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.



Keep your eye on the savvy shopper or fail

Russell Parsons

The erosion in disposable income is likely to continue in the early part of 2012, and with little by way of good news expected about the UK economy; marketers should heed the prevailing consumer trend: the professional shopper. The UK economy is not, technically, in recession. The UK consumer, however, has been suffering for some […]


3 trends in digital that will rock 2012

Lara O'Reilly

It is the end of what has been a remarkable year for the digital and mobile sectors. But rather than dwell on moments like RIM’s fall from grace, HP dumping its hardware division (and then, um, deciding not to), the death of marketing “iconoclast” Steve Jobs and Facebook’s quest for world domination, Marketing Week is […]


Make online privacy your new year’s resolution

Michael Barnett

Most websites have yet to show any intention of complying with the EU’s new online privacy law, the so-called “cookie directive”. With six months to go until regulators start handing out punishments, it is time to make a new year’s resolution to show what you are doing. Since May 2011, websites have been required by […]


    Leave a comment