Craft Trends - 2006 Retail Trends and Counter Trends
Emerging and Evolving Trends for 2006
While attitudes, perceptions and behavior continually evolve into trends and as individuals, the nation and the world adjust to change, some trends become cultural characteristics, observes Hallmark trends expert, Marita Wesely-Clough.
"A social trend becomes a part of a culture when it lasts five to eight years or more - bargain hunting, for example," Wesely-Clough says, "or Eastern influences. Of course, countertrends surface, strengthen and eventually can supplant established cultural trends."
An emerging and strengthening trend is the search for meaning in a technological, rapidly moving, pressure-filled society - and the sense of dissonance that results.
Understanding the consumer is the first step in creating products that are on target and is essential to developing relevant products that help people express their emotions and strengthen relationships.
"It is essential to stay close to consumers to learn what is influencing the thoughts and feelings they want to express," Wesely-Clough says.
2006 and Beyond: Emerging and Evolving Trends
Opposing, polarized forces are pervasive - whether in morals, standards, economics, ideologies, religion or politics. So much of what is occurring globally appears beyond us, outside our sphere of influence - spinning out of control. Now, living with dissonance is the price of admission to this world. Just as dissonance in music is resolved with harmonic chords, making sense of life experience and resolving personal difficulties may lead to greater self-fulfillment, personal integration and internal harmony.
Countertrend: MORE MEANING, MORE MEANING
The search for meaning will be taken seriously. Intangibles like purpose, fulfillment, and quality of life are gaining in importance. Individuals, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, are seeing that things accessible to everyone - stories, relationships, family, friendship, empathy - make life richer and worth living
Seize the moment. With the speed and complexity of life taking a dramatic toll on our psyches and spirits, people will begin to accept, believe and internalize that the present is all we have. Slowing down, living in the present and savoring the moment leads to greater focus, clearer thinking and better decision making.
Luxury and the "New and Novel"
TRIUMPH OF "TRUTHINESS"
The media and commentators have helped make "truthiness" the next wave in news reporting. Truthiness is bigger than the facts that would comprise it - if it were true. There is a big difference between "truthy" and "facty." Not exactly fiction, not precisely truth, truthiness is what people care about ... truthiness describes what may have happened or what people wanted to see happen, highlighting the most compelling, desirable or exciting outcome. Factiness, while accurate, objective, and well - true - is just not quite as interesting as truthiness. Truthiness is gaining greater acceptance as a way to describe reality.
With all - mainstream and alternative - media instantly accessible, it will become virtually impossible to discern what actually has happened from someone's opinion about what happened.
From the news to blogs to chat rooms, separating reality from opinion increasingly is a zero sum game. With infomercials, mega logs and brands paying for space, the "info smog" phenomenon will only increase. If some blog says it's so, then that must be the case. Expect the line between perception and reality to continue to fade
It will not be enough to cast doubt on actions, morals or motives. Taking out the competition will become a game no longer left for amateurs. It's a no-holds-barred - highly aggressive contest to get "them" before "they" get me. Key in this brutal sport will be mortally damaging the opposition by employing dubious "facts." Whatever is wrong (economically, politically, nationally, corporately, socially, personally), or just plain not working is "their" fault - totally. Watch killer blame rise to the level of extreme sport as fascinated spectators line up and root for their side.
The version of what constitutes luxury is evolving to a new level. In the past, the perfect bag, the couture gown, the "now" brand was important for status and attention. That was luxe level one. Next, luxury moved to a whole new level, seeing uber personalization, of designer jewelry, high-end spa experiences - and exclusive vacation destinations with every detail tailored to the individual but accessible only to the elite. The future version of luxury will be space + time. A select few may hire others at work or at home to deal with the daily assaults on time and intrusive technology, leaving them free to attend to more important matters. Having, time, having space, being safe - these intangible luxuries are a response to the longing for an island of calm in a turbulent world.
INDUCED ATTENTION DEFICIT
Look for distractions to intensify. As daily demands, cell phones, iPods, home computers, DVDs, televisions, laptops compete for a share of consumer consciousness and invade our lives. People will find their experience of reality so fragmented that their ability to concentrate will be drastically reduced. Multitasking, once touted as the wave of the future, will be recognized as just one more contributing factor.
NEW & NOVEL ... NOW!
More and more, people are drawn to the new or novel. Fueled by advertising, they are dissatisfied with what they have, the current state of their lives, and believe "something else" would be better and far more satisfying. The thrill of the hunt and the rush that accompanies possessing the bright shiny bauble, the latest designer watch, or a brand new car trumps practicality and prudence. It doesn't need to be good, if it's new.
Second-Use Shoppers and Eastern Influences
THE GRAND BAZAAR
As the world becomes smaller, influences from the East are moving solidly into mainstream. Texture, color and embellishment from the other side of the world have made their mark on Western sensibilities and lifestyle. Look for the reinterpretation of traditional oriental motifs such as paisley, florals, arabesques and cartouches. Watch for rich color combinations to reflect the spice palette of the East.
EAST MEETS WEST
The vast human potential of the East will be unleashed. China and India move solidly into center stage as the industriousness and intellectual potential in these nations rise to the forefront. Poised and ready to make its impact, the "sleeping dragon" has awakened.
Countertrend: WEST MEETS EAST
In the driver's seat for so long, the U.S. and Europe will march to the beat of a different drummer. Intellectual and industrial powers are no longer concentrated in the West. As a result, the number of people in the global middle class will increase (even as the separation between the rich and poor around the world and in the U.S. becomes more pronounced.) No telling what effect these shifts will have on world trade economics, banking, politics, and the environment
Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon and a host of other online shopping services (as well as Websites about shopping) are making it possible for people to find and purchase precisely what they want, often for a very reasonable price. Liberation is at hand - no one needs to own anything that is not carefully chosen, priced, visually edited and perfect for his or her lifestyle. Who cares if my new iPod has been lovingly used? "Second use" price is a better value than full retail.
Watch as biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, and computer science become increasingly dependent upon one another. Imagine our bodies full of nanobots keeping us well and youthful, all commerce and banking being done on-line, nursing home patients being taken care of by both robotic and real nurses. Technological knowledge, accelerating at an alarming rate, will allow our brains and bodies to maintain thought and biological processes indefinitely.
POINT OF NO RETURN
As oil and water become scarce, look for survival of "me and mine" to be the name of the game. As the press for oil and water across the globe intensifies, look for even the most green among us to shift alliances. If impending shortages mean that my family won't have fuel for the winter, or my town's water supply is reduced, watch for attitudes and behaviors to change. Look for a move from "saving the earth" to "saving my lawn." When the oil crisis comes to our backyard, we could care about global issues, but we won't.
Countertrend: IT'S EASY BEING GREEN
Out of necessity, sustainability will move mainstream. Realizing that natural resources are not limitless, individuals will be forced to do their part. From starting a rain garden to investing in businesses that have no negative impact on the environment - these are choices for each to make. Being green may be easier than we thought... and we may not need to spend green to live that way.
"IT'S ALL ABOUT ME"
It's about what money will buy, whether you have the money or not. See Boomers press on in their quest for even bigger homes (perhaps two), luxury cars and amazing vacations. Boomers will attempt to hold aging at bay, frantically chasing the forever-young fantasy through a variety of health enhancers, including: fitness routines, cosmetic injections, alternative medicine,"“neutraceuticals" and a multitude of plastic surgery options.
Countertrend: "IT'S ALL ABOUT US"
Watch as Boomers begin to act on the idealism that defined them in the sixties. Baby Boomers will find that investing in human capital is most gratifying. Look for Boomers to rediscover volunteerism and "giving back." They will blaze a trail as philanthropy replaces the pursuit of physical beauty, material possessions and hedonism.
--Marita Wesely-Clough, trends expert at Hallmark Cards, Inc., monitors the social milieu to spot trends as they emerge and track existing trends as they climb, peak and wane. Wesely-Clough keeps abreast of evolving societal attitudes and behaviors to help product and creative groups at Hallmark stay "on trend." Her observations add insight and perspective to quantitative information provided by the Hallmark Research Department.