Internationalism, instant gratification and the fast life, drawing the boundaries for digital, and prevention are the big four movements for 2014 identified as trends by market research firm Mintel’s new Consumer Trends Analysis.
This year, for example, the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil will help catalyze people’s interest in all things international, from cuisine to entertainment, fueled by social media. The firm says more than half of professional sports fans say they are loyal to a team that is not near where they live, and social and mobile media allows for "long-distance cheering." Also, per Mintel, 67% of U.S. spirits drinkers are curious about alcoholic concoctions from other countries, and 42% of U.S. adults love the idea of traveling abroad.
The evolution of perpetually connected mobile devices is fueling consumer desire for instant gratification. "We see a perpetuated cycle where consumers want faster solutions to their problems, resulting in technology that answers those problems -- only to lead to a demand for even faster solutions," notes the study. Thanks to Google Glass and other wired wearables, those faster solutions are at hand, literally.
The firm also says geolocation is reversing a paradigm in which people can use these devices to find things. Soon things will find consumers. An example, per Mintel, is Apple’s iBeacon, which uses micro-location services to trigger actions within apps. Also, a third of Mintel’s survey respondents said they would like to try technology devices that track exertion and progress, such as Fitbit.
And then there's the "counter-trend" against all of this, thanks in part to the NSA business and the general unease about privacy. Mintel finds that 44% of adults are worried that social media show TMI about them, and over 80% of Mintel survey respondents say they are wary about paying for things via mobile phone because "I am worried about the security of my personal information." About 70% said they need to set aside time to disconnect.
The last trend Mintel identifies could mean a boon both to health care and supplements, household products, and financial solution companies. And probably lawyers. Financial worries, aging, and poor eating habits are big worry trends. The firm says 88% of adult respondents to its surveys said keeping a clean house helps with personal health. Germs and allergens in particular are a concern.
"We’re seeing a need for products that disinfect, preferably with natural ingredients that also give consumers peace of mind," says the report's authors. But there’s a counter force: germ-fighting products are likely to get more attention this year following the request from the U.S. FDA for makers of antibacterial hand soaps to demonstrate that their products are not only effective, but safe for long-term and daily use. "This could lead consumers to question all products carrying germ- fighting claims."