December 5, 2011

10 trends that will shape the world in 2012

Posted by: in North America

Today we released our seventh annual year-end forecast of key trends that will shape or significantly impact consumer behavior in the near future. Continued economic uncertainty is at the center of or driving several of these trends; another theme is the rising idea of shared responsibility. As always, new technology is a key factor as well.

The economy will push brands into opening up more entry points for extremely cost-sensitive consumers as the “new normal” becomes a prolonged normal in the developed world. At the same time, tough times will generate an unprecedented entrepreneurialism among the so-called Lost Generation, with today’s youth becoming a uniquely resourceful group that creates their own opportunity.

Two years ago we forecast that packaging would become a much bigger environmental issue; this year we believe the next big eco-issue will be the impact of our food choices on the environment, with various stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—driving awareness around the topic and rethinking what food is sold and how it’s made.

On the tech side, more flat surfaces will become screens, and more screens will be interactive—touching them, gesturing at them and talking to them will become part of our everyday behaviors. And as technology makes our individual worlds more personalized and niche—and narrows the types of content, experiences and people we’re exposed to—greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view into our worlds.

For more on our “10 Trends for 2012,” see the Executive Summary below.

The full report—in which we cover each trend in detail, highlighting what’s driving the shift, how it’s manifesting and what it means for brands—is available here.

6 Responses to "10 trends that will shape the world in 2012"

1 | dave

December 5th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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Here’s another trend:

Marketing Trend studies and reports that would have cost hundreds of dollars a few years ago will be given away for free, in the name of transparency and engagement!

2 | Will Palley

December 5th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

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Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comment. For your convenience, we offer all of our monthly reports at no cost, which you can find on the Trendletters, Etc. page.

Look out for our 100 Things to Watch for 2012, which will be released within the next few weeks.

3 | Babar Khan (CMO @ Sociality360)

December 6th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

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Pakistan and similar developing markets can be seen as the developed world five years ago. If you want to see or experience something that happened or was believed to be the norm in the business culture or best practices five years ago, you need only book a flight to Nepal, Pakistan, India and similar countries. While mobile phone usage is nearing 99% penetration in these countries, these devices are used just to text and make calls .. online buying has quite made it here yet as an acceptable habit of everyday life, neither has online advocacy.

We have too many digital agencies cropping up that sell half baked solutions … the exposure of these idea’s negates the value of the digital emergence as a whole.

My own agency (co-owned with a former GroupM strategist) is barely 6 months old and we manage the Kraft Foods portfolio in Pakistan. Our clients asked for 15k ‘likes’ on the Facebook page in 3 months time … its been 6 weeks and we’ve reached 50k likes. We also operate with full transparency with our clients, going so far as teaching them how we achieved our results. Mainstream media has dubbed our niche or USP to be ‘honesty and integrity’.

What we see as a future trend for Pakistan, is the a favorable stance from B2B and B2C markets towards suppliers and partners that behave outside of predestined norms and perhaps display somehow honesty and commitment towards long term benefits.

We also find that a great deal of social media savvy Pakistani’s insist on brands that recognize political and environmental chaos … siding with the ones that participate in bringing a change. This is something very clear with consumers preferring Omore (product of Pakistan owned Engro Foods) over Cornetto (of Unilever Walls) simply b/c the former is more socially involved than the former on the issues that personally impact the everyday citizen.

4 | Will Palley

December 14th, 2011 at 10:54 am

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Hi Babar,

Thanks so much for sharing your insights on Pakistan and social media. We hope you’ll continue participating in the conversation!

– JWTIntelligence

5 | Sam Douglass

December 19th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

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Great work here, and thanks for sharing.

Do you think that trend #6 (Marriage Optional) is a result of women reflecting on societal values on the whole or a result (or combination) of how men’s value-shift fits into this equation?

Also, trend #7 seems accurate, but to what degree are people comfortable with exploring the unknown? I’d figure that people are comfortable within some tolerance but that ‘discovery’ still can’t be too far from their current value set.

6 | Will Palley

December 21st, 2011 at 12:51 pm

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Hello Sam,

Thanks so much for your comments and questions.

We believe that Marriage Optional is driven by a combination of factors, including improving education and career opportunities for women, and shifting attitudes towards motherhood and dating.

In regards to Reengineering Randomness, while many people welcome the extraction of irrelevant or less interesting information and options, most people recognize when they are in a rut. As such, many will find surprise and delight in the unknown.

For more information, our full report is available for purchase here:

http://jwtintelligencecatalog.com/10trendsfor2012.aspx

Thanks!

– JWTIntelligence

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