Consumer trends in 2016 – What’s hot

Hi everyone.  I’m Zuna Farooq, External Intelligence Manager (Strategy) at the Co-op – yes my job title is as brilliant as my job!  We track long-term consumer and market trends and relate them back to what it means for the business.

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Last week, we attended Future Foundation Trending 2016 (#TrendingFF16). Here are my takeaways from the day:

Solo living

26% of UK households are single-person, forecast to rise.  People feel more comfortable doing things alone and tech will cater to more fulfilling solo experiences. Consumer Virtual-Reality launches in 2016 and FutureFoundation predict that we could see the “arrival of VR-fuelled selfish media”.    For Food, single pack sizes continue to gain in importance, and for consumer services, single-person propositions.

I tried the Oculus Rift headset and OMG it’s indescribable!  I used to smirk at VR references but until you try one, you just can’t imagine how REAL they feel.

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Careers are not for life

More people are retraining and have “slash” jobs – e.g. writer/photographer/blogger.  Life skills will continue to be important, and consumers will value help in developing and building these.

Consumers are more impulsive

Last minute plans, celebrations etc. all bring opportunities for home meals and drinks.  #FOMO (fear of missing out) is rising and has the potential to be used as a marketing tool to tap into consumers.

Cashless stores will be big

Paying will be a thing of the past and as FutureFoundation described it, shopping could feel more like stealing. We have Apple iPay / contactless in all of our stores and we were first in the market to launch applepay – great that we are leading the way on this trend! 2016 will see consumers quickly think of cashless as norm.

Emojinal intelligence

Think John Lewis ads, using emoticons, and making customers genuinely happy.  This will be significant for our brand, Digital proposition, Membership and our customer service.

Here’s the future canvas from the end of the day (you can download a better version from the Co-op intranet page – sorry colleagues only!)

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There’s much more from the day which can be downloaded from the Co-op intranet pages under the Industry tab, or drop me a message. Packs include information on consumer pursuit of pleasure vs. control and a rising trend around brands rating consumers, plus how consumer lives are changing because of tech.

You can also follow me on twitter: @Zuna, External Intelligence Manager at the Co-op.