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Mintel predicts consumer trends for 2011


October 29, 2010
By Canadian Pizza

October 29, 2010, UK – While consumers are still reeling from the aftershock created by the
global economic crisis, lessons have been learnt, behaviours changed and
consumer adaptability has created a new way of life. With that in
mind, Mintel predicted nine key consumer trends for the year ahead,
examining how long term behaviour has been implicated. In 2011,
consumers are living for the long term with attitudes inspired by a
changed value set.

1. Prepare for the worst
With a heightened sense of what economic collapse looks like thanks to
the global recession, a renewed emphasis on prevention will drive
consumers to think defensively. In the UK, 43 per cent of consumers say “Trying
to add to my rainy day savings/emergency fund” is a priority for this
year, up 15 per cent from last year. In the US, a third of consumers say they’re
using debit rather than credit, and debit transactions are forecasted
to rise nearly 60 per cent between 2000 and 2010. Consumers want to know what
they’re getting themselves into: no loopholes, no hidden costs and no
pricey upgrades. So 2011 may see the need for brands to demonstrate how a
product or service delivers long-term benefits or prevents problems
down the road.

2. Retail rebirth
With online experiences developing rapidly, for bricks and mortar
retailers, discounting is a no-win battle against the internet. In the
UK, 47 per cent of consumers are only buying clothes on sale, offer or promotion
and 35% say their choice of store is determined by special offers or
discounts. In the U.S., 35 per cent say their choice of store is determined by
special offers or discounts. In 2011, brands may need to get more
creative to lure consumers into stores, offering more than just retail
and be a venue, not just a shop. Service may extend into advice and
demonstrations, while exclusivity and environment may also be key
aspects to engage consumers with real life, not virtual, shopping
experiences.

3. Where its app
With smartphones becoming the dominant mobile force, QR codes and app
technology will pique interest, provide portals into unique experiences
and improve our quality of life. In the US, sales of smartphones grew
82% from 2008 to 2010. In the UK, 28 per cent of consumers own a smartphone and
by 2015 iPhones will make up 11% of all total devices used in the UK.
As consumers are empowered like never before, 2011 will see people take a
deeper interest in where they are: from the city to a specific store.
Geography and status can be redefined through retail, presenting savvy
brands with an opportunity for increased location based services,
promotions and solutions. To capitalise on consumer awareness of
technology, brands will need to take QR codes beyond niche
understanding, using it to explain and offer exclusive content. Rather
than displacing our interaction with the physical, this technology has
the potential to reinvigorate our relationships with brands, retailers
and with each other.

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4. No degree, no problem
Economic uncertainty has changed the workplace and the meaning of job
security for the foreseeable future. As a result consumers will continue
to question higher education’s ROI and alternative channels for
learning will gain credibility. In 2011 we may see more lifelong
learning in the workplace, corporate sponsored degrees and companies
investing in employees through education and training rather than salary
or benefits. Meanwhile learning while doing, rather than learning in a
lecture hall, may become a focus and with DIY education gaining steam,
there’s an opportunity for brands to play host.

5. On her own terms
Women are earning and learning more than men, creating new gender roles
in business and consumerism. In 2011, age is no longer an easy marker
for lifestage. Opportunities lie for brands to focus less on the year
the female consumer was born, and more on where she’s at with her life
right now. In the US in 2008, 27% of men reported being the sole
cleaner in their household, in 2010, that number jumped to 32 per cent.
Meanwhile, among under-35s, more UK women than men research financial
products online. So, 2011 may see a counter trend to the
‘metrosexulaity’ of men in a ‘masculinization’ of women. Implications
for how brands market to women will be big, especially in sectors such
as automobiles and sports. With men helping around the house more than
ever, there may be an opportunity for brands to cater household
products, as well as retail experiences accordingly.

6. Retired for hire
People are working beyond retirement – either due to financial need, or
because they have grown attached to a lifestyle of leisure and pleasure.
With half of Americans having no retirement account, the number of
over 65s working will reach nearly 20 per cent by 2014. In the UK, 77 per cent of over
55s plan to continue working after retirement age “in order to enjoy and
prolong a better standard of living”. In 2011, this group may prove an
untapped market for advertisers, affecting a number of consumer
sectors. Vitality, energy and longevity become key product qualities in
the food and drink sector, while health and beauty messages may need to
centre on anti-ageing properties, nutraceuticals and older models to
reach this target group.

7. The big issue
Our attitude toward weight is polarising, pitting the rise of the
super-healthy against the eternal appeal of indulgence. In the UK,
almost a quarter of women wear clothes in sizes 18 and over, a third of
men wear XL clothes or bigger and more than 30 per cent of UK children are now
classed as overweight. Meanwhile 34 per cent of U.S. adults age 20 and over are
obese. Therefore, 2011 may see a wider array of products catering to an
obese market: from portion control and more info on packaging to
low-cost healthy fare and products to firm and salve chaffed or sagging
skin.

8. Garden state
Modern city dwellers have a growing love of gardening and a need for
nature and with fresh, organic produce still economically out of reach
for many, consumers are finding their own ways to bring healthy home. In
the U.S., 26 per cent of internet users purchased vegetable seeds in past year,
19 per cent bought vegetable/flower garden fertilizer and 27 per cent like to grow
vegetables at home. While in the UK, one in five consumers grow their own
fruit & vegetables and the UK Allotment waiting list has grown 20 per cent
in 2010. In the U.S., 40 per cent of people with a garden agree “Growing fresh
food to cook with” is important. In 2011, rural tourism, working farm
holidays and garden leisure may benefit – while rising food and
commodity prices may see a boost for seed sales as this trend develops.

9. Who needs humans
As we move into an ever more digital era, automated technology has
machines replacing people – for better or worse. While cashier-less
checkouts have become common place, we’re starting to see machines creep
into new territories, including hospitals, libraries, pharmacies and
the home. Therefore, 2011 may see certain jobs permanently displaced by
technology – that includes service jobs, not just manual or factory
work. But backlash and balance seeking may lead to an increased cache
for hyper-personal goods and services