[Liveblog] Perform or Perish – David Mattin on key consumer digital trends

Trends are not just fashions, they're new opportunities to meet fundamental human needs. Here's four that you can use right now.

David Mattin, Trendwatching

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the first 48 hours after publication.

How much do teenagers use, say, WhatsApp? One girl interview had hit 90,000 messages on the service. 79% of generation Z consumers show signs of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices. David is going to explore this landscape for us.

Two innovations:

  • Airfrov connects people who are travelling with someone who wants something from there.
  • Catstacam allows you to experience life as a cat, via a camera that posts to Instagram every 30 seconds.

Good ideas or bad ideas? On balance, the audience thought they were good, but it’s not about us. Other people have different views and needs, and you have to put your head into their space to understand what is happening. Trendwatching works hard to gather insights from people all over the world.

What is a trend?

A trend is a new manifestation amongst people of a fundamental human need, want or desire.

On one hand you have changes – social, technological, attitudinal – and on the other, there’s unchanging human nature. Trends happen when an external change unlocks a new way of meeting human needs. Facebook unlocked a new way of serving the human social need.

You can spot trends by spotting innovations that unlock basic human needs. You’re looking for the innovations that change consumer expectations. And then be relentless in analysing what they mean for you.

1. How will we live?

The sharing economy promise is that it would change how we live. An access economy would mean that we don’t need to own so much stuff. But the practicalities of it have made it problematic. The Internet of Shared Things will start to solve that. The Internet of Things can solve those practical difficulties. Many consumers don’t see the point of smart objects – this will give them a reason.

  • Audi Unite allows five friends to share a car.
  • Breather allows you to unlock urban spaces for short periods of time – 20 minutes, maybe 30.
  • Bitlock allows bike sharing via smart Bluetooth locks
  • Umbrella Here bleeps at you when it’s going to rain. But it also allows you to share your umbrella through a light single. Could it be the new Tinder…?
  • Baidu – smart chopsticks that tell you if the oil use dot cook your food is fresh.

2. How will we shop?

A great brand is still based on feelings. Human beings are irrational. We’re seeing the rise of “one touch” services – like Uber or Amazon Dash. But the bigger trend is two-way transparency. That’s rating of customers as well as companies. Uber drivers rate their customers, and a drunk or rude passenger will find it harder to get rides.

  • Savanna is the Uber for haircuts
  • Art Series Hotel publishes ratings for its customers online.
  • Stefan’s Head requires that you text them before you can buy – and they check your social media accounts, and they let you buy if you’re cool enough.
  • Baristas in Pret get a budgets for giving good customers a treat for free. That creates a virtuous circle where customers behave well in help of a freebies, which creates a better experience for the baristas, which make them happy.

3. Instant Skills

Instagram turned us all into art house photographers. Status is one of the biggest drivers in developed societies. That’s what makes this trend so powerful. If you can create a service that allows people to tell a greta story about their lives – that’s an opportunity.

  • Seedsheet analyses your garden and creates an instant flower or vegetable patch for you.
  • Hexo+ is a drone that will follow you anywhere. Professional-quality movies that anyone can get.
  • Boozebox – a drink printer, that can make cocktails more efficiently than a barman.
  • Meitu Xiuxiu makes your selfies look amazing. They have now launched a phone with the app built in.
  • Foreo Moda is a makeup 3d printer. Choose your look on a smartphone, stick your head in a machine, and the look is created.

4. How will we play?

The quantified self promised to motivate us to play healthily. The results are not so good. ⅓ of people give up a wearable within three months. Instead currencies of change sees brands rewarding people for becoming better.

  • Tencent – the more exercise you do, the more currency you have for our game.
  • Intersport Ceská Republic gives customers rewards for running in the shape of their logo.
  • Pocket Points is a university scheme which rewards points for having your phone face down on the desk.
  • Fitbit ran a programme where activity led to donations to charity.
  • Icukoo donates your money to charity for every time you hit snooze on the alarm clock.

The Lightbulb Moment

Have you had your lightbulb moment? How do these trends impact on your business – find a way, and that’s your lightbulb.