Below are few pivotal macro trends that are emerging in the global consumer scenario:
1. Personalization and interactivity: the consumers are demanding more personalized products that will have a story to tell and will be capable of “interacting” with the user in a smarter manner. The “mute” products with no relevant stories to be connected are appearing as “dead” products to display one’s association. Right from the Levi’s “custom fitted” denim to the Gucci bag “for a cause” (where the money donated for the betterment of AIDs patients in Africa) has their own stories to tell and carry over. Even in the luxury watch segment, the customized watches with personal touch (ie. Writing one’s most memorable incident in the dial, a miniature tattoo at the back or the number of diamonds equal to the age of the consumer) are in demand.
2. Environment friendly, organic, recyclable or ethical: with the growing awareness of global warming, ozone layer destruction and carbon credits, the global consumers are looking for products that will enable them to exhibit their belonging to the cause. The survey also suggests that the consumers are willing to pay more if the products are eco-friendly, recyclable or ethically produced. The organic shapes are becoming predominant in product design.
3. Multi functional: Consumers are looking for products that will have multi functionality. A mobile that can also function as a computer and a TV, a laptop that will also be a data warehouse, mobile office, TV etc. or a jewel that can be worn at multiple occasions with equal relevance and adorning various body parts.
4. Globally local: the local products with global essence are in vogue. Right from the discovery of long lost jewellery craft skills to the herbal local medicines the consumers are becoming conscious (and proud) about their local heritage and craftsmanship.
The Indian young consumers will look for three distinct yet interconnected product directions: the affordable affluence, cultural & social connectivity and power prominence.
An affordable product that doesn’t “appear” affordable will be in trend. The retailers must carefully choose the promotional mode so that the products doesn’t overtly exhibit the essence of being affordable or otherwise the product fate can be similar to the “people’s car” Nano! Today the consumers don’t like the fact that the products will loudly speak their “cheapness” thus demeaning the economic status of the user.
Consumers will love to reconnect with the glorious past and redefined heritage with eagerness to contribute to social cause. The Corporate Social Responsibility will also emerge as a defining factor of the product. Protecting the heritage will fuse with CRM. The pseudo luxury of acquiring the gold / diamond will move to real luxury of philanthropic activities.
The Power of womanhood has to reflect in the product. The retro trends of 80’s “power women” will be back with extravaganza. The designs should suit the varied role of young women in contemporary social environment.
The recently published Juxt Indian Women 2011 study report (in the Marketing Whitebook 2011-2012) states that the order of priorities for Indian women in different strata has been changed from the previously perceived one. The highest priority in life is money (76%) which comes above family (35%) and taking care of children (15%)! The romantic relationship (2%) and spiritual experience (1%) is at the bottom of the list. One must be wondering of why the money is in the top of priority list and what the ladies will do with this money? Will not they be tempted to flaunt their newly acquired economic power? Will not they be taking their own decisions without depending on their counterparts? Will not they love to “wear” their power rather than appearing as a decorated (by the family members) docile housewife? The luxury and fashion is an essential tool to exhibit one’s monitory power so that she can access the desired social status denied till date. In the slow economy scenario, fashion is also an essential trait to exhibit that one is far ahead of the “have not” / grassroots (who will presumably suffer in economic downfall). As the Valblen’s theory of Conspicuous Consumption states, the over consumption is one method to show that one is “having power to consume”. The new Indian women in corporate and political arena are proving that they can play the pivotal role when it comes to appear “strong yet emotional” and they can also camouflage well within the social norms. The latest directional trends towards men’s checks and prints being introduced among female shirts, the broad shouldered suits, the stilettos and the “manly” BlackBerry mobile