In a fast-paced world with collapsing consumer behaviour borders across several product categories, trends shift quickly. Products, their designs and their branding efforts need to take these into account. Technopak shares with Anita Sharan 10 distinct trends that are impacting products, designs and consumer attitudes globally and in India, which its design and branding outlook study for 2007 threw up.
The trends include:
Build your own products
Value added services, as a trend, is present globally and picking up in India. There’s a need for customisation of all products. And mass manufacturing is fast becoming an outdated trend.
Offering product variants is becoming endemic across product categories. The new mantra is “here today, gone tomorrow”, with new products being launched everyday. The average life of the mobile phone can be as little as three months in the hands of India’s KPO youth. There’s a constant need for new designs. Electronic products are becoming more affordable. And consumers expect fast, convenient services.
Celebrities are influencing lifestyles globally and in India. The insta-celeb trend has strengthened, with media encouraging it in no small way—the rash of reality shows on television is a case in point, giving participants their nanoseconds of fame. Endorsements by celebrities are on an all time high as brands cash in on the celeb craze.
There’s an emerging trend of big brands merging marketing. This enables attracting more customers in lesser time and increases customer lifetime value for the participating brands. Such mergings also spark off creativity in product design. Citibank credit cards co-branding with Shoppers’ Stop and Jet Airways is an example. Nike + iPod Sports kits combine the value of “authentic, athletic performance” with “cool and trendy”.
Life on the fly
Today, cellphones act as a multipurpose tool; wireless connection is becoming more and more popular; and mobile payment service has become convenient through paymate services. There is a huge market for products and services that use mobile activation, and help consumers save time and effort. LG’s air conditioner can be controlled by a cellphone. And how about a washing machine you can programme via the mobile?
With more people becoming more health conscious, products promising health and nourishment are in vogue and the sale of fitness equipment is growing at 20 per cent per annum.
People aspire for a rich and luxurious lifestyle, but not everybody can afford them at luxury prices. Luxury at an affordable price is the demand of consumers.
Lightness of being
The ‘slim is in’ trend has influenced the domain of product design, with preference shifting to slimmer products ensuring minimal invasion of space. Product design is tilting towards simplicity—easy-to-operate products such as the iPod have become modern day icons. ‘No instructions manual’ is the mantra before product design.
Nature is nurture
The trend is towards an extensive use of natural ingredients in many products. There’s huge demand for natural and organic foods, made more easily available through modern retail. Use of ‘natural’ is preferred in healthcare products too.
The Castilian Springs
Cosmetic companies are launching ‘anti-aging’ products right across the world. The quest for life-long youth is touching new heights. Even men are using products to make them look younger as youthful appearance increasingly gets to be seen as de rigueur.