Our favorite so far? Turquoise. Pantone recently named it the color of the year, for its "deep compassion and healing, a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky." We also like Iconoculture's prediction that everything about water will be hot.
"Water-sustainability savvy is mainstreaming, thanks to successful media campaigns and droughts at the local level," writes the Minneapolis-based trend-spotting firm. "From the chemical dangers of drinking water to the inefficiency of water use in product manufacturing, 'blue gold' is one hot topic for consumers."
Also tantalizing -- if a lot less healthy -- is the word from JWT Intelligence that we can expect our world to be smothered in bacon, appearing in everything from cocktails to lollipops to cupcakes. (Apparently, this year's Baconnaise sandwich spread was just the beginning.)
But there are plenty of others that marketers might want to keep their eyes on, including:
Cutting back on social media
Just as advertisers have gone 150% nuts for social media, Iconoculture predicts people will become much more careful about how they use it. "Consumers' growing awareness of the transparent nature of their online lives has them keeping a much closer eye on their digital footprint. Savvy consumers are now in the process of deciding what degree of personal disclosure and social-net activity they can deal with."
JWT coined this folksy phrase for people passing along outdated cell phones and other devices to their parents, once newer models are available.
A big slowdown
JWT's forecasters also like anything slow, including a bounce in handwritten letters, and the intriguing designation of slow beverages -- think of them as the anti-Red Bull, it explains. Slow Cow, a Canadian relaxation beverage, for example, with chamomile and L-Theanine, an amino acid, advertises its product as "A one-week vacation."
A family can only give up so many luxuries before finding crafty ways to renegotiate. Iconoculture sees early evidence of consumers actively matching small extravagances with fiscal countermeasures.
More torches and pitchforks
Whether they are fighting BPA or E. coli, hating on TARP or just throwing some friendly neighborhood Tea Parties, "citizen-consumers are feeling empowered to tap the crowd for power and change," Iconoculture says.
Craft is king
Those who believe the resurgent interest in knitting and canning is all about the new frugality are missing the point, writes Robin Avni in her forecast for Lifestyle Insights, an agency specializing in marketing to women. "Before you could say Martha or macramé, the crafting business has grown up and become a $30 billion industry with no let-up in sight. This next year the appreciation continues and the worlds of craft, art and manufacturing intersect more than they ever have in the past," she predicts, "with the handmade touch influencing design in furniture, food, fashion, even makeup."
Of course, a few of these trends are just over our heads, such as "ironic sports," which JWT says is an expression of disenchantment with traditional athletes. (Turns out some people are turned off by jocks who shoot themselves in the leg, rack up OUIs, or have a dozen or so mistresses. Who knew?) Bicycle polo and roller derby are top contenders.
And some seem sad, like JWT's predictions of pandemic fatalism, silent dance parties (bring your own iPod) and a comeback for dry shampoo. (Psssst! Women didn't like it in the 1970s, and they won't like it now.)
But our vote for the scariest so far goes to jeggings, an allegedly fashionable cross between skin-tight leggings and blue jeans, for those who feel skinny jeans just aren't tight enough. Fashionistas, including Women's Wear Daily, first wrote about them last spring, and predict they will continue to be big in the year ahead, with spring versions made of extra stretchy fabrics.
Happy New Year, and don't say we didn't warn you.