS Thanks to intelligent micro components consumers can collect and analyze facial, fingerprint, and retina recognition as well as monitor heart rate for increased understanding and access. This year’s winner: Valencell. Just as Intel makes computers smart, this company’s making it possible to put accurate heart rate monitors inside our wearables.
  4. 4. C COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY The sharing economy affords individuals the ability to use products and services without taking full ownership. Instead, they can share, rent, subscribe, become a member, or have them delivered. Sounds like a win-win! This year’s winner: Consumers. They save time, money, and headaches from this approach, and can even garner an income from these platforms.
  5. 5. D DRONES While the word alone conjures up scary visions, by definition they are simply autonomous mini flyers. While they’re mostly used by consumers for photography and videography purposes, applications in the future are far-reaching, from the much-hyped Amazon drone deliveries to more accurate agricultural management. This year’s winner: 3D Robotics. It’s a company that believes in creating a supportive, reliable, intuitive community.
  6. 6. E ELECTRONIC CURRENCIES Electronic currencies, like Bitcoin, are a medium of exchange that are electronically transmitted and stored. They operate completely separately from banks. Once used in illicit settings, they’re becoming mainstream and may represent the future of money. This year’s winner: It was the first major etailer to accept Bitcoins for purchases.
  7. 7. F FREEMIUM CONTENT Freemium = Free + Premium. ID a market that’s already paying for particular content or services, but can offer some value-add and you’ve found an area ripe for freemium content! Apps leverage this: Many are free for initial download but offer premium add-ons. This year’s winner: The New York Times. Its online paywall continues to bring in monster revenue.
  8. 8. G “GREEN” IS COOL Values are shifting, and consumers are looking for emotional empowerment. That’s why consumers are growing increasingly interested in investing in companies that have an environmental and social conscience. This year’s winner: Patagonia. It has high brand EQ and led the way by being a “caring” company long before it was cool.
  9. 9. H HEALTHIER WORKSPACE You’ve may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” Well, companies are taking note. Ergo-friendly workstations are becoming mainstream. They allow for increased health benefits through easier alternation between sitting and standing. This year’s winners: UpDesk and RebelDesk are two of the big companies helping to reform office spaces.
  10. 10. I INTERNET OF THINGS More like the Internet of Everything. All of the connected, data-gathering sensors built into devices are providing more insights, control, and efficiency than ever before. From home and kitchen appliances to smarter automobiles to health and fitness applications, the implications are far-reaching. While sensors will eventually be built into just about anything you can imagine, those that will succeed will be able to passively collect data and provide contextually relevant information. This year’s winner: Lowes. This mega-retailer brought IoT to the masses.
  11. 11. J JOURNALISM EVOLUTION Brands and content are living side by side more than ever before– with native advertising becoming increasingly commonplace. In general, strategic partnerships are becoming more and more important, in some cases even relying on citizen journalism to expedite content creation. This year’s winner: Buzzfeed. While not the first by any means, it really catapulted native advertising. Images courtesy of Buzzfeed
  12. 12. K KICKSTARTER MENTALITY We are living in the Innovation Age, a time when anyone (thinks) she can be an inventor. With the advent of rapid printing technologies and crowdsourcing and the right dedication and an apt marketing campaign, just about anyone can.. This year’s winner: The slide title reveals the winner, Kickstarter. While not new, it has long been a leader in the consumer-centric revolution that we’re currently experiencing.
  13. 13. L LOCATION-BASED SERVICES With the advent of low-energy Bluetooth, location-based technologies really blossomed this year. Using geo-sensors, companies leverage smarter analytics to provide more personalized experiences, better customer service, and more targeted deals. This year’s winner: Beacon technology. These sensors will enable a rapid evolution in the retail industry.
  14. 14. M MOBILE PAYMENTS Consumers demand convenient prompt interactions, especially at checkout, both online and in stores. Whether it’s a two-click payment online with PayPal or holding your phone up to the register at Starbucks, there’s a definitive uptick in mobile payment options. Features are growing, too, with the ability to split bills and garner more mobile insights. This year’s winner: Apple Pay. While it didn’t reinvent the wheel or introduce anything new, the sheer abundance and simplicity it affords has allowed mobile payments to become more prevalent. Image courtesy of Apple.
  15. 15. N NON-PROGRAMMING PROGRAMS Coding is becoming the new literacy and companies are building products leveraging coding to build smart products. There are a slew of new programs and services that are designed to empower users to create their own websites and apps and provide productivity tools for redundant mainstream tasks like checking the weather or saving photos. This year’s winner: IFTTT. It does the work for you, automating tasks between services. Use a ready-made “recipe” or create one of your own. See some of my fave recipes at right.
  16. 16. O ON-DEMAND SERVICES In the consumer-driven world we live in, users demand instantaneous supply of goods and services. The market for such is growing at a rapid rate because consumers demand convenient, efficient, and simple means to obtain instant gratification. Why pack and ship your own goods when you can pay someone to do it for you (thanks Shyp!)? This year’s winner: Uber. Whether it was winning and giving you free rides or creating a frenzy around surge pricing, it stayed in the spotlight. Image courtesy of Uber
  17. 17. P PRODUCTIVTY In our increasingly busy lives, we’re trying to multitask more than ever before. That’s why tools that are able to aid hyper-productivity are becoming so important and beloved. Products that allow for customization and greater efficiency will reign supreme. This year’s winner: Evernote. It plays nicely with everything from Moleskin notebooks to mobile app Pocket, which lets you save articles to read later. It’s my go-to for keeping organized and sane! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
  18. 18. Q QUANTIFIED SELF Through a growing number of products that allow consumers to gather data on their activities, health, and habits, including heart rate, food consumed, sleep cycles, and calories burned. Expect companies to get smart and start passively collecting data and then serving up personalized feedback and coaching based off of an immense data set. This year’s winner: Scio. It showcases that devices thought to be exclusively for professionals are viable for consumer use. This map was created by Rachelle DiGregorio to help others learn about self-tracking tools.
  19. 19. R RETAIL EVOLUTION Technology allows the retailer to be more informed about its consumer and for the consumer to have a more targeted experience. Retailers that leverage interactive and personalized experiences are leading the way. In our increasingly global world, consumers still crave localized actions. This year’s winner: PayPal. New features like “available now”, ASAP, and schedule a delivery offer consumers more flexibility for fulfilling their retail needs. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
  20. 20. S SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Whether it’s for consuming media (Netflix, Kindle, Spotify, …), a productivity suite (like Office 365), or a monthly treat (the Birchbox-types), consumers demand fast and convenient service. This model ranges from fixed goods to unlimited service to pay as you go models. What they have in common is that consumers can save time and money on repeat purchases. This year’s winner: Netflix. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black propelled it into a viable competitor to traditional providers. Image courtesy of Netflix.
  21. 21. T TRANSPARENCY Consumers are innately trusting, but as more dubious marketing claims are exposed, they demand more transparency. And not just for physical products but for digital products as well. They want more clarity and control as to where and how information about them is being used. This year’s winner: FTC. This consumer watchdog has never been as relevant – cracking down on everything from “slimming” shape wear s and unsubstantiated “weight loss” products to unfounded “unlimited” data plans and deceptive “anti-aging” claims.
  22. 22. U UX & UI User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) have become increasingly important as consumers demand better and more intuitive digital experiences everywhere. That even extends to the automobile as intuitive systems mean not only increased productivity but safety as well. This year’s winner: Apple CarPlay. Already available on select new cars, it lets your phone take over the brains (and screen) of your car. Image courtesy of Apple.
  23. 23. V VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS Why waste your time or brain power figuring out what you’re thinking when a machine can do it for you? Have your assistant keep you on schedule, get you where you need to go, post to social media for you, send your texts and emails, make your restaurant reservations, and more. Beyond recognizing natural language inputs, it can proactively deliver info to you. This year’s winner: Google Now. This intelligent personal assistant is available through Google Search on Android and iOS and through Chrome online. Image courtesy of stockimages at
  24. 24. Action being monitored and data collected Recommendation via expert, social community, and Feedback via measuring incentives W WEARABLES The market is still in its infancy, and the potential is really limitless. What is becoming clear is that consumers like wearables that are attractive, intuitive, personalized, and provide contextually relevant information. This year’s winner: Fitbit. It understands the varying needs of individuals and offers a range of products from a basic counter to a more advanced smart watch. It’s incorporated heart rate monitoring and seamless sleep tracking capabilities into its new bands.
  25. 25. FAMILY PURCHASE DECISIONS 94% 92% 91% 80% 60% 51% Men Women X “XX” – GIRL POWER Female empowerment is nothing new, but it sure is experiencing a growth spurt right now. As gender roles evolve, modern preconceptions are changing. Women are earning more, taking leadership roles, and expanding into territories previously dominated by men. Results: increased buying power and influence. This year’s winner: Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematic) fields. What a great year for us!
  26. 26. Y YOUTH INFLUENCE The future belongs to Millenials (those born 1980-2000) and they’re already yielding tremendous power and influence. They spend over $200 billion a year and make up nearly 50% of the global population. Millenials are socially connected, demand authenticity, and crave unique experiences. This year’s winner: Nike. It recognizes that one size doesn’t fit all and offers specialized stores (even one just for women!) and personalized offerings like Nike ID. Image courtesy of E. Podell.
  27. 27. Z ZEN MINDSET Today’s society is recognizing that health and wellness require a much more holistic approach. The players that will succeed will recognize this and passively collect data to provide actionable, personalized feedback and instruction. This year’s winner: Headspace. It’s a great meditation app and the company teamed with Westin hotel chains to offer holistic mind-body experiences while traveling. Nutrition Fitness Regeneration