What consumer trends will you be watching in 2012?


2012 consumer trend predictions have been coming at us thick and fast, so I have taken my pick from a range of sources of what I think will have a big impact. Feel free to add your own in the comments space.

Trendwatching.com has looked to emerging markets for its inspiration:

  • Rolling out the red carpet to Chinese shoppers. 30 million Chinese tourists travelled overseas in the first half of 2011. The World Tourism Organisation has estimated that this will reach 100 million by 2020. Businesses responding to this include Hilton hotels, whose “Huanying” programme tailored to Chinese visitors is available in 30 hotels worldwide, featuring Chinese tea and breakfast buffet. Brands are also expected to follow suit to cater for an influx of Indian and Brazilian consumers.
  • Consumers at the “bottom of the urban pyramid” will be a target for more products and services tailored to a low income, mass group. Examples include the Aakash Android tablet device in India priced at $60 (£38), and PepsiCo India trialling fortified food products.
  • Social eating. Described as part of the larger ubiquitous screen trend, Trendwatching.com cites the Chinese restaurant Hao Di Lao and its installation of telepresence screens so customers can share their meal with others located elsewhere.

Meanwhile, London’s Evening Standard newspaper also noted “social eatworking” in its 2012 trends feature this week. It described the recently launched Foodie.fm as “Facebook for food where users can post shopping ideas, photos or recipes and recommendations to others”. Also, delivery service Hubbub.co.uk is launching a forum for customers to see inside the grocery bags of others.

Other coming trends, based largely on London living, include:

  • A Scandinavian invasion – following the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Franchise and the TV series The Killing, high streets are expected to reflect a Scandinavian feel. The paper mentions Swedish budget fashion brand Monki debuting in London in February, while the fellow H&M-owned Swedish brand Cheap Monday will also make its first UK high street appearance next year.
  • The new market stall economy, as backed by Mary Portas in her recent high street review, will see more support for small market retailers as they increasingly appeal to consumers as an alternative to the crowded high street.
  • Sharing becomes the norm. The Evening Standard quotes economic trend analyst Jean-Yves Huwart of Enterprise Globale that “co-working will shape the coming decade”. Examples include combined office spaces such as Central Working in Bloomsbury and networks like the International Conclave of Entrepreneurs. Other sharing ventures include easyJet’s Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s The Car Club, for car owners to let out their cars and property sharing schemes.

The Futures Company has gone for more high tech trends, such as mood management and recognition becoming part of the retail and restaurant environment. “Perhaps your car slows when you’re mad or a soothing aroma blankets the mall when too many shoppers are frowning,” they say. “Restaurants will get people accustomed to the idea of mood management with neuro-gastronomy — foods that enable patrons to eat themselves happy.”

The Futures Company also talks about small scale energy generating mechanisms, such as bicycles that are able to charge mobile phones through pedal power – like this one.

Lastly, the Future Foundation proclaims “the end of inefficiency” to herald more automated services. The firm’s research shows that 80% of British consumers would be interested in a service which automatically switched their energy supplier in pursuit of lower tariffs. Other related movements include cars which can drive on motorways or park with little input from the driver.

I look forward to seeing how these trends play out over the next year. On that note, this is our last market research newsletter until 4 January, so I wish you all the best over the Christmas and New Year period. You could even take the time off to consider your entry for next year’s Marketing Week Engage Awards.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here